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CIRTL: The gentle art of questioning

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Questioning is a central part of student assessment and quizzing, but it can also be a powerful learning tool. In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore research-based tips and ideas for achieving …

Questioning is a central part of student assessment and quizzing, but it can also be a powerful learning tool. In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore research-based tips and ideas for achieving the full benefit of questioning. Effective use of common questioning tools -- clickers and discussion boards -- will be discussed as a means to achieve student engagement and deep learning.

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  • HAVE PEOPLE SIT BY DISCIPLINE
  • How do you feel about asking students questions in class?How many times have you given a lecture and found that students hadn’t followed you?Can you rely on students to ask questions if they don’t understand something?Can you rely on students to know if they don’t understand something?So, what are the benefits of questioning?Why do you think people don’t question more?
  • During each section, ask people for examples of questions that they wrote that fall into this category. Give clicker booklet for responding.Point out the handout where each one is detailed more.
  • Model each one of these. What are some ways to ask questions? One is to ask rhetorically.Class, what’s another way to ask a question? Target the whole class.John, what’s another way? Target someone else.Are there other ways to ask a question? Let’s think about it. Target class: verbally, clickers, other waysTarget someone in particular: randomly, in seating order, call on particular personWait and then…. Call on volunteers, call on someone who hasn’t volunteered, answer own question
  • Everything but synthesis
  • Questions threaten studentsI get no volunteers to answerStudents don’t talk to each otherAnswers take me off trackTakes too much time
  • What comes first? Learning goals.
  • Instructor circulates, may need to show that you’re serious
  • Usually one second. Trained to wait 3-5 seconds. Students tend to speak in bursts with 3-5 seconds between bursts: Wait time of 1 second interrupts these bursts.
  • Students take writing for each other, and the web, more seriously than writing for instructorDon’t make it into busywork, then it’s a pretend audience and not motivating.Gardner Campbell (Virginia Tech) school of blogging: http://is.gd/ACRo7j.
  • Shop for ideas
  • Weigh advantages of covering more material against checking comprehension and actively involving students. It’s challenging. How a teacher does this determines how well it works. NO RESPONSE: Wait longer. Rephrase the question. Give a hint. Have students discuss. Call on someone. Leave unanswered. SAME PEOPLE: Someone other than X. Ask an easier question and call on new volunteer. Be alert to non-verbal cues. Make it clear that participation required. IF ANSWERS CALLED OUT: Ask it others agree. Ask for other answers. Ask students to think for a minute. Turn away to signal time for thought. Ask to write answers down. IF TAKE TOO LONG: Interrupt and summarize. Set boundaries and expectations. WRONG ANSWER: Break down question so others can see error. Ask for comments. Ask for other answers. Find merit in answer and explain why common mistake.
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Gentle Art of Questioning
      Clickers and other tech tools for student engagement
      Dr. Stephanie V. Chasteen
      Physics Department
      &
      Science Education Initiative
      Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
      http://colorado.edu/sei
      Web and blog: http://sciencegeekgirl.com
      Email: stephanie.chasteen@colorado.edu
    • 2. Who are you?
      STEM faculty
      Administrator
      Faculty professional development staff
      Education researcher
      Graduate student or post-doc
      Other
      Show of hands
    • 3. How many years have you been teaching?
      3
      I haven’t taught yet
      1-5 years
      6-10 years
      Longer than I can remember
      I don’t teach anymore
      Colored cards
      Move into groups?
    • 4. Have you used response systems (clickers) in your teaching?
      Take a clicker & turn it on
      If the green light flashes, your
      vote has been counted
      Not at all
      I’ve seen them used but not yet used them
      I’ve used them a little
      I’ve used them a lot
      I could be (should be?) giving this workshop
    • 5. Introducing Me
      5
      Science Education Initiative
      http://colorado.edu/SEI
      Applying scientific principles to improve science education – What are students learning, and which instructional approaches improve learning?
      Physics Education Research Group
      http://PER.colorado.edu
      One of largest PER groups in nation, studying technology, attitudes, classroom practice, & institutional change.
      Blogger
      http://blog.sciencegeekgirl.com
    • 6. Why question?
      How many times have you given a lecture and found that students hadn’t followed you?
      Can you rely on students to ask questions if they don’t understand something?
      Can you rely on students to know if they don’t understand something?
      What are the benefits of questioning?
      Notes #1
      6
      whiteboard
      Credit: Rosie Piller
    • 7.
    • 8. The toughest thing about asking questions in class is…
      Writing good questions
      Getting students to really think about them
      Getting students to answer the questions / Nobody responds
      The same students always respond / Not everybody responds
      It takes too long / I have a lot of content to cover
    • 9. Agenda
      When and how we can ask questions
      About clickers as a way to ask questions
      Challenges and best practices in using clickers, discussion boards, and in-class questioning
      Writing good questions
      Action plan
      9
      Learning goals: Participants will be able to….
