Thursday, February 24, 2011

LATS 2011 Questioning

Learning at Schools 2011 Questioning
Trevor Bond

This was an excellent session, very thought-provoking and informative. I created a Google Doc of my notes which can be accessed here:

I lked the levels of questioning which provided a scaffold for both the teaching and assessing of questioning skills. One very good point that he made was the importance of modelling, that by asking and answering poor questions we reinforce them. He has also developed a rubric to aid this assessment.

Another valuable point he made was the importance of both open and closed questions. There has been a tendency by some to negate the importance of closed questions when in fact they can be very valuable. They can save us a lot of work for example by eliminating some options. Many of the subsidiary questions for inquiry are closed questions and are needed to answer the Key question.

The other main point I agreed with was that inquiry does not always have to involve huge, rich, fertile questions. Yes these are great and once or twice a year a rich inquiry is extremely valuable, but there is a place for many smaller authentic inquiries. An example might be "How can we keep our cloakbay tidy? This might only last a few hours but could something that is really relevant to students and result in a large number of inquiry skills being developed.

Trevor has developed a questioning wiki which is well worth a look.
Learning at Schools 2011 Trevor Bond - Good Inquiry Good Learning 
My notes can be viewed in a Google Doc 

Trevor made a very good distinction between 
Celebration of the Found - celebrating what students found out abut the topic and Celebration of the Understood - celebrating what students did with the info These two concepts were coined by Dr Ross Todd

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

LearningatSchools 2011 Day One Keynote

The first keynote by Scott McLeod I found interesting. The messages he was giving were good ones:
He talked about Disruptive Innovations and how we need to move forward. Most of the presentation could be summed up in the David Warlick quote
“No generation in history has been so thoroughly prepared for the industrial age.”
However I had a certain sense of deja vu. I have been hearing these same messages for the last 6 years if not longer at these conferences. Why are we needing to hear them again and again? Do schools not already have this message?

It is my belief that primary schools at least have got this message loud and clear and most teachers have made the pedagogical shift or at least are well on the way. What many are lacking however is the skills, strategies and confidence to implement this in the classroom.

Moving to a more student-focussed rather than teacher-centred approach is scary for many. It involves relinquishing some control and many find this hard. They need a lot of support as they embark on this journey. Instead of focussing on what we are doing wrong, how about a focus on how we can move forward, what actually needs to happen in the classroon on Monday morning.