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Learner Profile

The population of learners are educators who teach school-aged students, all of whom are enrolled in a framework of formal education. The unit will be designed for educators who have at least a Bachelor's Degree in an education-related field. Participants in this course will have had some sort of experience behind the teacher's desk, thereby equipping them with the necessary background to understand the context of this module. The learning environment is geared for both males and females.

Needs Assessment

Redstarbullet.gifStep One: Describing My Intent, The Ideal

It has been posited that students learn better when they are prompted with effective questions. By providing our students with direction and guidance through question-asking, we are teaching our students how to assess situations and learn productively. The goal of this unit is two-fold. I would like to develop a lesson that focuses on teaching teachers how to ask the right questions to prmotoe productive thought. And, I would like to develop a lesson that teaches teachers how to develop qood question-askers of their students. Having a teacher guide a discussion is very helpful, but it is only helpful in developing deep thought when the teacher is in close proximity to the student. A teacher's job will have been done even more productively if a student can direct his own learning and learn without the interference of others by developing his own effective questions.

Alison King, a leader in the field of education, in general, and questioning to facilitate deep thinking, specifically, believes that "the hallmark of a critical thinker is an inquiring mind." She explains that because questions become personally meaningful to students, the learning that results from effective questioning is that much more effective than when students learn dry facts. Questioning, King claims, develops critical thought, a necessary component to a solid education.

In my personal teaching experience, I have found that effective questioning can carry a lesson through. Very often, when I want to introduce a new topic to my class, I will start off the unit with a debate by presenting a (controversial) guiding question. When I find the discussion turning off course, or when I would like to help initiate different thought processes and different ideas from my learners, I will present a slightly altered question. Questions, somehow, get my students 'going' again. I believe that questions help promote reflective, analytical thinking and it is this sort of thinking that produces intelligent, critical thinkers, necessary characteristics of successful members of today's society.

Redstarbullet.gifStep Two: Gathering Information, Reality

In this section, I have listed the sources which I originally intended to use when developing my unit. As my unit progressed, some of these references became irrelevant and moot. I have included them here as it maps out my design journey. At the bottom of this page, in the "References" section, is a list of references that were used in the development of the course, as you see it today.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Redstarbullet.gifStep Three: Summarizing and Revising My Intent, Goals

Initially this project was broad in scope. The goal was basic: to encourage questioning in the classroom. After reading numerous articles and publications on the topic, I have fine-tuned my course to teach my students (who are teachers themselves) how to develop an effective question that will facilitate critical thinking skills and deep learning. Alison King and Barak Rosenshine discuss, in their jointly authored article, "Effects of Guided Cooperative Questioning on Children's Knowledge Construction," that students need highly elaborated question-stems to guide their question generation. When students were asked to develop questions on a certain topic, their questions were purely factual and did not promote critical thinking. An experiment was performed in which there were three groups of students: those who were given highly elaborated question stems, those who were given less elaborate question stems and those who were not given any question stems. Those students whose learning was guided by highly developed question stems "outperformed those using less elaborate stems." King and Rosenshine explain that these "findings indicate that in cooperative discussion contexts, structured guidance in asking thought-provoking questions elicts explanations that, in turn, mediate learning."

As a result of what I have read, I have altered my project. I am no longer seeking to build a unit that facilitates effective questioning, but I would like my unit to teach my students how to build effective questions in order to promote critical thought in their own classrooms.

Effective learning can only take place once there is critical thought and critical thought is the result of effective questioning. Before my students can be expected to engage in critical thought by developing well-planned out, elaborate questions, they first must be instructed in how to design their questions so that they get the maximum educational value out of each and every query they posit.

Learning Objectives


Since the goal of the unit is teaching teachers how to elicit effective questions from their students, it will be important to design some sort of stimulus that will encourage question-asking. The situation will be one that emphasizes the need for quality questions so that learning can progress. The course will be accessed through this wiki.

Redstarbullet.gifThe Type Of Learning Being Performed

The students will learn to discriminate between an effective question and an ineffective one and will adopt a cognitive strategy that will help them elicit productive questions from their students. The students will learn the difference between a higher cognitive question and a lower cognitive question and will identify when and how it is appropriate to use them.

Redstarbullet.gifThe Content or Object of the Performance

Students will demonstrate the discrimination of an efficient question and a less useful one and will adopt question-execution techniques.

Redstarbullet.gifThe Observable Part of the Behavior

Students will execute effective question development and will produce their own questions. The students will learn to guide their teaching toward developing questions that will lead to productive learning.

Redstarbullet.gifThe Tools, Constraints, or Special Conditions Applied to the Performance

Target Learning Objective

The objective that will be attained at the end of this course of study is a student's ability to spontaneoulsy develop thought-provoking questions that will encourage critical thinking which will, in turn, promote intellectual development. The students will also identify and implement productive wait-times for their specific questions.

Enabling Objectives

The objectives that will be attained during this course of study are a student's ability to identify what is and what is not productive in terms of building a thought-provoking question that will encourage and stimulate critical thinking and learning.

Supportive Objectives

The objectives that facilitate learning for other objectives are informational, cognitive and attitude-based in nature. In terms of information as a supportive prerequisite, questioning is partially a verbal act. A student requires successful communication skills in order to effectively forumlate and express a question. To start my students off, I may provide them with information in the form of a question-building formula. This will not only aid my students in the development of their communication skills and their question-asking, but this can also serve as a cue for the retrieval of information. The cognitive strategy of providing my students with a formula for developing effective questions is also a necessary supportive objective as it will help facilitate learning. A positive attitude is also a crucial component of a successful lesson, for as Gagne, Wager, Golas and Keller write in their book, Principles of Instructional Design, "...the attitudes a learner has toward a subject strongly influence the ease with which the subject is learned, retained and put to use."

Instructional Curriculum Map

File:ICM Updated.doc


Click here to view the material used to design this course Classroom Questioning References.

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