Coaching Student Questioning

Inquiry, Project, Problem and Team-Based Learning are all members of the constructivist educational philosophy. Student inquiry lies at the very heart of the philosophy. Inquiry drives learning in all three learning strategies. Out of inquiry it is important for students to learn to ask questions that will elicit thoughtful answers from search engines, interviewees, community members, and other sources that are involved in helping students acquire information. Once that information is collected, products can be produced.

Student questioning, then should be “thicker” or richer than asking questions that are one word answers or require little critical thinking. When students begin to plan their questioning activities in the Project, Problem, or Team-Based Learning unit, they should begin to ask richer questions.

Examples of rich conceptual questioning include idea such as:

Instead of asking:

What happened in Charleston, West Virginia in 1974 concerning textbooks?
ask:
How did the events in Charleston in 1974 change the political landscape in the United States?

OR

Instead of asking
Why were local residents in Kanawha County upset with the textbook committee?
ask:
What other issues besides textbooks was at play in the controversy?

OR

Instead of asking
How did the Great Textbook Wars affect you as students at the time.
ask:
As documentary writers and historians, how did working on this project change your original views after you had completed your work?

For questions or concerns about this page or have technical issues, please send an e-mail to Mark Swiger.