How do you investigate and explore your community?
Step 1: What is “our community?”
- Clearly define a “boundary” for community
- Use maps, definitions, interviews.
- Reflection: What do strong communities need?
- Earth Force (EF) - EF: page 27 ("Community Environmental Inventory")
Step 2: How might we find out what environmental issues exist in our community?
- Invite partners or experts from the defined community to come and talk to your class
- EF: page 48 ("Issue Selection")
- EF: page 38 (table "Conducting an Inventory")
- EF: page 39 (chart: "Comparing Inventory Methods")
Step 3: Investigate and Explore the community!
Field-based Inquiry Education Guide
- What questions can I investigate? EF: page 76 ("Burning Questions")
- What do we do now? EF: page 102 ("Defining a Course of Action") and EF: page 104 ("Examples of Strategies for Change")
Step 4: What did you discover in your community’s environment?
- Compare strengths and weaknesses
Five Basic Types of Questions
All educators, no matter what level, need to be able to craft and create at least 5 basic types of questions. -Leslie Owen Wilson
and if you love research:
(Develop the following into a self-graded quiz)
How does your Questioning behavior rate?
- How often do you challenge students by asking questions that arouse their curiosity? Do you make them want to know more?
- How often do you use questions to establish a foundation for new work?
- To what extent do your questions encourage students to listen to each others' responses, opinions?
- How do your questions help reveal or clear up misconceptions?
- To what extent do your questions verify the degree of comprehension of your students?
- To what extent do your questions promote self-evaluation by your students?
- To what extent do your questions ask students to interpret, to analyze, to think critically, to see relationships, or to judge?
- Does your question asking regime help build class rapport?
- Do you ask questions to discover special interests of your students?
- Does your question asking regime help students to feel that each one has something positive to contribute to the class?
- To what extent do you pre-plan key questions you want to ask during the lesson?
- To what extent do you consider possible responses to these key questions and strategies to use in the event that something goes astray?
- To what extent do your questions call for students to think for themselves?
- Do you ask a variety of questions— recall vs. thought questions?
- Do you get all students involved in class discussions?
- Do you distribute your questions both to students who volunteer to answer and to those who do not?
- Do you distribute your questions in a widespread fashion rather than limiting them to one group of students or one part of the room?
- Do students speak to each other when responding or only to you?
- Do you wait a reasonable time for students to think about their responses before calling on them or permitting them to speak?
- Do you accept student responses in a neutral manner or do you use verbal rewards (Good! Fine idea! Great!) or sanctions (No! Wrong!)?
- Do you consistently repeat students’ responses?
- Do you encourage your students to ask questions?
A Simple, Effective Approach
Most of us have been exposed to the questioning strategies researched by Mary Budd Rowe, Wait Time: Slowing Down May Be A Way of Speeding Up
Creative teachers accompany this technique with a system to make sure that every child gets to answer questions in a random fashion. If it is not random, then once they answer a question, they think they have answered their one question and are done for the day. I did some online research on questioning and found these questioning and discussion resources from UMDMJ useful.
So, if we are not planning to use total physical response (TPR) to have all the students answer questions at the same time, then at least we should be asking a question, pausing for three seconds and then saying a student's name in order to get the most effect out of questions. However, if we are satisfied with only some students paying attention and learning in our classrooms, then we can continue as usual.