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Creating Inquiry Questions

Your question is critical. Get this right, and everything else is easy. So, some pointers are:

1. make it specific and measurable in some way

2. Include reference to the intervention you intend to use in the lesson(s)

3. Include a refence to the topic/class/purpose/goal.

Here's an example: I wanted to see if I could help my students write more informative paragraphs to show what they know about a topic. So, I gathered some examples of paragraphs others have written on the topic as my resource. My intervention centred on facilitating students doing a close analysis of the paragraphs by putting them into small groups with one paragraph each, and a set of targeted questions to answer about the text. To make it easy, the paragraph was in a big font, centred on a large piece of paper (A3) so there was lots of white space around it for adding notes to as they answered the questions  and interrogated the paragraph. Each group then demonstrated to the rest of the class what they had found out, using their own notes as a guide. After each group shared, we collated synthesised a list of things common to most of the texts. The idea was to see if they could create their knowledge about finding information linking to a topic sentence (ie statement/assertion/big idea), explanations (details about the big idea- definitions of terms, elaborated information to say more about the idea) and proof (examples, references to others' work/citation, anecdotes, evidence from research...).

This was a precursor to students writing their own parapgraphs about the current topic in class for formal assessment.  A short student voice survey asked them to provide feedback on whether they thought learning more about text type and format helped them know what to write themselves. This is using their perspectives to understand what the learning process was like. 

So: my Teaching as Inquiry question would look something like: If models of formal paragraphs are provided to students for interrogation, will their resulting knowledge about format and contents help them improve their own formal writing?


Use this format to create your own Teaching as Inquiry question:

If I use [insert relevant literacy tool/DIGITAL TOOL here] with [insert class level, subject, topic/focus here], to what extent does it help students learn?

In your lesson plan, you will need to add at least one deliberate means for collecting student feedback. In your summary report, include what questions you asked, how you deliberately collected the feedback, and quote examples of what students had to say. This is part of your evidence for analysis and reflection.

Some Examples of Questions
  • If I use a range of resources and strategies with my focus students, to what extent does it help students learn?
  • If I use Dragon Dictation with my reluctant writers, to what extent does it help students learn?
  • If I give my students the opportunities to self manage their learning, to what extent does it help students learn?
  • If I develop strategies to work with the parents of my focus students, to what extent does it help students learn?
  • How can I use blended elearning tools and strategies to engage reluctant writers in my target group (priority learners)?
  • How can peer coaching and podcasting be used to improve reading fluency for priority learners?
  • How can using an authentic audience improve engagement and achievement in retelling for my target group?
  • How can photos and photo apps be used to engage priority learners in collaborative writing?
  • How can my priority learners develop effective questioning when using Skype to connect with a Science expert in the community?
  • How can I get my priority students to review their progress in maths through blogging? 
  • So what’s getting in the way of those students making the kind of progress you want for them/would expect?
  • How do I cater for the diversity of learning needs of my students? (you may focus on the whole class, small groups of students or specific individuals within the range of learning levels)
  • How do I manage the behaviour of individuals or groups of students to ensure learning occurs? Within this area of inquiry you may want to focus on specific behaviours (e.g. when students are working in groups or when they are engaging in practical classes).