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  1. Focused ConversationPromoting Deeper Understanding through the Use of QuestionsJuly 4-5, 2007 Judi Kokis, Carmen Maggisano, David Cameron, Barnabas Emenogu

  2. Session Outline • Context • Methods • Constructing Questions • Video clips and Role Play • Wrap up

  3. Context Grounding Your Personal Experience Activity

  4. Context cont’d … The purpose of questioning within school improvement processes • A participatory construction of knowledge • Promoting a culture of inquiry • Requires active listening • Move from just interrogating to coaching

  5. Learning within Organizations • Change requires constant learning and re-learning • The key to learning is that individuals and small groups in the organization are constantly transforming raw experience into insight and a transformed personal style • It is at this juncture that the focused inquiry can enable groups to reflect on • what has been happening • what went well or poorly, and • why it went the way that it did

  6. Exploring Two Methods of Questioning • The Focused Conversation Method • Data (facts) • Reflection • Interpretation • Decision • A Taxonomy of Higher Order Thinking-Questioning • Moving from concrete to abstract to concrete 3. Practice

  7. References … The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace. (2000) (Ed.) Brian Stanfield for The Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs. New Society Publishers. Robert Marzano & John Kendall. (2007) The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Corwin Press Differentiating Instruction. DVD. (2006) The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat. Ontario Ministry of Education.

  8. Focused Conversation Method • Purpose – to explore a style of participatory reflection as an inquirer, who comes at a topic with an open mind looking for a creative or viable option, or the facts of a particular matter – trying to open new ground or get a new take on an “ established truth”. • In your day to day work:  • What are the main issues you face? • What seems to block you in dealing with those issues? • What do you see as the next steps you need to take?

  9. Parallel Thinking … “… a good conversation employs a kind of parallel thinking where ideas are laid down alongside each other, without any interaction between the contributions. There is no clash, no dispute, no true/false judgement. There is instead a genuine exploration of the subject from which conclusions and decisions may then be derived.” (de Bono, Parallel Thinking, p. 36)

  10. Asking Questions • Teacher leaders facilitate questioning, visioning and problem-solving • The participatory principle requires the art of asking questions to get at: • Deep information • Insightful behaviour • Productive change

  11. Day to Day Work … • Concepts of dynamic learning within schools as small groups or in pairs • Importance of understanding the position which you occupy • Perspective is important to consider: We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.

  12. Methodology of Real Participation • What would happen if a conversation were orchestrated so that it focused for ½ hour on one topic? • A Four Stage Process: • Objective – questions about facts • Reflective - questions to call forth immediate personal reaction to the data • Interpretive – questions to draw out meaning • Decisional – questions to elicit resolution

  13. A few examples … Objective Questions Reflective Questions Interpretive Questions Decisional Questions

  14. Statements for Questioning Task Students respond to instructional strategies in your classroom or school … Facts: Describe the instructional strategies you used today. Reflection: Which instructional strategies worked well and didn’t work well? Interpretation: Why did the specific strategies work better than other specific strategies? Decision: What things do you need to do in order to increase the benefit of the instructional strategies that you used in your lesson?

  15. Statements cont’d. • Student ownership of classroom rules • Implementation of learning blocks • Gradual release of responsibility • Using student data • Being culturally sensitive in the classroom • Demonstrating levels of performance • Scaffolding learning • Building higher order skills in program planning

  16. Activity • Recall an incident filled with tension • Write up a thumbnail sketch of the situation • Take turns asking your partner … • Start drawing out the facts • Articulate your reaction to the situation • Reflect on the situation and respond • Next steps

  17. Bloom’s Taxonomy: A Summary • According to Marzano and Kendall, the purpose of the taxonomy was to develop a codified system whereby educators could design learning objectives that have a hierarchical organization • Bloom’s Taxonomy outlines six levels of cognitive processes • Knowledge • Comprehension • Application • Analysis • Synthesis • Evaluation

  18. Theoretical Basis for a New Taxonomy According to Marzano and Kendall … • One of the problems in the approach taken by Bloom is that it attempted to use degrees of difficulty as the basis of the differences between levels of the taxonomy • This approach is problematic because of the well-established principle in psychology that even the most complex of processes can be learned at the level at which it is performed with little or no conscious effort • The difficulty of a mental process is a function of at least two factors: the inherent complexity of the process in terms of steps involved AND the level of familiarity one has with the process

  19. Knowledge in the Two Taxonomies Bloom’s Taxonomy New Taxonomy Evaluation Self-system Synthesis Metacognitive System Analysis Cognitive System Application Comprehension Knowledge Knowledge

  20. Student Creation of Classroom Rules Self-system: “How do you demonstrate that you value students’ input into the creation of classroom norms and rules?” Meta-cognitive: “What would you like to see happen when students are participating in making rules for the classroom?” Cognitive: “What specific content would you like students to contribute to the norms and rules of the classroom?”

  21. Statements for Questioning Task • Student ownership of classroom rules • Implementation of learning blocks • Gradual release of responsibility • Using student data • Being culturally sensitive in the classroom • Demonstrating levels of performance • Scaffolding learning • Building higher order skills in program planning

  22. Video Clips • Coaching Debrief 3 min. • Pair/Share Activity 3 min. • Organizing Ideas 3 min.

  23. Focused ConversationPromoting Deeper Understanding through the Use of Questions Wrap Up