I was doing some research today on teaching kids questioning skills. I confess that I did not find the perfect resource, for there's quite the hodge-podge of references out there that will give an interested party a bunch of information on that topic. Also, the more I searched, the later in the day it became, and the more my thoughts got all meta-cognitive on me.
Can you really teach questioning strategies? I wondered. Don't authentic questions come from within?
Most of the websites I found were directed at teachers, but some seemed to have "business managers" as their main audience. That made me laugh a little. I free-associated to Steve Carell and The Office, and I imagined Michael using some of the "higher order questioning prompts inappropriately, as he would. For example: Synthesis-- "What would happen if you combined...?" (Regular viewers, you know you can fill in the blank.)
To be honest, that scenario wasn't much of a stretch, because I'd heard my own students asking ridiculous questions out of context last spring when the gifted contact teacher was in our room. She brought along a class set of flip-charts that had a series of question-starters based on Bloom's taxonomy. We directed the kids to use them to prepare for their weekly small-group literature discussion. How silly and stilted some of their conversations seemed, yet I kept listening for the break-through that would move the whole group to a higher intellectual order.
By June, I gave up, but I thought that if I started earlier this year, I might have more success. That was until today, when I questioned my questioning instruction, and I'm sorry to say that I haven't found any definitive answers (no worries: we all know that good questions don't have those), but I will continue this line of inquiry and report back, mostly because I really want to know.