Sunday, August 7, 2011

Teach Like A Champion Chapter 9 Analysis:

(This is the seventh of a series of posts on Teach Like A Champion by Doug Lemov, which I am reading and reflecting on for a class for my masters at Cornerstone University)

In this chapter, Lemov describes five reasons why teachers ask questions of their students:
  • To guide students toward understanding new material
  • To push students to do more of the thinking
  • To find and fix errors in student understanding
  • To stretch students
  • To check for understanding
He goes on to describe several techniques to help improve our questioning skills

  1. Ask One At A Time: asking more than one question will confuse students, or give them the chance to pick which they want to answer which will usually be the easier or more interesting question
  2. Simple to Complex: ask a sequence of questions that moves from more fact-based to more complex.  Even though the questions at the end of the sequence are probably better, more thought provoking, and more interesting, they won’t be as productive if you haven’t laid down the framework or opened up the students’ neurons and seeded them with facts and observations
  3. Verbatim: when repeating a question after someone has volunteered to answer, be sure you have repeated it the exact same way you asked it originally, or they will feel tricked, or not answer as well. Write the questions down if they are important to you.
  4. Keep questions clear and concise
  5. Have Stock sequences of questions ready for situations
  6. Try to achieve a hit rate of more than 70%, but certainly less than 100%, or you’re not asking rigorous enough questions.
Personally, I always thought I was a good question asker, but I know I can do a lot better.  I do not plan my questions in advance, and am afraid I don't ask them verbatim -- I tend to change the question several times as I ask it, in hopes of making the question more clear. I would do myself and my students a favor by writing them out ahead of time, using clear and concise language, and structuring them so that I started simply and moved towards more complex questions that flushed out new information.

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