Thought starters

  1. How do open-ended questions lead to more rigorous discussion?
  2. How do you balance what you let students discover themselves and what you draw their attention to in your questioning?
  3. What strategies does Ms. Kosoff use to encourage multiple interpretations?
9 Comments
This is great...I thought I had seen a longer segment of this class's discussion of "Lolita", where Sheila talked about preparing for the discussion, but I don't see it on teachingchannel anymore. Was it removed or am I just not seeing it!? Thanks!
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Hi Laura, You are correct. It was taken down for some extra editing. It should be back on the site soon.
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I like that the kids lead the discussion and their questions are kind of like a chain that leads to other ideas, questions, etc. I hope to begin this practice in my class this year and strive to ask more open-ended questions.
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It was great to see students being respectful, and entering into the conversation.Later the debrief with the other educators helped clarify and give positive feedback. Nice job.
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Inquiry Based Teaching (IBT) is a great learning method to be applied in the secondary class. IBT is a teaching approach that mandates teachers to create situations that positions learners as scientists. For students, this method is helping them to understand the material because it is associated with their experience and generate curiosity high. IBT can develop critical thinking in students and make students more an Independent. For Teachers, IBT can create opportunities for learners to learn how the mind works. That understanding can be used to create learning situations and facilitate them in gaining knowledge.
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Transcripts

  • WNET / UCH Urban Academy
    “Exploring Powerful Ideas Inquiry-Based Teaching: Discussing a Teacher’s Role”
    ASKING RIGOROUS QUESTIONS

    (in classroom)
    SHEILA KOSOFF:

    WNET / UCH Urban Academy
    “Exploring Powerful Ideas Inquiry-Based Teaching: Discussing a Teacher’s Role”
    ASKING RIGOROUS QUESTIONS

    (in classroom)
    SHEILA KOSOFF:
    So if we turn to page 146, this is when they go to the hotel. This is when they’re starting their journey, their cross-country journey through America, right? So it says, “Children welcome. Pets allowed. You are welcome. You are allowed.” So what do you guys think of that he sees her as a pet? Because you were saying that before, in part two, that he was a prey but he sees her as a pet. Lee?

    STUDENT:
    Yeah. He calls her his pet a lot throughout the book like “Oh my pet…”

    SHEILA KOSOFF:
    You guys have pets, right?

    STUDENTS:
    Yeah.

    (in roundtable)
    SHEILA KOSOFF:
    In book one of Lolita, they saw Humbert as this dynamic and interesting character, somebody they would want to befriend. (laughs) And they saw Lolita as the person who was in charge of everything and seducing him and so what I wanted them to do was focus on the language that he’s using to describe her and see what they make of it.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    I think the way you phrase the question is critical because you’re not- you’re saying, “What do you guys think of him using the word ‘pet’?” And, and that’s open to different interpretation. You’re not saying, “What does he mean by using the word ‘pet’?” which is sort of a conventional way of asking that question and I think, you know, we struggle with what’s an open-ended question that’s, that’s also a rigorous question.

    TERRY WEBER:
    It’s always an open-ended question.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    It should be an open-ended question.

    TERRY WEBER:
    There’s no particular answer. I mean, it’s like –

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    It should be a question that you can come out with- you can develop different answers to. You want to ask it in a way that it feels as if- it invites different interpretations.

    TERRY WEBER:
    But I think it also points out that- I mean, there’s so many times that kids read a paragraph and they recognize, they’ve seen all the worlds in it before so they read right through the paragraph and they have no idea what the paragraph said because they don’t know what these two words that they’ve seen before mean next to each other. So when you’re getting to the meat of things by saying- well the way Avram said you asked the question was so great because it allowed the kids to explore the different meaning of pet. And you even mentioned you guys have pets. (laughs) Right but it’s sort of explores that there’s more than, ‘How did you think it meant?’ or you know when you read it.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    That’s always raises an inter- That goes back to what we were talking about before which is that those are decisions that you have to make, right? You know, you make decisions about what are you gonna let them try to pull out themselves and where are you gonna draw their attention to something and, um, there’s always a balance I think you’re looking for, no?

    SHEILA KOSOFF:
    Right. And I also think that questions or that line of questioning helps students to develop papers because it helps them to think about how can I engage in this text? What kind of questions do I have and how can I go about, you know, sort of investigating this question?

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    Right and when they write you want them to feel some ownership of what they write.

    SHEILA KOSOFF:
    Exactly.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    They’re writing about a question that’s meaningful to them and the best of those questions come out of-

    SHEILA KOSOFF:
    Something that’s open-ended and class discussion.

    AVRAM BARLOWE:
    Class discussion yeah.

    *** TAPE END ***
    *** TRANSCRIPT END ***

School Details

Urban Academy Laboratory High School
317 East 67th Street
New York NY 10065
Population: 154

Data Provided By:

greatschools

Teachers

Sheila Kosoff
Avram Barlowe
Terry Weber
Adam Grumbach

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