Actively engaging students in their learning is critical if we are to create thinkers who are prepared to meet the challenges that are outlined in the Common Core State Standards. Being able to think and problem solve is essential for students to be college and career ready.
We often think about engaging students physically, but it is equally, if not more important, to engage them mentally in a deep and meaningful way. Their engagement requires the roles to change in the classroom. The teacher must become the facilitator of thinking, not the provider of information and facts. They need to model the process of forming questions and working through the metacognitive process required for answering the questions.
Quality questions generally cannot be created quickly during instruction. They must be crafted thoughtfully during the lesson planning process. Walsh and Sattes (2005) found in their research that teachers ask an average of 50 questions per hour. Their recommendation is that teachers shift from quantity to quality questions. Two to five quality questions will encourage students to think at a much deeper level, thus creating opportunities for meaningful learning where students connect new learning to what they already know.
There is an art to composing questions. They become refined the more teachers practice creating them. Composing questions creates the environment for expanded learning. Teachers must acquire and practice the art of asking questions that challenge the thinking of all students in their classrooms.
~Judy Morgan, MS, CAS
Walsh, J. A. & Sattes, B. D. (2005) Quality questioning: Research-based practice to engage every learner. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.