Teachers had tried ‘starting with the answer’ (e.g. deciding the question given a shape), the ‘odd one out’ and the range of answers. This had been successful for the foundation stage, exciting and enabled children to think of things teachers had not thought of. Children gave honest answers and were not inhibited by trying to give you the ‘right’ answer. Children’s speaking and listening skills had improved and linked well with talk partner skills (best introduced first). The questions were good for mathematics and helped improve vocabulary.
- The statement (Guy Fawkes was a good guy): children thought more deeply, raised excitement and gained confidence as there was no obvious right answer.
- Asking children ‘what makes a good listener?’, listing their ideas and modelling bad listening: deeper realisation of their own qualities.
- True or false (The moon is made of cheese): revealed children’s current understanding.
- The ‘odd one out’ was used for geometric shapes. Children used a growth mindset in their discussion, realising there were many different answers.
- The statement was used – these shapes are the same:which forced descriptive language regarding properties.
- The ‘silly question’ (chocolates door handles) needed a hint at first but led to good discussion.
- ‘True or false’ led to children first changing their minds according to what their peers thought, then they developed confidence to think for themselves.
- Starting from the end led to problem solving and transferring skills.
Brighton and Hove
One teacher had used the range of answers (What makes a plant grow?) and found it led to children wanting to test those elements they weren’t sure about, such as coca-cola.
Another used the statement (A tissue paper umbrella will keep the teddy dry) which promoted discussion. Teachers could see children’s thinking and notice misconceptions.
Using ‘the answer is….what is the question?’ resulted in all children engaged and checking each other’s responses.
All strategies promoted children’s understanding of what a question is and gave them freedom because they realised there was not necessarily a right answer.
Brighton & Hove
Suzanne Morgan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Anne Vickers | email@example.com
Paul Wilson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Parry | email@example.com