Questions and Thinking in Common Core
Part 2: Students as Questioners
Questions drive thinking, and deep thinking is at the heart of the Common Core. The English Language Arts standards require students to think deeply about literary and informational texts, and to provide evidence in support of that thinking. In a previous installment we looked at the role of teachers as questioners and the importance of modeling and using effective questioning techniques to build higher order thinking skills. Students, too, can use questions as tools to deepen understanding. Students need to ask questions and care about the answers. In this article, we will take a look at some strategies that can be used in the context of literacy instruction and inquiry.
Ultimately, questioning is about making meaning. It provides a way for students to actively engage with the subject matter at hand, make connections to previous learning, and to summarize and reflect upon new learning. Students' questions give teachers a glimpse into what they are thinking and an opportunity to check for misunderstandings, which can be remedied through follow-up instruction.
A classroom atmosphere that honors student ideas and questions and has expectations about respectful listening is one that will help students take risks in sharing their thinking. This will go a long way in helping students develop the habits of mind of flexibility and persistence in meeting their information needs.
Question-Answer Relationships • Questioning the Author • Questions to Guide Inquiry