Recently, when interviewed by an outsider around the theme of student's questioning, she quietly and reflectively shared some regrets. She explained that concepts in her class were taught in many different ways over and over which helped with her understanding. “My teacher goes over stuff again and again so I don’t need to ask questions. The questions are answered before I ask them.” She continued almost to herself, “I enjoy asking questions before I’m told the answer.” It was interesting to note that a Year 5 student participating in the discussion recognised the power of problem posing stating, “Sometimes asking the question can provide a prompt to answering your own question.”
In an age emphasising explicit teaching, demanding curriculum outcomes and a time when 'learning intentions' are clearly and unequivocally prescribed on a whiteboard prior to the lesson, it is easy to loose sight of the significance of student led learning. Rothstein (2011) of The RIght Question Institute describe empowering people to ask questions as fundamental to democracy.
Over this break I'll do some thinking. I'll be asking myself a few questions and be sure to head into the new year with some ideas about shaping a democratic community of students who are empowered and provided with opportunity to ask their own questions as a starting place for enriched learning.