Asking Effective Questions

Elicit thought and reflection by asking effective questions when you interact with students during lab.

The Tipping Point: Encouraging Inclusive Participation Through Productive Failure in a Highly Diverse Student Setting

by Sandile Hlatshwayo, Economics
There are several benefits to this warm-up approach. Primarily… students who must first attempt to solve problems with very little instruction tend to learn the concepts better once they are given formal instruction. Second, students experience less fear over offering incorrect answers as making public errors becomes a normalized part of the classroom experience. Finally, and centrally, students that tend to be non-participators participate…

Achieving Widespread Participation through Evidence-Based Classroom Discourse

by Elise Piazza, Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (Home Department: Vision Science)
On my first day as a graduate student instructor for Introduction to Cognitive Science, I noticed that participation was limited to a few students, while the rest sat silently, either intimidated or bored…As an experimental psychologist, I decided to introduce my scientific approach to teaching by turning our discussion section into an experiment.

‘Is This Right?’ Building Confidence in Scientific Reasoning

by Francesca Fornasini, Astronomy
I realized that they had little or no confidence in their answers and that they did not have any strategies for assessing the reasonableness of their solutions. Therefore, I tried to incorporate into my discussion sections a variety of strategies to help my students test the reasonableness of their answers.

Dispelling the Fear of Proofs

by Ari Nieh, Mathematics
The homework problems that generated the most confusion among my students were not particularly long, complicated, or computationally arduous; rather, the difficult problems were the ones which involved formulating a rigorous argument. Faced with any problem that used the word “prove” or “show,” the class was unsure how to get started.

Becoming a Better Socrates

by Benjamin Yost, Rhetoric
Grappling with divergent understandings of a text is a highlight of the class, but for many students is also fraught with uncertainty and confusion…When they occur, I slow down the discussion, and remind students that different interpretations are not signs of hopeless undecidability, but reveal that arguments work only on the basis of particular assumptions.

When Wrong is All Right

by Gautam Borooah, Mathematics
Since mathematics in books is (almost) always correct and students’ work is often wrong, they think that they cannot produce “real” mathematics. They are so afraid of coming up with a wrong idea that they do not articulate any ideas at all: they are too afraid to try.

An Example of the Use of Frameworks in Skills-Based Learning

by Terry O’Brien, Integrative Biology
In my experience, no matter how much students practice…skills, few are able to develop a clear conceptual matrix for those skills without significant guidance from the instructor. A direct approach to this problem means that the instructor first provides students with the scaffolding of concepts for each skill.