      Explain several benefits of questioning and of using clickers to question
      Defend the use of best practices in questioning to overcome common challenges
      Formulate an action plan for questioning that is suitable to their teaching context
    • 10. Warm-up exercise: Questions in your content
      What questions could you ask to help students achieve your assigned learning goal -- to test mastery and stimulate learning?
      Brainstorm as a group
      10
      5 minutes
      whiteboard
    • 11. WHEN to ask? Questioning Cycle
      11
      BEFORE
      Setting up instruction
      Motivate
      Check knowledge/comprehension
      Discover
      Application
      Predict-and-show
      Analysis
      Provoke thinking
      DURING
      Developing knowledge
      Assess prior knowledge
      “Big picture”
      Evaluation
      Demonstrate success
      Synthesis
      Review / Recap
      Elicit misconception
      Exit poll
      AFTER
      Assessing learning
      Exercise skill
      Credit: Rosie Piller and Ian Beatty.
    • 12. Some methods of asking questions
      12
      Ask rhetorically
      Target the class (how?)
      Target someone in particular (in what order?)
      Wait and then… (call on whom?)
      Answer your own question
      Leave the question unanswered
      Or ask out of class
      Blogs
      Discussion boards
      Homework…
      Notes #2
      My favorite:
      Credit: Rosie Piller
    • 17. Why use clickers to target the class? An outline of Peer Instruction.
      13
    • 18. 14
      But not a magic bullet!
      Clickers are a tool for questioning
    • 19. 15
      Notes #3
      Ask Question
      (Maybe vote)
      …Lecture…
      Peer Discussion
      Class Discussion
      Vote
      * See also: Peer Instruction, A User’s Manual. E. Mazur.
      Anatomy of Peer Instruction
    • 20. How is a clicker question the same or different?*
      16
      * From other types of in-class questions
      Similar in terms of goals
      Multiple choice
      Anonymous (to peers)
      Every student has a voice – the loud ones and the shy ones
      Forced wait time
      You can withhold the answer until everyone has had time to think (choose when to show the histogram)
      Notes #4
      What does this tool help us to do?
    • 21. Which of these could be clicker questions?
      BEFORE
      Setting up instruction
      Motivate
      Check knowledge/comprehension
      Discover
      Application
      Predict-and-show
      Analysis
      Provoke thinking
      DURING
      Developing knowledge
      Assess prior knowledge
      “Big picture”
      Evaluation
      Demonstrate success
      Synthesis
      Review / Recap
      Elicit misconception
      Exit poll
      AFTER
      Assessing learning
      Exercise skill
      Credit: Rosie Piller and Ian Beatty.
    • 22. U. Colorado clicker resources…
      18
      Videos of effective use of clickers
      2-5 mins long
      http://STEMvideos.colorado.edu
      Clicker resource page
      http://STEMclickers.colorado.edu
      • Instructor’s Guide
      • 23. Question banks
      • 24. Workshops
      • 25. Literature / Articles
    • Let’s try it
      19
      Which superpower would you
      rather have? The ability to…
      Change the mass of things
      Change the charge of things
      Change the magnetization of things
      Change the boiling point of things
      19
      Question: Ian Beatty, UNC Greensboro Image: Thibaultfr on Wikimedia
    • 26. 20
      Example question: Math
      Your sister in law calls to say that she’s having twins. Which of the following is the most likely? (Assume she’s having fraternal, not identical, twins)
      Twin boys
      Twin girls
      One girl and one boy
      All are equally likely
      Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt
    • 27. Example question: Survey
      If you were walking down a road and passed a piece of trash, would you pick it up?
      Yes
      No
      It depends
      vaguely recollected from a question described by Kate Dollard, Northampton HS
    • 28. What could possibly go wrong?
      You ask students a question, and ask them to discuss.
      You then ask them to share their answers and reasoning in a whole-class discussion
      What could possibly go wrong? 
      22
      Exercise #1
      7 mins
      In groups of 3-5 brainstorm some of the challenges you imagine, or outstanding questions.
      Organize into challenges regarding (1) writing/asking questions, (2) peer discussion, (3) explaining the answer and (4) other.
      What is a possible solution?
    • 29. 23
      23
      1. Ask Question
      Notes #5
      What are some challenges/ things to consider when posing a clicker question?
