Written by Jocelyn Van Vliet
Recently, a friend of mine who is considering applying for teaching jobs was talking about articulating a philosophy of education. It has been a long time since I sat down to think about this, so it got my mind turning. I started thinking about how my philosophy has changed as a result of my experience in both teaching and educational publishing.
Frankly, my philosophy has gotten much simpler. Quality education really boils down to learning to ask good questions. As educators, we need to ask questions that engage students in the content and encourage them to think about more than a memorized process. We need to avoid asking students 20 questions, and instead ask students fewer, higher-quality questions that challenge them to understand the concept behind the process and dig into the mathematics (or insert your preferred subject here).
This does not relieve educators of the responsibility to teach, nor does it disregard the need for procedures and basic skills. It simply calls us to challenge students to think more deeply and gain a stronger understanding of what they are learning. In addition, it provides a model for students who need to learn to ask their own questions that challenge the content or explore it deeper.
So what is it that makes a good question?