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LM_NET  August 2018

LM_NET August 2018

Subject:

Re: TARGET: MIDDLE: student-driven inquiry, essential questions

From:

Barbara Braxton <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Barbara Braxton <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 6 Aug 2018 07:24:31 +1000

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Teaching students how to question and ask the right questions in a particular situation is the most essential skill we can teach them, IMO.  For only if we have the question can we find or develop the most appropriate answer or solution.

We have to remember that our students are still very young, are only beginning to move from the concrete operations stage of the here and now and what they can see, touch, taste and feel and into the more abstract world of what if.  As teachers we have a critical role in modelling questions for them so they can pose questions as well as answer them - we can't just expect them to do it by themselves. So we need to give them lots of opportunities to practise posing questions through looking at objects, pictures and so forth, even if the questions don't necessarily lead to answers. In this case the question is more important than the answer.

Having decided whether they need to investigate, explain, describe, analyse or persuade, I've always got my students to start with two key questions...

What do I already know about the topic/issue?

What more do I need to find out? 

That way they are making connections between the known and unknown so there is engagement and a bridge to cross, but they aren't wasting time investigating stuff they already know.

My go-to person was always Jamie Mackenzie http://questioning.org/ which has a video about his questioning toolkit (in print at http://questioning.org/Q7/toolkit.html) 

The best resource I can suggest is to investigate Guided Inquiry (lots of images of the model online to start your thinking); go to Guided Inquiry Design https://guidedinquirydesign.com/gid/ and get Guided Inquiry Design®: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School
Book by Ann K. Caspari, Carol Kuhlthau, and Leslie K. Maniotes.  It's a process that has grown out of Kuhlthau's research into information literacy which differs from others' because she added the affective domain to her model.  She acknowledged that when presented with something new we feel confused and confronted, even overwhelmed,  but with guidance and support we can work our way through to a solution.

I know many teachers and administrators like to focus on the product because it overtly is assessable against a rubric and so a grade can be given, IMO the process is more important than the product because it is the process that the student follows that can be transferred to new learning situations.  Identifying and defining the initial problem, whether self-imposed or set by someone or circumstance, using the questions that form a core part of any instructional model (such as those is my version of the Information Literacy Process http://500hats.edublogs.org/information-literacy-process/ is at the core, and at the core of that is the ability to ask quality questions - which generally lead to further questions. 

Barbara

Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian
M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children's Services) 
Dromkeen Librarian's Award 2003
COOMA NSW 2630
AUSTRALIA
[log in to unmask]
Together, we learn from each other
500 Hats http://500hats.edublogs.org/ 
The Bottom Shelf http://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/
Storybook Cushions http:// bit.ly/storybook_cushions

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