In the past student voice was not encouraged or valued. Teachers taught and students learned. This was the expectation in schools and it took many years to change. Today, we are still working on this and need to continue to encourage student voice, making them feel heard, respected and valued.
The ability to question a topic or an opinion is a skill that will serve our students both in and out of the classroom. Being curious is a trait that helps us all to progress and aids our want to learn. To begin to nurture this we firstly need to teach our students how to ask productive questions. What better way to do this than to model it ourselves?! The more you question them the more they will also begin to question. It is a natural process and before you know it and without even realizing they will begin to think more deeply about classroom topics. Classroom tasks such as ‘here’s the answer, what’s the question?’ are also a great way to get your students thinking, especially when the answer has a variety of different possibly questions.
Positive praise for questions is also important, when students feel comfortable and safe in the classroom it will give them the opportunity to be free within their learning. By providing praise, it will give students the push they need to continue asking questions. All questions have value whether they are of a deeper nature or simple and short.
At the end of the day, the drive behind questioning is for it to become a habit for our students. Simple strategies and time for reflection can help bring awareness to its importance within the learning process. Give your students five minutes at the end of a lesson to reflect on how questioning helped them during the class. Thinking back on the class, the questioning they’ve done and what they’ve learned will bring awareness to it all, and may even lead to further questions!
Our end goal is to instill an inquisitiveness in our students. This will serve them throughout their lives. Classrooms today are a place where our students have the freedom to learn, engage and be curious. This space is sacred and special and we as educators now have the pleasure to learn alongside and in collaboration with our students.
We’d love to hear about any teaching strategies that you use with your students. Please share what works well for you with @aquilaeducation on Twitter orFacebook.
Stay up to date with the latest Aquila blog by following us @aquilaeducation