Thursday, April 3, 2014

To ask or not to ask...that is the question.

I have been grading lesson plans designed by my early childhood curriculum class and I keep running into the same issue on many plans...either in the closure or transition section of their plans they are asking two simple questions that serve no purpose.  Can you guess those two questions?  Hmmmm....think about are the useless questions:

1.  Did you like the lesson?
2.  What was your favorite ________?

Here is why I do not think these are appropriate questions for preschool lessons.  First, these are closed ended questions that do not provide much information.  Ask a yes/no question and it gives the child the option of telling you that in fact, "no" he did not like your lesson.  Secondly, these questions do not attempt to gauge a child's understanding of concepts from the lesson.  Asking questions that cause a child to reflect on the activity would give you more information to determine the children's understanding of the lesson's target purpose.  If I ask a child about his or her favorite part of a lesson, I may find out that the sticking point was not my intended goal...which may be a good thing to find out...or I may find out that little Timmy's favorite color is blue and why do I need to know that? 

Here are some tips for asking questions that will yield more information:  

  • limit the amount of questions it isn't a game of 20 questions
  • provide time for the kiddos to answer
  • don't ask a question if you really do not need or want the answer
  • Types of questions
    • observation
    • reconstruction of previous experiences
    • relating cause and effect
    • prediction  
    • evaluation 
    • generalization
    • comparison 
    • discrimination
    • reasoning 
    • quantify
    • imaging something
    • proposing  alternatives
    • using  factual knowledge
    • decision making 
    • application 

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