I believe in the power of inquiry to foster deeper learning and often work with teachers, coaches and facilitators to improve their questioning practices. Great questioning is important because it can stimulate higher-order thinking and vital metacognition and as Warren points out early on in our conversation, questioning should not be limited to teachers. When we make the shift to students utilizing effective questioning we empower them to take control of their own learning and help create a more democratic growth-mindset culture. One simple approach Warren mentions in his book and we discuss around the 7:48 mark is the "Why?, What if? and How?" method. I like how this fits with project based learning as we strive to create an authentic and engaging purpose for student work and thinking. Starting with the Why? it's important to create some cognitive dissonance or reason for the project and an Entry Event is a great way to do this. One example I used as a government teacher when asking students to make budget policy recommendations to a Senator was to simply show this version of the National Debt Calculator. Instantly my 9th grade students starting asking questions begging me to click on certain numbers and I knew had a hook. We might see the What if? show up in PBL in the Driving Question as we outline the challenge for the students. While it's essential for teachers be clear about the product, purpose and audience sometimes a "What if?" DQ works great for engagement purposes. Finally, students need to engage in the How? as they dive into figuring out what they Need to Know (and Do!) to complete their challenge.
|credit: A More Beautiful Question|
This just scratches the surface of our discussion, I encourage you to view the entire discussion yourself and order Warren's book, A More Beautiful Question. For more on Inquiry in Education visit the PEC web site.