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April 10, 2016

Student Questions

As part of our IB learning, we know the importance of fostering student questions. I read an article this week that further reinforced the importance of student questioning. I wanted to share just a bit of the article written by Katrina Schwartz with you.


"Curiosity is baked into the human experience. Between the ages of 2 and 5, kids ask on average 40,000 question. Young kids encounter something new, learn a little bit about it, get curious and then continue to add on a little more information with each new discovery. Kids are lighting up their pleasure zones and getting dopamine hits every time they learn something that solves something they were curious about. Furthermore, questioning is a highly valued skill. Companies are looking for people who can ask deep questions that will solve real problems and lead to profitable solutions. Equally important, it's up to an informed citizen to ask questions about the world, policies and the actions of our government. Luckily, kids are hard-wired for that kind of generative curiosity. Unfortunately, right around age 5 or 6 questioning drops off a cliff. When kids go to school they stop asking so many questions. There are lots of understandable reasons why questioning drops off in school. Foremost among them is time. Time really conspires against questioning. In the classroom there often isn't time to let kids ask their questions. Really good, deep questions often take a lot of time to unravel. There are ways however that teachers can work to make questioning a normal part of school and life. Instead of asking, "What did you learn today?" we might ask, "What great question did you ask today." When a child asks one of those great, deep questions that gets at why humans are even here, we need to foster the exploration of the question. You don't have to have the answers. You just have to have the interest. Instead of trying to close off questioning by providing a pat answer, we might say, "If you were going to start answering that question, where would you start?" We want their questions to be large and expanded instead of being diminished and eventually going away."


Our Carter Lake students are fortunate in the fact that as part of an IB education they will get a multitude of opportunities to ask questions that drive their learning. I know that we are in the early stages of learning how to foster student questioning, however student questions are starting to become part of the IB focus wall in our school as seen in the following examples. Below are the 5 ways Katrina Schwartz suggest will help students become better questioners.

What Opportunities Will You Provide Your Students For Questioning This Week?

Have a great week!