Tuesday, February 2, 2016
#WeirdEd Week 93- On The Spot
Sometimes I find myself asking my students a lot of questions. Often I find myself asking my students to ask me questions.
Which one is harder?
Right. Having them ask me questions is harder. Not for me, but for them. Asking a student to ask a question puts them on the spot. "What do you want to know right now?" That's intense, but we do it anyway. Well, I do it. I lead them. I beg for questions. I announce that by questioning they take their learning into their own hands. I emphasize and model the safe space of our classroom. And then I ask if there are any questions.
Nope. We got it, Mr Robertson.
I have a theory that, like most of my experiences with students, I'm not alone in this. It has happened often enough in my classrooms over the years that I must be happening in other classrooms too. How do we get students to ask questions? Good questions? Leading, deep, prying questions? And I don't want, "Well give them something they're interested to ask about." Part of our job is to help them be interested in new things. Fifth graders don't show up in my room interested in the American Revolution or multiplying fractions or crafting the perfect paragraph. This is not a fault of theirs. But it is my job to make it interesting. One of the ways we make things interesting is by picking it apart with questions. Some old guy Bill and Ted brought back to San Dimas High School felt the same way. Asking questions is a whole different ballgame though.
Stacked on top of this is the problem with a lot of edchats- the questions themselves. Writing questions that spark discussion is hard. The better we can get at writing questions we'd ask each other, the better we can be at asking questions we'd ask our students. Or so claims the base on which this week's entire chat teeters.
I won't be moderating tonight, it's the Weird Wife's birthday and we'll be trying a new place for dinner with the Weirdlings. The moderator, probably Shawna or Lauren, will toss out a suggestion and/or a criteria. If you fit the criteria it's your responsibility as a member of the chat to throw out a question. Then everyone else answers the questions. This will probably get messy and confusing and might crash and burn. (And if anyone says, "Define connected educator" I will find you and I will tweet all of Webster's Dictionary at you until you understand that questions like that are awful and unhelpful and boring as lack-of-sin*.)
Have fun, kids.
*"boring as sin" doesn't make any sense. I've sinned a lot and it's rarely ever boring.