Unlocking potential through questioning is the first step in the quest for student “choice and voice.” Choice empowers students to make decisions about their own learning path; voice engages them in designing the learning environment. First, however, students need to become comfortable with expression — sharing their thoughts, ideas, learning, and questions. So I like to talk about student expression, choice, and voice. This post will focus on promoting student expression. Use the following three approaches to increase student expression as a first step toward greater student-driven learning through choice and voice.

I. Unlocking the Potential of Content

Newer, more robust standards have ushered in an era of understanding and application of content. It’s not enough to memorize information; information is only useful to us if we can use it in our lives. In order to apply learning, we have to understand it. We use Five Levels of Facilitation Questions to unlock the potential of content to make a difference in one’s life:

  • – Comprehension – a basic understanding of the content
  • – Application – the ability to use the content in another context
  • – Connection – how the content is evident in one’s life and personal experience
  • – Synthesis – using the information to create new information or solutions
  • – Metacognition – thinking about how one thinks about the content in the learning process

For a more in-depth look, visit MyQPortal and access the free content on five levels of facilitation questions; listen to my 9-minute podcast on this.

II. Unlocking the Potential of the Learner

Learning is a personal process that is affected by our past experiences, confidence, resourcefulness, and resilience. It is important for teachers to consider how a student feels about their learning process in order to unlock the potential of the learner through facilitation of learning. For example, if a learner is stuck and frustrated, chances are they will shut down. To avoid this, a masterful facilitator will provide direct instruction (e.g., the I do, we do, you do approach) to help the learner build confidence and move forward in the learning. If a student is stuck, but not frustrated, the facilitator will provide possible resources to support learning. If a student has succeeded at a particular learning goal, the facilitator will celebrate the success and then pose other questions to promote the next level of learning. At IDE Corp., we’ve created the Facilitation Roadmap to guide teachers in their role as facilitators.

For a more in-depth look, visit MyQPortal and access the free content on the Facilitation Roadmap; listen to my 11-minute podcast on this.

III. Unlocking the Potential of the Teacher/Facilitator

Teachers teach! But what does that mean? The days of long lesson delivery are gone, giving way to a realization of the need for greater, active facilitation on the part of teachers. How can teachers develop, as we like to say at IDE Corp., “Teachers’ Superpowers” to facilitate discussions? We recommend invoking four superpowers as students engage in discussions around content:

  • – Explorer – Ask questions that allow students to share information and ideas around the content, exploring it further
  • – Analyst – Ask questions that will promote deeper levels of thinking 
  • – Synthesizer – Clarify, summarize, and solidify the learning for the students
  • – Catalyst – Pose questions that will take them to the next challenge or thinking level

For a graphic organizer, visit MyQPortal and access the free content on teachers’ Using Our Superpowers; listen to my 10-minute podcast on this.

IDE Corp. provides on-site and remote consulting services in the areas of questioning, student choice and voice, and student-driven learning environments. EdQuiddity Inc provides online professional learning opportunities and resources in these areas developed by the consultants at IDE Corp., including online, self-paced professional learning experiences for full-faculty engagement, and five-week, online courses on key topics, including engagement with consultants and educators from other schools and districts.

For more information, reach out to us at solutions@idecorp.com.