Something I noticed when I went to watch Dale teach a few weeks back was the way he guided students towards considering what they had learned from the lesson, at the end of the “Active”, or problem solving, phase of the math lesson. Cajoling my own students into coming up with something meaningful to write up under the “what we learned” heading of our lesson slides has been a challenge for me, and I was intrigued to see how smooth and effective Dale’s question seemed. (As an aside, he did confess to me later that his questions weren't always fo foccussed, but that he had taken extra care that day as he knew he was going to be watched!)
The monograph on questioning suggests that a well-structured question can "excite student curiosity, provoke critical thinking, elicit reflection and help students construct their own meaning for the mathematics they are studying." (page 8) A "good" (for these purposes) question, further, comprises three parts:
- an invitation to think
- a cognitive process
- a specific topic
The criteria listed above are certainly not met by my usual, casual, "so, what did we learn today?"!
As we continue to plan lessons for the smart board, Dale and I will try to incorporate some more intentional questions in order to make the transition from sharing solutions to considering “what we learned” more seamless and effective.