Students Can Ask Themselves These Questions Before, During, And After Teaching
by Terry Heick
Are there questions students can ask themselves while you’re teaching? Questions that can guide and support their own thinking and awareness before, during, and after your teaching?
Of course, this assumes you’re ‘teaching’ a traditional ‘lesson’ with a learning objective or target. If not, this may not be very helpful. This is also a list that, like many I’ve done, could get unnecessarily long fast. In some ways, this functions something like a KWL chart. The idea here, however, is less about brainstorming before or after a lesson, but rather having questions useful to guide the student so they can know what to expect.
A few tips to get started:
There are way, way too many questions here to be usefully packaged as they are. Cherry-pick which of these are helpful and add others you think could be useful.
You’ll likely need to reword them for the students you teach. I absolutely would not simply hand them to students and hope they ‘figure it out.’
You might consider scaffolding or front-loading them early in the year for the pay-off later in the year
You could also consider differentiating them–assigning specific questions to specific students at specific times based on what you think might help
You could model answers or do think-alouds so students understand how and why to use them
Make the questions work for your students rather than the other way around
Have students that ‘get it’ more quickly than others share some of their responses so students can benefit from hearing thinking in ‘student-friendly’ language
75 Questions Students Can Ask Themselves Before, During, And After Teaching
Before Teaching & Learning
1. What’s being learned?
What’s the topic? Now, what exactly is being learned within that topic?
What does it seem like the teacher wants us to focus on? What are they emphasizing?
Is this is a concept, competency, or skill? Something else? Is it specific, like a skill, or vague like a concept or idea?
Is this review of something we’ve already learned, extending previous learning, or new learning?
2. What seems most important about what’s being learned?
At first glance, what’s the ‘big idea’ of what’s being learned?
What is the teacher explicitly stating is important? What are they implying is important?
What about this can help me grow as a person?
If I only learn one thing from this lesson, what should it be?
3. What do I already know and not know about this?
How does what’s being learned fit into what I already know?
What other ‘things’ (content areas, real-world thinking and jobs, etc.) is this connected to?
Where have I seen this or something like it before (inside and/or outside of the classroom)?
What do others seem to know about this or ‘things’ like it?
4. Why is this important?
Why is learning this important?
What is the value of this to me as a person?
How do others use this ‘in the real world’ and how might that change how I approach the lesson or activity?
How do I think I might use this is in my daily life?
5. What is my role in learning this?
What do I need to be prepared (knowledge, vocab, materials, schedule, etc.)? What resources will be available to me?
What mindset will benefit me the most?
How can I use my strengths to learn this?
What do I need to do in order to learn this? What happens if I don’t?
During Teaching & Learning?
1. What’s going on?
What’s going well?
What makes sense?
2. What seems most important?
What’s being emphasized?
SNCC: What’s simple? What’s new? What’s confusing? What’s complex?
How can I separate what’s ‘new,’ what’s ‘confusing,’ and what’s actually ‘complex’ and not confuse the three?
How could I concept what’s being learned to indicate a hierarchy or priority?
3. What am I doing to help me learn?
What specific questions do I have?
How can I document questions and/or the most important ideas for future reference? Visual notes? Combination notes? Do I know how to take Cornell Notes? Record the audio? Simply ‘pay attention’ and ‘do the work’?
When learning this, what are others doing (or what have others done in the past)?
What observable ‘things’ should I be ‘doing’ or not doing to help me learn?
4. What is my mind doing?
How is it helping me or could it be better help me? Where is my attention as I learn?
Where do I need curiosity? Self-discipline? Enthusiasm? Patience? An open mind?
What’s my mindset–has it changed since the beginning of the lesson?
What am I thinking or feeling and how it is affecting my learning?
5. What is this connected to?
What does this remind me of? Where do others use this in the real world?
What patterns am I seeing?
What have I learned previously that can help me learn this and what do I think can or should be ‘taught’ next?
What do others seem to be learning?
After Teaching & Learning
1. How did that go?
What was most interesting?
What did I learn? Did I seem to learn what lesson was designed for me to learn? If not, what did I learn?
How might what I ‘missed’ affect me (in the classroom and in life)?
What do I still ‘need help’ with? Who can I talk to about the lesson to review key ideas or clarify misunderstandings?
2. What seems most important about what was learned?
What seems less important and what seems more important about what was learned? Or is this something where what was learned doesn’t have a clear hierarchy?
After the lesson, is what seems most important any different than how things seemed before and during the lesson? How and why?
What’s ‘less important’ about what was learned and how does it relate to what’s ‘most important’?
How does my life personally change the value of what was learned (and any hierarchy therein)?
3. What should I do with what I’ve learned and how should I respond to what I didn’t learn?
What should I do with what I learned and know?
Who should I ‘tell’ or share this with?
Who would care and/or benefit the most?
What will I be able to do with this?
4. Based on what we learned today, what might we learn tomorrow?
Where does what we’re learning seem to be ‘heading’?
When we’ve learned things like this in the past, what happens next?
What could I learn about this tomorrow with help? By myself?
What might someone who knows this better than I do ‘learn next’?
5. How have I been changed by what I’ve learned?
How do I feel about this content? Interested? Enthusiastic? Curious? Bored? Indifferent?
What’s different about me? Something new that I know? Something new that I can do? Is this a small change or a new way of seeing things? If the change seems useful to me or like ‘a good thing,’ what can I do to further, extend, or deepen that change?
How else could I learn this–maybe better?
How might I think of this learning in 40 days? 40 weeks? 40 months? 40 years?