After lunch, read the content on a natural critical learning environment and answer the question below
Questions play an essential role in the process of learning and modifying mental models.- Ken Bain.
Mental models are our assumptions about how the world works based on our experience, upbringing and temperament. They are our lenses or filters to see the world and often distort reality.
The key to creating a natural critical learning environment is asking questions.
- Questions are universal; they can be asked and answered anytime or anywhere.
- The best questions are the ones students ask and find interesting.
- Instructor’s guide learners to see how their questions are related to course outcomes.
- Teachers create lifelong learners when learners ask and answer their own questions.
- The tool or method use use is less important than the learning outcomes and the teacher’s attitude.
- Teachers who place students first can make any tool work through creativity and ingenuity.
- When students start asking questions, they are on the path to becoming lifelong learners.
When instructors attempt to “cover content” over “engaged thinking” they do not fully appreciate or understand the role of questions in teaching content. There is a deep misunderstanding about the significance of questions in the learning (and thinking) process. In fact every textbook could be rewritten by translating statements into questions. Most instruction ignores questions by spoon feeding learners “answers.” When we teach by giving answers were are not teaching learners how to think critically. Critical thinking is not driven by answers but by questions.
The best online teachers have their learners develop their own questions and relate those questions to questions about the objectives/outcomes of the course.
Questions define tasks, express problems and describe issues. Answers on the other hand, often signal a full stop in thought. Only when an answer generates a further question does thought continue its life as such. This is why it is true that only students who have questions are really thinking and learning. Moreover, the quality of the questions students ask determines the quality of the thinking they are doing. It is possible to give students an examination on any subject by just asking them to list all of the questions that they have about a subject, including all questions generated by their first list of questions. That we do not test students by asking them to list questions and explain their significance is again evidence of the privileged status we give to answers isolated from questions. That is, we ask questions only to get thought-stopping answers, not to generate further questions.
Paul, R. and Elder, L. (October 1996). Foundation For Critical Thinking, Online at website: www.criticalthinking.org.
Divergent questions explore different possibilities, variations, and alternative answers or scenarios, and require learners to analyze, synthesize or evaluate knowledge, and project, or predict different outcomes (Wilson, 2002). Divergent questions generally stimulate creativity, and are used to investigate cause and effect relationships. Wilson points out that answers to divergent questions often have a wide variety of acceptability since they are subjective and based on the answers possibility or probability. Divergent questions often challenge learners to synthesize information through creative and original thinking. Divergent questions are used provide opportunities to expose learners to alternative possibilities, and new solutions presented by different learners.
Evaluative questions require comparative analysis from different perspectives before learners can synthesize information and reach conclusions. Evaluative questions usually require higher levels of cognitive and emotional judgment (Wilson, 2002). Evaluative questions promote critical thinking providing reflective opportunities. Learners evaluate issues by assessing, appraising, and defending information according to a set of criteria, and justification of their beliefs, and then reflect and gather resources to support their opinion. Discussions can often become intense and emotional, and facilitation is critical to prevent argumentative interactions.
According to The Foundation for Critical Thinking (n.d), the best known teaching strategy for promoting critical thinking is Socratic-questioning since it highlights the need for using clarity and logical consistency. Socratic-questions encourage critical thinking when learners look deeply into assumptions, points of views, perspectives, and evidence to analyze assumptions, and examine reasons, concepts and consequences. They help learners to understand the implications of what they discuss online. Socratic-questions ask learners to identify cause and effect relationships, probe by asking “so what”, and look for relevant responses (Stepien, 1999). They ask learners to clarify, look for meaning, and provide justification and evidence. Socratic-questions ask learners to consider and evaluate different paths.
The Socratic method works online. The dynamics are different but the approach is much the same: You challenge student thinking through a series of questions, probing their answers with more questions, and forcing them to justify or change their assumptions.
Thinking is Driven Questions
To think through or rethink anything, one must ask questions that stimulate thought. Questions define tasks, express problems and delineate issues. Answers on the other hand, often signal a full stop in thought. Only when an answer generates a further question does thought continue its life. This is why you are thinking and learning only when you have questions.
Make A Socratic Discussion
One of the best ways to prepare to lead a Socratic discussion is by pre-thinking the main question to be discussed using the approach of developing prior questions. Prior questions are questions presupposed by another question. Hence, to settle the question “What is multi-culturalism?” I should be able to first settle the question, “What is culture?” and, to settle that question, I should be able to settle the question “What is the basis of culture?” that is, “What are the factors about a person which determine what culture he/she belongs to?”…
Most instruction ignores questions by spoon feeding learners “answers.” When we teach by giving answers were are not teaching learners how to think critically.
Example- Online Socratic Seminar Guidelines
Make A Socratic Discussion
A “Make,” is any project or work where you create something. The idea comes from Connected Learning which emphasize creating and production-centered learning.
Pause often, relax and take two mindful breaths. Be quiet for 5 to 10 minutes before you begin to create your make.
This week, you will create a socratic discussion using UH Google docs or from your personal google docs account.
Make It Tool Help
Badged – Socratic Discussion