Teaching in Beijing

After the first day of classes, Chinese teachers identified what they were hoping to get out of the SABEH training program. Many teachers identified the need for students (and themselves) to write better questions to learn about a topic more deeply. To address this need, we worked through the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) as a group. The QFT creates an opportunity for critical thinking by providing a protocol around collaboration and questions. Using an image, Chinese teachers worked in groups to generate as many questions as possible. Afterwards, teachers identified questions as either “open” or “closed.” We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each type of question. Teachers were insightful, noting that while closed questions do not often lead to deeper thinking, they are still useful to check for understanding, as well as making sure that students have the same baseline of knowledge before engaging in a particular activity. Then teachers did a gallery walk to see the questions other groups wrote, before changing one open question to closed, and one closed question to open. Teachers then prioritized their top three questions, then had to defend their choice in front of the class. The final two steps of the protocol involve considering what students could do with their newly generated questions, and reflect. Ultimately, the teachers left the lesson with deeper questions and a sense of ownership over their learning, and reported that they plan on using this strategy with their students.

Best, Rob

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