      • Ask several times during lecture
      • 30. Ask challenging, meaningful questions
      • 31. Don’t post until ready
      • 32. Give time to read (read silently)
      • 33. Don’t read question out loud
      Handout/worksheet / whiteboard
    • 34. 2. Peer Discussion
      24
      Notes #6
      • Students learn more deeply by
      teaching each other
      • Makes them articulate answer
      • 35. Lets you see inside their heads
      Why is peer discussion important?
      What are challenges /
      how can you help make it work?
      • Make it clear why you’re doing this
      • 36. Circulate and ask questions / model
      • 37. Use questions they want to discuss
      • 38. Allow enough time (2-5 mins)
    • 3. Wrap-Up Discussion
      25
      Notes #7
      Challenges?
      What might you do to facilitate an effective wrap-up discussion?
      • Establish culture of respect
      • 39. Consider whether to show the
      histogram immediately
      • Ask multiple students to defend their
      answers
      • Why are wrong answers wrong and
      why right answer is right
    • 40. Effects of increased wait time
      26
      Changes in student behavior:
      More students respond
      More students respond without being asked (unsolicited)
      Student responses are longer
      More alternative explanations are offered
      Student confidence increases
      There are more speculative responses
      Students ask more questions
      Other changes (on teacher!)
      Quantity of questions decreased
      Quality of questions increased
      Expectations of slower students were revised
      Teacher reactions to answers were more appropriate
      All from a few more seconds!
      Rowe, Mary Budd (1974)
    • 41. 27
      Giving the answer stops student thinking!
    • 42. Discussion boards / blogs
      The motivation question: How do you encourage students to participate? How do you create an authentic audience? How do you make this an integrated and motivating part of the course?
      Make expectations for participation clear
      Provide incentive (intrinsic better than extrinsic) for reading and writing
      Post interesting questions
      Notes #8
      Search Derek Bruff’s blog for “Randy Bass” and/or “social pedagogies”
    • 43. We’re going to practice writing questions now
      Remember those questions from the warm-up?
      In groups of 3-4, choose one (quickly) that you will write a multiple choice version of
      1 minute
    • 44. Gallery Walk
      Read briefly over the “tips for writing clicker questions” handout. Which is going to be most challenging for you?
      As a table, look at the “example questions” trio that I have given you. What’s a common theme(s)? Write the themes down on the sheet.
      Notes #9
      When you’re done, circulate to see the themes of questions on other tables.
      Shop for ideas for your own questions!
      5 minutes
    • 45. Exercise #2: Multiple choice questions
      31
      In groups of ~3, pick a question from the Warm Up exercise, and write a multiple choice version of it.
      If you have time, write another question from another part of the questioning cycle!
      7 minutes
    • 46. Action Plan
      Take a few minutes to write down your action plan to implement ideas you heard about in the workshop
      32
    • 47. References & Resources
      http://STEMclickers.colorado.edu
      (will have handouts)
      Web and blog: http://sciencegeekgirl.com
      Email: stephanie.chasteen@colorado.edu
      Clicker Resource Page from the Science Education Initiative: http://STEMclickers.colorado.edu. Has clicker question banks (in the sciences), an instructors’ guide, and videos of classroom use. Useful books (such as Eric Mazur’s Peer Instruction are cited there.
      Workshop handouts will be uploaded to the above website.
      Many materials in this workshop (particularly the questioning cycle and the participant exercises) were adapted fromRosie Piller, Making Students Think: The Art of Questioning. Short papers published in: Computer Training & Support Conference, 1995; ISPI International Conferences, 1991 and 1996; ASTD National Conference on Technical & Skills Training, 1990. Related workshop description at http://www.educationexperts.net/nstworkshop.html
      Other materials (particularly sample clicker questions and goals of clicker questions) adapted from Ian Beatty’s Technology Enhanced Formative Assessment (TEFA) program. http://ianbeatty.com/crs
      Cited research:
      Rowe, Mary Budd. “Wait-time and rewards as instructional variables… ” Journal of Research on Science Teaching, vol. 11 (2), pp. 81-94, 1974.
      Thanks!
    • 48. Learning Goals
      Biology: Recognize the components of a cell and describe why each is necessary for the function of a cell
      Physics: Identify the different ways that light can interact with an object (i.e., transmitted, absorbed, reflected).
      Chemistry: Explain trends in boiling points in terms of intermolecular interactions
      Earth science: Understand the formation of the three major types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) and the processes by which they form, relating them by the rock cycle.
      Math: Solve a system of linear equations in two variables using algebra or graphing.
    • 49. What Do I do if…?
      What can you do if you ask questions and..
      There is no response
      The same people keep raising their hands
      The answers are called out before everyone has a chance to think
      The answers take too long
      Someone gives a wrong answer
      Only some students are prepared
      ?
      35
      We’ll discuss in Workshop #2.
      For now: Many of these challenges are addressed by clickers