Curiouser and curiouser

12th October 2018 at 00:00

“I wasn’t sure the students knew the answers to your questions,” I was once told in lesson-observation feedback. “It was like they were… grappling.”

“Isn’t the word ‘grapple’ in the Ofsted descriptor for outstanding?” I asked.

It was. And it still is there in the handbook.

For me, alarm bells are triggered when I see a classroom full of confident hands thrust up into the air.

At that point, you have found the lowest common denominator, removed all challenge, and reinforced that certainty is desirable.

I have a fantasy of a classroom culture where curiosity and uncertainty are kindled into a blaze.

Wouldn’t it be great if we trained our students to use questions more effectively?

Picture the moment as you explain a concept and you’re interrupted by a barrage:

“What is the counter argument?”

“Can you give me an example?”

“How do you feel about this?”

Our students should be unselfconscious about the deeper questions that motivate their learning:

What can I do to make the world a better place?

Will we ever achieve interstellar travel?

Can stories help explain how I feel?

If our learners don’t have those questions, then something has gone very wrong because, somewhere in their past, they did.

Andrew Otty leads 16-19 English in an FE college. He is an ambassador for SHINE

 

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now