As part of the module practical teaching programme, I have been helping out in the homework club of an inner city primary school, one hour per week for the past twelve weeks. All in all I think I it was a very interesting experience and very beneficial in terms of my learning as a teacher. I had a number of valuable experiences and below are two of the most important in my opinion.
Reflection 1: Critical Incidence of Learning 1
On one of my first days of school placement I learned the importance of teachers having good questioning skills. I was helping out one afternoon when a young child, pulled out the chair of a classmate as he was about to sit down and the student fell on the floor. It was quite a dramatic incident and I was very impressed by the way the teacher used questioning to deal with the wrongdoer and make him think about his actions and see the error of his ways using leading questions without getting angry and shouting at the child. The teacher’s conversation with the student, who for privacy reason’s we’ll call John, went something like this.
Teacher: “John, do you see anything wrong with what you just did there to Paddy?” John: “Yes” Teacher: “Do you think that is a suitable way to behave in the classroom?” John: “No” Teacher: “Why, what is dangerous about what you did?” John: “Because Paddy could have got hurt” Teacher: “How would you feel if someone had done that to you? Do you think you would like it?” John: “No” Teacher: “So do you think you will do it again John?” John: “No” Teacher: “What do you think you should say now to Paddy?” John: “I’m sorry”
John’s repentance shows that he has realised that his behaviour was wrong and it was through the teacher’s questioning that he learned this.
Questioning is one of the key skills of the effective teacher. In fact, ‘many experts on education, including many experienced and effective teachers, consider verbal questioning to be one of the teacher’s most potent tools.’ (Petty, 2009, p.190) Questioning is used in the classroom for a wide variety of reasons, such as encouraging students to...