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Thursday, March 27, 2014


I recently read A Pedagogy of Questioning (G.I. Hannel, 2013).  

I chose the book because I've been on a personal journey for the last few years to improve both my listening skills and my proficiency in asking questions.

Hannel does a nice job of providing a structured framework for those of us who would use questions and inquiry to advance the learning of others.  Certainly, there are direct implications for those of us who are teachers by trade, but there are also some very applicable strategies for those of us who are in the business of helping others grow/learn in other kinds of settings - as leaders, parents, mentors, coaches, etc. 

My favorite quotation from the book:
“We believe that students are temporarily under-trained, not permanently under-brained; they are dormant, not dead.”  
What a refreshing way to think of malleable learners. 

As to specific structural strategies for asking questions, Hannel proposes a progression of sorts that moves along these lines:

  1. Ask questions that require finding/identifying relevant facts 
  2. Ask questions that require connections to be made between those facts 
  3. Require frequent and brief summaries
  4. Make inquiries that for the exploration of changes to the content 
  5. Require meta-summaries 
  6. Ask questions about actual test questions 
  7. Ask questions about answers to those test questions
Hannel stretched me with respect to my inquiry skills.  His book is a decent read (though not well-edited).

Reading it made me better, I think.  

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