Elsa would be so proud of the realization I had the other day in class. My students and I were discussing annotated bibliographies (ABs), specifically critical ABs, when one of my students began asking detail-oriented questions. As she was asking the questions, it occurred to me that she was missing some key information about ABs. This made me wonder how many of her peers were in the same spot. So I had all of my students compare a reference page and an annotated bibliography. This comparison then led to a discussion about various citation styles.
If I had not continued to follow my students’ line of questioning, then I would not have been able to clarify the expectations for my course, help them with understanding citation styles and why there are so many, or encourage more inquiry about ABs. Occasionally, we have to stop our agendas and lessons in order to make sure the students are all understanding the course pedagogy. I believe that my students got more out of that lesson than many other lessons because their questions guided the discussion and they felt encouraged and supported. It’s ok to let go and allow curiosity from the students to be the focus of the lesson.