Action Research

[ACTION RESEARCH] How do I improve the quality of student questioning?

It’s week two of the internship and I’m having a blast teaching the kids and seeing them enjoy their learning. On the flip-side, I’ve also just had one of those days where I visualise myself ripping out my hair, internalising my frustration and asking myself – WHY DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M TEACHING?! I keep telling myself to just take that step back and refocus on the aim of this whole teaching thing – it’s all about the students. Student focused. Student centred learning. If they don’t understand something, I should try to approach the question in another way – listen to the student voice and NOT the teacher voice.

Following on with my original proposal about improving student questioning, my project so far:

“Does providing explicit quality criteria to structure questioning lead to increased student inquiry and quality of understanding in a combined Year 5/6 classroom?”

Intervention: Provision of explicit quality criteria in the form of a defined rubric, which will be scaffolded with the student group using a variety of methods.

Outcomes: Increased student inquiry and quality of understanding.

Cohort: Combined Year 5/6 classroom (88 students)

I’ve found a number of ideas which I will be implementing over the next few weeks once my proposal is approved.

1. Driving Question Tubric (Buck Institute for Education 2011)

This method that focuses specifically on developing driving questions for Project Based Learning tasks, involves breaking down a question into four component parts through framing initial words, identifying the person or entity that will take action in solving or answering the question, the action that the question prompts the person to do and the audience of the final solution. I feel this is a good hands way to get students to visualise their thought process when strategising about their questioning structure. However, this method provides little feedback in terms of the purpose of the questioning and whether their questions are appropriate for what they are inquiring about.

2. The Question Formulation Technique (Rothstein & Santana 2011) Harvard Education Letter

Using this framework for formulating questions, students will be prompted to produce their own questions based on topic or focus, analyse their own questions to determine how to improve them, prioritise their questions based on the appropriateness in relation to the topic/focus and reflect on their learning in questioning strategy. This technique complements my research question quite well as it can easily fit in with the question rubric and the scaffolding of appropriate questioning structure to the students.

Now to come up with a quality question structure rubric with the students!

Hopefully one day I can say “There’s no such thing as a stupid question!” and honestly mean it (jokes).



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