This week I have really been thinking about questioning. Actually, lets be honest. I think about questioning ALL. THE. TIME. Several years ago when our state first made the shift to CCSS, I had so much training in preparation. One of the trainings I was very excited and very nervous about was working with IFL (Institute for Learning) with the University of Pittsburg. They asked to video tape my class to be able to show assessing and advancing questions in a summer training. (By the way, IFL worked very closely with my state when we first made the transition and therefore supplied all of our summer training for several years). In order to prepare for recording the lesson, I had to work through a task and create a series of assessing and advancing questions for situations that I thought might come up when I was actually teaching the lesson. I had to anticipate what and how my students would interpret and work through the tasks. It was super time consuming and because I was doing it for the first time and by myself actually really difficult.
But after hashing it out and then actually teaching the lesson, I realized that all of the planning was the best thing I could have possibly done for my students’ learning! Now, I’m not saying that the lesson was flawless. Nor am I saying that I successfully anticipated every way of thinking my students showed. But because I had a plan of questions, I was better at thinking on my toes. And I knew the things I needed to ask in order to help my students learn the material because I knew my end goal. And then the next time I planned a lesson using assessing and advancing questions it was much easier. It continues to be easier and easier every time I do it.
Now, as a new instructional coach, I have been struggling with how to help my teachers realize how invaluable this knowledge can be. It’s hard to be vulnerable and plan in this way. It’s also, like I said, time consuming when you are new to doing it. Most of my teachers have had training in assessing and advancing questions, but still don’t use it in planning.
So, any advice on how to help teachers see it as a valuable tool? What are your thoughts about it in general? Has anyone used it before? Was it successful? Are their resources out there on how to coach someone through it? Look at me asking questions in a post about questioning! :o)