Teacher your Learners Questioning over Compliance

I am a very reflective practitioner. I believe that I have great knowledge to share, but at the same time, I am receptive to feedback and realize that I can always learn from others.

I am a restless learner. I am always hungry for knowledge and searching for ways to improve my practice and other areas of my life.

Part of being a reflective practitioner and a restless learner is accepting that we never stop learning.

In stating that, my restless desire to learn and improve has led me to pursue a Masters Degree in Educational Technology at Michigan State University.
One important takeaway from this semester has been the idea of questioning and its essentiality  to be encouraged in school. Unknowingly, we have encouraged compliance in our students – not questioning. This is the key for solving life’s problems and is one cornerstone to true innovation, which is paramount to future success (Couros, 2014).
Before I read Warren Berger’s book, A More Beautiful Question, I felt uncomfortable questioning people and things around me. For example, I never would have asked, “Why do we have to do it this way? Can’t we find a more efficient way to complete the task?”  However, now, after reading the book, I see that questioning doesn’t have to be seen as a sign of disrespect, or a challenge (Berger, 2014). It is simply a way to spark innovation and solve a problem more efficiently.
Another part that sparked my interest was when I realized that the types of questions being asked, mattered a lot.
I  have spoken about this before, but I would get frustrated with the Iphone assistant, Siri, when she wouldn’t give me the answer I wanted. After reflection, I realized that Siri wasn’t wrong. She was doing exactly what she was told to do. I was the one at fault because I wasn’t asking the right question. Since that realization, I became more mindful when asking questions. Instead of “Hey, Siri! What’s the score of the Panthers game” and getting a response for the hockey team’s game, I ask “Hey, Siri! What’s the score of the Carolina Panther’s game?” With this specific question, I will get the answer I desire (Berger, 2014).
This translates to teaching because of all the questioning coming from both learners and teachers. Students should be able to question a lesson or process, and teachers need to feel comfortable being questioned. It’s not disrespectful. It’s only giving students a confident voice and a way to take ownership of their learning, which is an essential life skill.
So often, teachers will ask trails of never ending questions that ultimately lead to more confusion. If we, as educators, ask the “right”, explicit questions, we will get targeted, more focused answers from our learners (Berger, 2014).

Image retrieved from comics.feedtacoma.com

With the way our education system is designed, we have encouraged compliance in our students (Couros, 2014). Unknowingly, some of us (educators) have encouraged the idea that the teacher is the one true expert in the room, and that our answer is the only correct response, so try to match it, or you’re wrong. We have accidentally reinforced the idea that “questioning” is disrespectful and an act of rudeness to the teacher, or manager, etc. (Berger, 2014). Both of these ideas do not have to continue. In fact, we, as educators, have the power to change this “norm” in schools.
The first ways to launch change are to read more about these topics to be able to ask more informed questions and begin a plan for change.
On the topic of Innovation and Compliance, read this book. For more information about Questioning, choose this one.

Below, I have created a Prezi presentation to showcase a few ways I have encouraged passion, creativity and questioning in my classroom. Feel free to check it out! Begin your implementation of these activities during this school year!

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Click the Photo to View the Prezi!



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