This week has been a big one for me regarding the value of questions.
As educators, we know the value of asking good quality questions to stimulate student thinking. The Harvard publication, Making Thinking Visible repeatedly emphasises the value of good questions.
This morning I read a post from InnovationTools.com, regarding the importance of questions. Their main point is that the best leaders, innovators and learners owe their success partly to asking good questions.
Yesterday I was part of a conversation where a teacher was expressing her dissatisfaction with an interdisciplinary project in which she is involved. She is not happy with both the process of designing the project, and her role in the project. The conversation involved the teacher, me – a math HOD and soon to be associate principal, and our MYP coordinator.
I am not certain the conversation achieved a resolution, but the teacher did go away with some thoughts on how to proceed.
A big observation for me, though, was the difference in the approaches to the conversation that my colleague, @ibiologystephen, the MYP coordinator, and I took. Strictly speaking, it was more appropriate for him to be involved in the conversation: as MYP coordinator, he had more knowledge of the subjects and the issues.
However, I really felt that his approach was far superior to mine. I tended to offer suggestions of how she could participate in the project, without much knowledge of her subject area, and stated my opinion on her comments. Meanwhile, @ibiologystephen did not directly offer very many suggestions. He tended to ask a great deal of questions. Such as
- “What would you be teaching if you did not participate in this unit?”
- “Are there any other ways you could contribute to the project?”
His approach is clear to me now: he wants the teacher to arrive at her own resolution. Let her own the solution. Cognitive coaching, basically.
Thanks for letting me learn from you, @ibiologystephen! Hopefully I will develop the skills you have.