Read this for a 3 minute overview on how to enhance your teaching practice to engage your students and help them connect the knowledge: https://www.teachthought.com/learning/6-targets-teach-way-brain-learns/
I’ve a love hate relationship with questions in class. As a student I was convinced I had the dumbest questions and there was no way I was going to ask them, because, in my head, I just knew everyone was going to fall out of their chairs laughing at me. A few decades later, as a parent and educator, I still have a love hate relationship with questions, only this time, it’s because I’m afraid of not knowing the answer, and also thinking, “What? You mean I don’t know everything?”
Imagine my astonishment when I was filming Jeremy Mettler in class, and he’d responded to a student’s question, with a very calm, “That’s a good question, I hadn’t thought of that,” during a discussion on the government shutdown from a few years ago. Or one of the students in Mr. Holbrook’s class who said “I don’t know” because he knew it was ok to own not knowing.
If educators are going to build creative thinkers then they have to be prepared for questions and they also have to be prepared to not know the answers to the questions.
That’s a lot to wrap your head around, especially when you’re used to being in charge and knowing the answers.
There’s also a very good chance you’re going to tangent from the original learning objective outlined in your lesson plan.
Which is awesome and terrifying at the same time.
Here are some ways to encourage questions in your classroom, and stay on track:
Who’re taking risks.
Who may fail.
And ultimately learn.
Words can break a student or build a student. What words are are you using in your classroom? Are they building words like “You’re getting better at this” or “I like your persistence” or are they breaking words like “Seriously” or “I can’t believe you don’t remember this”.
We’ve all had those moments where we mentally wonder if our students are ever going to get it. What feels like the millionth time we’ve explained a concept or helped them to sound a word out for the correct spelling; maybe it’s remembering their multiplication tables. And, without meaning to, you might say something like, “Are you kidding me?”
Now maybe you caught yourself and rephrased, in an attempt to not show just how frustrated you are.
Or maybe you didn’t even notice.
But your student did.
That singular moment for the teacher, one of a million in their average day, is now embedded in that student’s mind.
And it’ll stay there.
Nagging at them.
Feeding their insecurity.
And making them doubt their ability.
Well past their school days, they’ll most likely, recall that one moment with that one teacher, who said “Are you kidding me?”
Words are like spells. What spell are you casting in your classroom?