Adam Roberts

Engaging Students with Questioning

My action research was based on the strategy “Questioning in Style.” As I started this deeper learning journey I was unaware of this specific strategy; however, over time I have gained a new appreciation for learning through questions. I have learned that through different levels of questioning a teacher can engage a classroom, increase student-lead discussions and improve learning.  This strategy centers around 4 different levels of questions: mastery (level 1 or recall questions), understanding (level 2 or reasoning questions), self-expressive (level 3 or creating questions) and interpersonal (level 4 or relating questions). My research plan looked to determine if the implementation of these 4 types of questions in my instruction would improve student engagement and increase scores on summative assessment. The baseline data consisted of assessments and observations made prior to implementing Questioning in Style; while, the experimental data was after the Questioning in style was utilized. After collecting baseline data and comparing it to the results, it was clear that my hypothesis was correct. Student engagement had increased, student-lead discussions were happening and scores on summative assessments had improved in all classes. In addition, students were having small-group discussions and answering content-specific questions independently with their teacher. These classroom sessions were set up like so: In groups of 3-4 students, the class would get their instructions that they would be working on 4 levels of questioning today (Mastery, Understanding, Self-Expressive and Interpersonal). Each level would have 1-5 questions in each. Students would work (in small groups) on a level at a time. Before proceeding to the next level I would tell the class that each group would have one member randomly selected to answer for the group (at each level). In doing this, students were teaching one another while holding one another accountable for knowing the content.  It didn’t take long to notice the changes in my students. Students were engaged in the process; they were talking about the content with one another and with me; they were asking me content-related questions and learning was taking place. It would be a few weeks before they were assessed, and I found that when they were finally assessed scores also increased. Overall, it was a very valuable learning experience for me, and it is one that I’ll continue to use and share with others.

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