Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘answer

Much of schooling is still about expecting one process and a model answer. Just like the question above.

It does not forgive alternatives even though they might be based on reality. Just like the answer to the question above.

Schooling is about making students provide the correct answers. Education is about developing learners who can generate more than one answer.

This is not about creating a false dichotomy because we need both. The problem is not recognising when we need each and how much of it is needed.

This is my fourth image quote update for the week:

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself. -- Lord Alexander.

My original image quotable quote was:

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself. -- Lord Alexander.

All this is to say that we should pursue answers by seeking meaningful and powerful questions first. While this might seem intuitive, we sometimes forget to do this in schooling — answers are provided before questions are asked; artificial solutions are given before authentic problems are identified.

The end of every semester gives me time to reflect. Even though I am no longer a full time faculty member, I do this because I am still an educator of future educators.

Most times I take notes — literally in macOS Notes — of what to do differently the next semester. This semester a conversation with one future faculty member reminded me to stay the course.

A graduate student I had just evaluated on student-centred pedagogy stayed back and asked me why I insisted that higher order thinking be challenged to and attempted by groups of learners.

The simple answer was the same as what that student recalled from workshop sessions — getting students to work with one another was more engaging. I did not give that answer because I know that empowerment is more effective than engagement.

I provided a broader answer. I replied that getting students to think deeply was important individually, particularly in a university context. However, we also have a civic responsibility to prepare students for the work place.

These are the same work places that have to deal with ill-structured problems. Often workers operate in teams or groups to find or devise solutions.

Universities have to play catch-up with the work place. Faculty who claim to prepare students for the work place need to operate accordingly. That is why higher order thinking, like peer teaching and cooperative learning, are critical.

To teach is the learn twice.

I helped that learner connect dots that he did not realise went that broad and that deep. I realise that I do not do this often enough. This reflection is a reminder for me to not just take these teachable moments, but also to make them.

I first reflected on what an unGoogleable question might be in December 2009.

I recall mentioning unGoogleable questions at a talk or two.

To make a long story short, this practice is about promoting higher order thinking with challenging questions. These type of questions could be discussed daily in class or used in high stakes online exams.

But here is is different type of unGoogleable question.

At the moment, you cannot find a definite answer if you Googled “What should you do if a dinosaur was about to eat you?” So technically, it is a question with an unGoogleable answer. However, short of conducting a thought experiment, it is a pointless question.

The boy’s answer is also not Googleable, nor can it be taught easily. But the critical and creative thinking behind that answer can be caught by learners who observe, adopt, and adapt the behaviours of educators who model such thinking.

So here is my unGoogleable question: How do we get more teachers who know how to ask and deal with unGoogleable questions of the non-dinosaur kind?


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