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Use open questions rather than closed questions to elicit abstract thinking skills
e.g: Is Iago or Othello responsible for Othello’s downfall?
e.g: Was the fall of communism in Eastern Europe the end of history as Francis Fukyama proclaimed?
Designing questions to generate discussion
Change the question into a statement:
e.g: Instead of asking: “Who was most responsible for the Irish Civil War?”
Make a statement: “DeValera was responsible for the Irish Civil War.”
Invert the question: Demands reasoning.
e.g: “Is Ireland a republic?”
Change to: “What does it mean for a country to become a republic?”
Start your questions with “why?” or “how?”
Instead of asking: “What is a prime number?”
Try: “Why is 7 prime and 9 composite?”
Instead of asking: “What was life like under the Taliban in Afghanistan?”
Try: How were the lives of men and women different under the Taliban in Afghanistan?”
For a real time test on common river terms.
Each student is given laminated cards labelled A, B, C, and D. Terms and definitions are written on the board. Teacher asks students to match the definition to the term using the cards.
A Confluence 1. The land area from which a river and its tributaries drain water.
B Estuary 2. A small stream or river that joins up with a larger one.
C Tributary 3. The part of the mouth that is tidal.
D Basin 4. The point at which the tributary joins the river.
Index cards given at the end of class and handed to the teacher as the students leave the class room.
This allows the teacher to assess student’s learning of the day’s lesson.
Science: “What is the function of the nucleus in a cell?”
Students reflect on what they have learned in the lesson and then respond to no more than three of the following prompts:
- Today I learned…
- I was surprised by…
- The most useful thing I will take from this is…
- I was interested in…
- What I liked most about this lesson is…
- One thing I’m not sure about is…
- The main thing I want to find out more about is…
- After this session I feel…
- I might have gotten more from this if…
Dylan Wiliam 2011 Embedded Formative Assessment
Generating Test Questions
Have students create their own test questions and answers. This allows teachers to see what the students think they have been learning.
At points when teachers want to know that the students are understanding the concepts or theories being taught they ask a question.
Students hold up a red, green, or amber disc to show their understanding.
At the end of class students write the most significant thing they learned in the lesson.
Three Questions: When reading a students work and seeing something the student should reflect on or re-address the teacher places a numbered circle at that point.
At the end of the paper the teacher writes a question related to the first numbered point and leaves a number of lines for the student to respond. The teacher repeats for the second and third points.
The first 10-15 minutes of the following class is spent allowing
the students to respond to the feedback.
Ask the students to spot their own mistakes: This can be very effective in a subject like maths. Rather than marking the incorrect problems with a circle or an x, give the test back to the student and say, “Three of these are wrong; you need to find them and fix them”
This technique can also be used for written assignments. For instance, in English you could simply place a circle in the margin of each line that needs more attention. For less able students the teacher could put a p in the circle for an error in grammar, PT for poetry term etc…