Who’s Asking?

When @samjshah proposed a blog about asking better questions, I thought, “Yes! I need this resource,”  and wondered who would be contributing.  I didn’t expect to be one of the contributors because I’m pretty sure my questioning skills need serious development.  But Sam sold it as an opportunity to reflect on my practices and use that reflection to grow my skills.  So here I am.

I don’t have students yet, but I have been thinking about questions and what makes a good question.  I have also been thinking about who is asking the questions.  Because most of the students I have had in the past tend to ask one question:  Is this the right answer?  I have tried to convince them that this is not the question they should be asking.  However, I can only think of one student who finally started asking a slightly different question.  First he moved to, “Am I doing this the right way?”  That was more of a lateral move, than a gain.  Then one day he asked, “Is there another way to do this?”  I was pretty excited about that!

So, after thinking about better questions, I have realized that it isn’t just me that needs to learn to ask better questions, it is also my students.  And that realization can inform both my own development and my instruction.  I had already planned to hang a poster of starters for talking about math, but now I think I will add some type of starter of the week activity.  I’m still working on specifics, but I am pretty sure that if I add regular, explicit work on asking questions then we will all improve.


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