Educators we are constantly asking questions: of our students, parents, and selves. But Alfie Kohn, a thought leader in education, feels that we might not always be asking the right questions.
He feels that many of the questions educators ask are based on incorrect assumptions. For example, teachers from time immemorial have asked the question, “How can we improve the quality of the curriculum?” but perhaps this question is missing a critical piece by assuming that teachers should be doing this for students rather than WITH them.
At LEADPrep we don’t make those kinds of assumptions! As a progressive micro-school, we focus on learning about students’ interests and how to involve them in deciding which topics of learning to pursue. We work together with students to decide not only WHAT they will learn, but HOW they will learn.
Teachers, parents, and students all work together at LEADPrep to create a curriculum that helps students learn what they need to know in the best manner possible for each student.
Mr. Kohn states: ”One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career is that the best way to respond to a question is not always to offer an answer. Sometimes one should linger on the question itself, asking what assumptions it conceals and what other questions it displaces.”
Another commonly asked question in education is, “Are we assigning the right amount of homework?” Our teachers know traditional hours of rote work at home isn’t beneficial, so we use the flipped learning framework. At LEAPPrep we have taken care of that question by asking another: “What are the lower level concepts we can send home in the pre-lesson to prepare students to create in class?” Students have little homework, as such, and have evenings free to hold jobs, pursue hobbies, or just relax with family and friends.
Asking questions is very important, not just for teachers but for students as well. It is important for all of us to be sure when we ask questions that we are asking the correct ones. Our questions need to be refined and adjusted to ensure that we are not forgetting critical steps, or allowing unrealistic assumptions to cloud the purpose or value of our questions.
Have you asked a good question today?