Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Speak Less, Question More

This week, I've been working with teachers as they organize their curricula around deep understandings and essential questions. One of the biggest struggles that novice teachers face during this process is the use of "content" as the lens through which they view their teaching instead of a lens of "understanding."

My objective is to destroy a powerful paradigm that has been propagated through the ages. We have been trained our entire lives to believe that teachers "deliver" instruction, often to the rebellious masses. While research has proven that this does not lead students to genuine understanding, it is a concept America has been conditioned to accept.

To create a change, teachers must be provided with opportunities to make sense out of their experiences through rich discussion and reading. The less talking I do as the facilitator, the better. However, I am so passionate about the work that I often speak up. There is no malicious intent in my desire to share, nor do I believe that most teachers operating in "teacher-centric" classrooms WANT to disengage their students.

My goal next week is to SPEAK LESS, and QUESTION MORE.

Here are a few of the question starters I plan to use (They might work in your setting too!):

  • When this study is finished, what will true understanding look like?
  • Is true understanding of this topic worth attaining? Why? 
  • Can you identify a question that frames the entire study and transcends this topic? 
  • Why? Why? Why? 

 CC Photo Credit: Sarah G

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