Sunday, September 29, 2013

Blog Post #VI

Questions, the important thoughts in life come from questions, or do they? That depends on what question we ask and how to ask that question. The great philosophers of Greece and Rome posed questions to initiate the thinking process. I plan on being a teacher, not a philosopher, but both groups have something in common, asking questions. Philosophers ask questions for themselves to think, teachers ask questions for those they are teaching to think. Teachers must know how to ask questions in the correct way to be effective. However, what do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher? That is the philosophical question.
According to Ben Johnson teachers should ask questions to their students by name in a random order, so that students must be thinking and be ready to answer the question if they are called. This is less than ideal when there is a bigger than normal classroom. Mr. Johnson also says that some teachers posing a question there are two groups of students, the group that wont raise their hand to answer a question and a group that does raise their hands to answer the question. In those two groups, the teacher has a choice: let a student that may know how to answer the question to have a good answer or choose a student that hasn't yet thought of how to answer the question. Basically the teacher must ask themselves, "Do I ask questions to get back an answer or do I ask questions for my students to think?". 

Calling students at random may work for some teachers, however I want to take a different approach. Teaching math, not many things are grey, but black and white. It is very easy to discern what a student did right and wrong. However, with math, there are many different routes one can take to get the right answer, not everyone can understand easily just one way to do some math problems, some people may understand taking a different route much easier. Looking at students tests while grading them can help me see how my students are thinking, are they doing the steps they are taught or are they coming up with their own way of doing the problems? I would also see which students are having trouble grasping the subject. Those students that come up with their own way of doing problems, I may ask them how they did it and to show it on the board for other students to see, so that other students may see another way of how to do it. Those students that are having trouble grasping the subject, I will call on them to answer questions so that they may start thinking. I believe teachers must ask questions not for answers, but for students to think. The answer is always going to be there, it wont move away, so take your time thinking about the question. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Life is a journey, not a destination." meaning it is not the answer you get, but how you get to the answer that matters and getting there the right way leads to a right answer.

1 comment:

  1. Have you heard about "Talk Moves," yet? Talk Moves can be used for any math concept at any time. They are wonderful, so look them up!