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A Reflection on Modelling

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A reflection on modelling

Moone (2004) describes reflective learning as the process of learning and thinking in order to learn something. He explains that we reflect in order to learn something or we learn as a result of reflecting (Moone, 2004). Reflection in terms of learning is essential as it can help in becoming an effective teacher; it also requires an approach that questions our experiences, thoughts and actions (Knott & Scragg, 2012). This allows one to learn from experience and enhance knowledge and skills (Gardner, 2014). When reflecting, a teacher has to go through a process of self-observation and self-evaluation (Gardner, 2014). They reflect on what they do in the classroom, why they do it and in addition thinking about if it works for them. The following paper aims to look at a reflection on the importance of effective questioning.

The kind of questions a teacher asks can help to determine the level of thinking and development of a pupil (Cotton 1998). Adedoyin (2010) states that asking questions is an instinctive natural act, it is vital in a classroom setting for teachers to ask questions from the start of the lesson until the end. This helps a student to think, or to have an idea that could help give a response (Cotton, 2008). Vogler (2005) suggests teachers use questions to engage the students and gain an energetic style to the learning (Richards & Charles Lockhart, 2000). Teachers also use questions as part of the assessment of learning in order to determine how they best organise, structure, and present new learning (Adedoyin, 2010). However, research has found that although questions can monitor the understanding of a child, effective questioning requires good planning and higher cognitive thinking which requires time (Richards & Charles Lockhart, 2000).

I normally taught mental oral starters and these were really easy to incorporate questions as they are fast paced, in addition, they are usually a recap from previous lessons that the children have recently touched on so they worked well when it came to getting answers from the children and having them engaged. However, when I taught a science lesson, I was faced with several challenges. The children were disengaged in the lesson, the lesson was too long and lastly my subject knowledge was limited. When I was reflecting back on the lesson I realised it was due to the fact that I was limiting my questioning strategies due to the fact that I was not heavily equipped with the right subject knowledge for the actual lesson and on how to differentiate different questioning strategies. Furthermore, I was giving the children a lot of information making the children disengaged and switched off. Boaler &Brodie (2004) indicate that when asking good questions, you have to have informative content knowledge as questioning can be cognitively demanding. I agree in every aspect, even though I had planned the lesson and done a fair amount of research on the subject, the lesson threw me off completely. A few of the children had also asked questions which I did not find the answers to or had not expected them to ask about and this is due to the fact that I was looking down on their level of thinking. Wajnery (2002) found that while teachers often plan their questions in terms of the lesson’s content, they seem to place less importance on how questions in terms of the cognitive and verbal demands enrich the learner. This showed in several studies they conducted and results indicated that most preferred type of questions are yes or no or close ended type of questions.  “Most educators prefer short answer-retrieval style questions both of which put students into a passive, information seeker-receiver position in the class.” (Wajnery, 2002). This also highlighted an important part in my teaching experience. When planning a lesson, it is important to make sure you always include challenging questions so children are stimulated to think at higher level of their cognitive capacity. Without cancelling out yes or no question type, Thompson (2007) suggested a different perspective pointing that a yes or no question, especially if the answer is non-controversial or fairly obvious, he stated that its ok to ask this type of question as long as it boosts children and they take part in the lesson, especially if they are shy or hesitant this then leads to follow-up questions.

To conclude, training students need to have more experience with questioning styles and classifications. Researchers have tried to implement the type of questions teachers should ask. They have found it helpful to develop sets of categories into which teachers questions can be classified from different types of research. However these systems are of limited use, the researcher could be interested in more detailed descriptions of the questions asked to a specific classification (Thompson, 1997). For example, Clements (1964) was designed to specifically to focus on art teachers. It includes questions like “why don’t you make the hands larger over there”, “why not put some red over there?” These questions are more to do with art related content and not general type questions. The same goes for Blooms taxonomy, where questions have to be evaluative to engage students to think analytically. The classification system is effective in the sense that it helps a student move from a low level to a high level of thinking hence why it is a useful tool for analysing questions. However, it fails to look at broad aspect like yes or no questions which help push students who tend to be scared to speak up for fear of being wrong. It also fails to adhere to questions which stimulate inquiry and a sense of curiosity and lastly questions which guide problem solving. It is vital for training students to be taught how to ask a range of questions to allow children grow to their potential.



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