Usually in this spot, you might expect to find a social studies relevant article I had cut and pasted into this blog. Typically, I do this action to keep up to date with the world around me and to encourage discussion about the topic at hand. However, something different popped into my head this morning.
While sipping coffee in bed and listening to sound of the rain on my concrete courtyard, I began reflecting on a news story I heard about Facebook and its use. Some of you who frequent my profile page on the social networking site note that I post news stories I find intriguing. Lately, you probably have also noticed that when I post these stories, I also post a list of questions. There are several observations that can be made about this article-and-questioning idea.
First, I pose questions because doing so catches my friends' attention. Seeing a controversial set of questions draws people in - everyone likes controversy. It's a similar phenomenon to our innate need to stare at a car accident on the highway - 'cyber-rubbernecking' if you will. Second, the list of questions invites the reader to click on the link and read. It motivates people to stay current with the important events of the day. Third, the list of questions makes the reader analyze and synthesize his/her own meaning from the information I post. The reader then creates a unique opinion and uses his/her critical thinking skills in doing so. Finally, posting questions with my articles on Facebook creates more interactivity and participation on my profile page - which is something from which I derive a bit of joy. By doing this activity, I am facilitating learning by questioning in my readers.
Using learning by questioning techniques on a social networking site allows me to also hone my questioning skills in the classroom as a practitioner of learning in younger people. Just as questioning gets the gears turning in our adult minds, so it does in the minds of adolescents who's opinions need to be heard. These young people are entering the stage of life where their cognition is transforming from the concrete into the abstract. They want to be heard and should be heard. But as a teacher, I need to give them the skills to make informed opinions about the world and events around them. Using questioning in discussions and written activities is the key to showing these young men and women how to arrive at analytical, informed, and creative ideas.
Questioning is the link to real and lasting learning. If you have young toddlers, you know their favorite question is 'why?'. In all honesty, 'why?' is the question we ask throughout our entire lives - and we never tire of asking it. This three-letter word is the gateway to a lifetime of discovery. So next time you hear a child ask, 'why?' don't ignore them - they are exhibiting a need inherent in all of us that must be fulfilled.
Have a great day!
ONLINE PORTFOLIO & ISSUES IN SOCIAL STUDIES EDUCATION
- Eric Joseph Nally
- Annandale, Virginia
- Social Studies teacher with 2 years experience as a substitute, 1 year as a student teacher, and 6 years of volunteer work in various roles. I specialize in differentiated instruction, data driven curriculum, and authentic assessment. A New York State certified teacher, I graduated from Fordham University with an MST degree and high accolades. Finally, I hold membership with Kappa Delta Pi and NCSS as well. It is my intention to grow student confidence and widen content knowledge for students of all backgrounds, cultures and abilities through modeling literacy comprehension, critical thinking and communication skills. I believe each and every student is a valuable asset to the learning community, capable of achieving academic success. I am able to lead these young people to such success. Please click on the links on the right to learn more. You can also email me at email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you.