It has been a few months since my last teaching-as-inquiry project but lately I have been analysing data from my current project and wondering just how much impact this has had on the me and the students. My current topic is Stretch It, it focuses on my questioning techniques and how these lead to higher-order thinking in students. The inspiration behind this project was comments from AT’s while on practicum. I had a tendency to respond to a right answer by saying “yes” or “good” or by adding my own knowledge. I’m not the only one with this tendency and my passion for education and subjects that I teach means that I can’t wait to share my knowledge with students and get them excited as well. “Learning can and should continue after a correct answer has been given” (Lemov). So, again because of my passion for education, this became an area of my practice that I had (for my own violation) to work on and improve to benefit students and enhance their learning.
“The sequence of learning does not end with a right answer; reward right answers with follow-up questions that extend knowledge”. (Lemov)
What an awesome way to put it, reward students with more knowledge, more information, more skills! This is what I am attempting to do in my current TAI, however, it is hard to analyse exactly how successful I have been in achieving this goal. I’m not sure it is really something you can test through assessment data. What I narrowed it down to was observations from my mentor and other teachers, and student feedback, which brings me to the point of this post. I am currently responsible for two History classes; a Year 12 class and a Year 11 Extension class. I asked students to complete and online survey. I assured students that their responses would be anonymous and therefore encouraged them to be completely honest in their answers (how am I going to learn if they are just pampering to my ego?). One particular response from a student in the Year 11 Extension class (it has to be one of them, although I am not sure which one exactly) made me smile and brought a tear to my eye.
I believe that no further skills/questioning techniques are required, only a refinement of common teaching skills that would come over more time teaching. For a first time teaching I thought she was very good.
Now clearly this student thought my questioning techniques were up to par (I may disagree with this) but it was the way it was worded, the emphasis behind it, and the fact that he or she did not have to write it, that made me feel like I accomplished something in the last two terms.
The results of my current TAI have led me to conclude that I still have work to do on my questioning techniques and that this project is ongoing. The results of the student survey prove that I often obviously use the same set of techniques and that I can stretch these and bring in other questioning methods to further extend students thinking, skills and knowledge (see results below). But I wanted to thank the anonymous student for his/her feedback and for reaffirming that teaching is a path that I took a long time to find, but is a path that I am extremely thankful to be on, even if I still have a lot to learn.
TAI student survey results: