Welcome to the long awaited overview of the Pedagoo Christmas Party Questioning session. I was fortunate enough to be facilitating a fabulously creative and thoughtful group of pedadogical paragons meaning that other than taking notes I was able to sit back and enjoy these marvellous people sharing things which made their classrooms special. This blog is intended to provide an overview of ideas presented and links to other resources that were shared and discussed rather than creating a dilution of the ideas myself. Each of the ideas shared is worthy of a blog in its own right, so if there is not a link and you’ve been working on something similar why not share it on @pedagoo?
Carol shared a few interesting ideas with us;
She discussed the importance of having factual knowledge to be able to question deeply and enable powerful thinking and the challenges that this creates. We need to have the foundations of knowledge before we can build deeper understanding and higher order thinking.
Next Carol shared something she liked from John Sayers blog on Questioning Grids which can be found here: http://sayersjohn.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/questioning.html ; John has a fabulous blog and I personally recommend it also.
Carol also shared her own fabulous Good Cop/Bad Cop analysis tool she uses to look at sources in history, “are they positive/negative?”, “how are they useful?”, “what are the limitations?” Carol’s Blog can on this can be found here: http://littlestobbsy.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/good-copbad-cop-source-analysis/
Jo shared the importance of MLG, Marginal Learning Gains for both teachers and students. Passionately and honestly sharing how she has been looking to improve both her own questioning and that of her students using this philosophy. More on MLG can be found on Zoe Elders blog here: http://fullonlearning.com/marginal-learning-gains-blog/
Peter was kind enough to share three big ideas on questioing he has been working on in his school.
1) Art Gallery critique; students go around looking at each other work leaving comments and questions. It’s a great method as it leads to surprisingly challenging questions being generated for students and it creates a lot of individualised challenge based on reponses to their own work.
2) Students exploring how to respond to specific types of questions. Looking at exam papers and decoding them to understand exactly what is being asked of them. They even created their own systems and acronyms to support them in their approaches to exam questions. It was great to hear of the success this student owned exercise (supported of course) has had.
3) Using Iris (a video observation platform) to focus on questions. It’s one thing to have a tally of question types, another to see them written down. To watch yourself asking questions and the responses to them really focuses the mind to improve.
Here is a link to Peter’s article relating to this on his schools CPD Blog: https://educatingchurchill.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/how-do-we-evaluate-the-impact-of-cpd/
Plicker; Kirsty shared with us a method of quickly testing starting knowledge and understanding of key concepts using an app called Plicker. Students hold up a code, based on multiple choice answers and the teacher scans the room with an iPad to get instant data on student comprehension. It only works well with closed questions which have specific multiple choice answers, but as a tool I was surprised by its efficiency. If you want to instantly assess knowledge it is a great app.
Caroline shared using SOLO Taxonomy as a way to target the thinking of students. She recommended having questioins set to the different levels of the SOLO Taxonomy and students directing their level of challenge. She has found that students who aim low quickly progress to the correct level of challenge as they advance and those who pick too high normally readjust their challenge to build on their knowledge and thinking.
There’s loads of SOLO Taxonomy ideas on the @pedagoo website but I’d recommend starting here if you’d like to know more http://www.pedagoo.org/a-solo-experiment/
Kylie shared how she had been using different coloured lollypop sticks as part of her no hands up questioning. Using different levels/styles of question depending on the colour coding of the sticks. This meant that she could either target a person to the question when “randomly selecting” who would be answering after giving them thinking time.
Secondly she shared how she had used a “boat race” where students moved markers accross the table during her small A-Level group of reluctant speakers each time they shared a worthwhile response. She found that this simple technique had generated a positive response to engaging with verbal responses in her group.
Karenza shared some thoughts on when closed questions can be valuable, how they can be done well and how they are still fit for their purpose. It just depends what the purpose of your questions are. These were some ideas she found on @atharby blog which can be found here: http://reflectingenglish.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/closed-question-quizzing-unfashionable-yet-effective/
Finally my talk on questioning at the party can be found here http://www.pedagoo.org/audio-from-pedagooxmas/ and my notes from the presentation can be found here http://ikonoklaste.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/whats-the-big-idea/comment-page-1/
Hope you find some of the links useful and have a Sharing Christmas and a Pedagogical New Year.
Barry Dunn – @SeahamRE