Chapter 9 Reading Reflection

August 2, 2012 at 10:37 am | Posted in H2 | 3 Comments
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Chapter 9 is all about questions and the many different types and situations in which to use them.  Borich introduces us to divergent and convergent questions right away (p.300-302). The convergent version of a question is one that usually has one, or very few correct answers. When I think convergent, I am thinking about the lower level of Bloom’s Taxonomy where remembering and recalling facts is important. On the other hand we have divergent questions which are much more open-ended. It really should not have any one right answer, but it can have wrong answers. Don’t let your students get away with, or opt out as Dan would say in our classroom management class, by giving the wrong answer to divergent questions. In addition, divergent questions are a great tool to use when pushing your students to think on some of the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Thinking about Bloom, as we moved a little deeper into the chapter, we find that the same general question can be rephrased slightly to meet each of the six different tiers within his taxonomy (p.304-310). I have personally marked this section of the book to review later. There are great verbs listed at every tier, from knowledge all the way up to evaluation. I might even scan these into my computer to print out a list or throw on my phone. At this point in our teaching careers, I believe these examples will be very useful as we shift from on campus to being in the schools.

Another big topic that stuck out for me was the use of probes. Probes are responses to student answers that are designed for a specific purpose. The three types of probes are eliciting, soliciting, and redirecting (p.310-312). When you want to get clarification from a student, you would then use an eliciting probe. Maybe you want more information, or maybe you just want the student to rephrase his/her response so it makes sense. There are also times when the student is correct but you want to push them to a higher level of thinking. For those times, you use a soliciting probe. This one seems especially powerful to me because you push your students out of their comfort zones by forcing them to think creatively. And finally, if things are getting a little off-track, you can use a redirecting probe. This basically means finding a way to refocus a student’s attention without having to use phrases that might make them feel like they failed. Being able to use all three different probes at the right times will certainly keep discussions going smoothly and help push kids to think critically about the topic at hand.

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  1. Travis,

    I liked your focus on probes. Do you think you will use this frequently with math students to get some level of interaction, even during direct instruction lessons? Seems like it is a widely applicable technique. I also liked the idea of scanning in the verbs from Bloom’s taxonomy so they are always at the ready if you need to write a behavioral objective in the classroom. Do you think you would ask more divergent or convergent questions in math classes?

    Jeff

    • It is hard to say at this point. My prediction would be convergent but as I get more comfortable with my time management I can see using a balance of convergent and divergent questions.

  2. I think you did a good job of illustrating the difference in questions and their place in Bloom’s. Since indirect teaching tends to reflect higher levels, do you think you can have divergent questions that have a single answer? Would that just be a convergent question asked in a divergent structure? Or would it allow student’s to use higher levels of Bloom’s in coming up with the single answer? Would the time that it takes for students to come up with the correct answer be worth the difference in time that it takes for convergent questions?

    I think that all of this will get better with experience and reflection. I love the idea of probing and scaffolding questions, but I have little idea how to utilize them in a classroom from the text.


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