2 Replies Latest reply on 25-May-2017 8:16 AM by derrick.schellenberg

    Part Three: Question #3


      Trevor tells us that building essential questions is a non-negotiable part of the inquiry process in his classroom. Are your units of study or assignments built on essential questions? How might you tweak your favourite unit by building essential questions? If you’re working on a unit while reading, please post some of your essential question work here.

        • Re: Part Three: Question #3

          I have never even considered having an essential question drive my inquiry, but I'm thinking that one of my tweaks might be to do that.

          One question has to be about context, as I ask students to explore the contexts of the book that they pick including:

          • when it was written
          • the reasons why the author would have written this book
          • the reasons why the author chose this protagonist to live the story
          • the setting of the book

          So maybe my essential question would be something like: How do the contexts of the book resonate with the reader?

          The other point I try to make is that everything is designed with purpose, form and audience.  I want the students to design their submissions for this unit based on those 3 ideas.  So maybe my essential question would be: How can the purpose, form and audience of your assignments enhance your connection with your book's context?

          What do you think, inquiry-lovers?  Can you help me tweak these?

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            • Re: Part Three: Question #3

              I like your thought process for the use of questions in inquiry. In the updated version of ENG4U on Desire2Learn there is an even heavier emphasis on the theories of literary criticism. Referring to those, these questions strike me as relating primarily to new historicism where context and "authorial intent" are at the forefront.


              We don't generate questions typically for the students to explore in our units, but have been attempting to generate questions to help guide us as teachers in what we want students to explore and discover as they progress through a unit.


              What we do is give the students the opportunity, whenever possible to generate their own questions, especially if they have chosen the text and topic. The hope is that these questions hook into their curiosity and drive them forward as they make connections beyond the text to their world, their lives, their research, and additional texts they are going to read, view, etc.


              Typically these questions would be open-ended, start with words like why, how, or what, and would not specifically reference a book, a character, a film, etc. A person who had not read or viewed a particular text could still comprehend the question and make their own connections to it as they grappled and inquired into possible responses (which we often frame as our thesis statements).

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