Teaching Secrets: Asking the Right Questions
The science lesson was in full swing when I walked into my inclusion class. The students seemed attentive, following along in their books as my co-teacher read the science text aloud. Every so often, my co-teacher paused to ask a question: "What are renewable resources?" "What are two examples of non-renewable resources?" Students revisited relevant sections of the text and eagerly raised their hands to answer. Afterward, the students were directed to re-read the text, take notes, and respond to the questions at the end of the chapter.
The students seemed to be on task—but how much were they learning?
I walked around the room, checking in with individual students. I asked one student (let’s call him Jake) to explain a section of the text in his own words. He smiled, looked at me, and said, "Oh, I don’t know, I’m not reading this—I’m just looking for the answers to these questions." With a heavy heart, I read over his shoulder. Jake had produced all the correct answers (and perhaps sharpened his ability to locate facts in a text), but there was little evidence that he understood what the information meant or had built connections...
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