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Monday, January 3, 2011

It's not about the answer- It's really about the QUESTIONS!

Much of what we know about intelligence and achievement shows that the power of what individuals know depends in a very large part not on the information they control but on the scope and originality of the questions they ask.
Pat Wolfe, 2002 
Teaching our students to ask good questions will serve them well in their educational journey and beyond.
So first let's talk about what a good question looks like!
There are many different kinds of questions:
Essential Questions
Elaborating Questions
Clarification Questions
Hypothetical Questions
Strategic Questions
Probing Questions
Planning Questions
Unanswerable Questions
Provocative Questions 
But my favorite kinds of questions are "Genius Questions"
Here are some examples of Genius Questions:
What if….?
I wonder why….?
When is it….?
Why is it that…..?
Who could…..?
How is ___ like ___?
When is…..?
What could happen if…..?
If it were possible……? 
Are there….?
Why is …..?
Where did……?
Do you…..?   
Does it matter if…..?
When is it…..?
Is _____the reason for….?
Would you rather…?
What would it take to…….? 
So start modeling the use of these kinds of questions and encourage and praise your students when they begin to ask these kinds of questions too.

Once you have learned to ask relevant and appropriate questions, you have learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever you want or need to know.
   Neil Postman                                 “Teaching is a Subversive Activity”

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