Teaching Tips

Spoiler alert: No spoilers

Recently I was team teaching with a colleague.  Following a question she presented to the group, I asked her a clarifying question to help me define what she wanted.  She replied something along the lines that it was up to the students to interpret the question and that she wanted to see the various interpretations.  It wasn’t until I was thinking about her response a little later that I realized I often ask my students a question and then ask them a few more questions to help them answer my first question.  This made me aware that the more questions I ask to provide them with context, the more I am inadvertently guiding their answers.  Why don’t I just ask them the question and see where it takes them?  


Even in this blog, I find that I want to ask some follow up questions, so now I realize I want to build in some thinking moments. 


Ok, so I realized that the reason I ask follow up questions is that I think about how I learn and recognize that I want to make sure I’m doing it “right.”  So that means I have asked my peers and teachers questions to make sure I’m going to provide them with an answer that is “right” or acceptable to them.  BUT—isn’t that exactly what I do not want my students to do?  I do not want them to learn for me or to make sure they are “getting it right.”  I want to empower the students to answer questions with what they feel is the answer. I want them to think independently from me.  This allows them to take their thinking in a different direction and possibly deeper.  In the future, I’m going to work on not providing additional parameters to my real question with something I call “spoiler” questions.  What are your thoughts about this post? 🙂 

One thought on “Spoiler alert: No spoilers

  1. I run into the same line thinking when I consider the objectives I write up at the beginning of class. For some learners, it’s helpful to give direction and focus (they need it). For other learners, the guidance can feel stifling and be a little bit of a roadblock. I wonder if I could put the objectives under a sheet of paper that students could choose to peek at or not 🙂

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