Day 174: A More Beautiful Question

I’d say over the past 10 years, I have been reflecting about and trying to improve my questioning techniques with my students.  It seems to be a common thread in much of my lens as I plan each year, attend PD and read.  I have noticed over the years that my questioning is getting better (although it’s got a long way to go…will I every be a master questioner?!).  a more beautiful questionI bring this up because over the last year as I became a proficient Twitter user, I saw lots of tweets about teacher and student questions in the classroom and references to blogs about classrooms where math curriculum is explored through student questions.  This was a new twist on questioning that has sparked my interest.

One book (and author) that seems to be referenced often is A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.  I decided I wanted find out for myself what the big hoopla was all about!  I added it to my list of books for my summer reading.  I ordered it and some others through Amazon and it came yesterday!  Excitement!!  I began to read just the beginning and I ended up reading two chapters.  And I need you to know that I don’t have that kind of time right now to be reading that much, but I just couldn’t put it down.

Here are some quotes I’ve already jotted down:

p.8 by Warren Berger giving the definition:

A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something – and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change.

p. 16 by Stuart Firestein on the potential of a good question:

One good question can give rise to several layers of answers, can inspire decades-long searches for solutions, can generate whole new fields of inquiry, and can prompt changes in entrenched thinking.  Answers, on the other hand, often end the process.

p. 23 by Tony Wagner, a Harvard education expert and Paul Bottino, a Harvard innovation expert on “expertise”:

Known answers are everywhere, and easily accessible.  The value of explicit information is dropping…the real value is in “what you do with that knowledge, in pursuit of a query.”

p. 18 by Stuart Firestein on questioning:

Questioning is a very sophisticated, high-level form of thinking.

And this particular quote got me wondering, if I value questioning and want my students to know that I value it, I must assess it.  Which led to me asking, How can I assess a “good” question?  What are the components of a “good” question?  How can I help my students grow their ability to ask those “good” questions?

What are some books you are planning to read this summer?  What is motivating your choices?  How do you anticipate using the gained knowledge in your practice?


Posted on June 6, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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