Monday, April 26, 2010

#Mission Monday - Ask THAT Question

Happy #MissionMonday folks. I trust that you had a great weekend and that you are excited for another wonderful work week with your amazing students. For this week,  was trying to think of something good. I really wanted to focus on me and how I can grow as a teacher and a learner. I realized the only way that was going to happen was to do what my students do every day in my class.

Asking questions is how we learn. However, as teachers, we sometimes feel like we are not allowed to ask questions. As tech people in our respective buildings or districts, we are the ones that have to have the answers for everything. It might be a hardware issue or a software issues, but we are expected to have the answer and make everything work when asked. We can't be afraid to say, "I'm not sure. Can I get back to you on that one?" I love searching for the answers to problem I don't understand, but sometimes asking questions is the best and fastest way to learn something new.

Another part of asking questions I think people should think about is asking THAT question. Every district has rules as to why you cannot do this or that and we take many of them as they are and go about our teaching lives. We might not like these rules, but we accept them. Sometimes asking people, "Why?" is all that it takes to change the system. Some rules have been in place because of past management and new management has never thought about them because nobody asks. Forcing people to explain rules might actually make them realize the need to change those rules.

EX: I asked the powers at be if it would be possible to use Skype in my class in the near future. Now, we have so many filters in our district, I thought there was no way that it would be possible, but I decided to ask the question and see where it lead. I was surprised to find that it was something they are considering but were not sure of the interest. When I'm ready to try it, I just need to let them know and it will happen. A simple question might now open up Skype to other classrooms in the district because I asked THAT question.

Your #MissionMonday, if you choose to accept it, is to ask THAT question. It can be the question you have been afraid to ask your PLN about because it seems remedial or it can be a question about a policy you think is outdated and needs to be revisited. The world changes when questions ask. If teachers don't ask questions, how can we expect students to do the same?

13 comments:

  1. A really great post, I love your style of writing. Good on you for asking that question. And good on the powers that be for answering in the way they did. I also agree that we are often afraid to ask certain questions as we may look foolish. That could be why some teachers resist web2.0 as they feel they would have to ask too many questions.

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  2. Great Job Nick! Keep posting away!

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  3. I always love your posts! Often people tell me to ask the questions they are afraid to ask because I am outspoken. I don't really understand the fear in asking. Who cares if you get told no? I would rather get told no than miss out on something great. Keep up the good work Nick!

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  10. Great post. We are doing questioning as a reading strategy right now and are discovering with the students that the questions that you ask yourself during reading just lead to more reading.. and as your post states, our questions lead to our learning and change... I'm thinking of "that" question for myself!

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  11. Such an awesome, honest, post.

    Coincidentally, I had a moment today when I wanted to ask THAT question...and didn't. Not the right forum, I thought. Now I am reading your blog and reflecting on whether I should have done it anyway. It was a "The system doesn't support A but it supports B (but if one really thinks about it, supporting A supports KIDS' learning and supporting B...doesn't)" scenario.

    The other thought I had is how many times can you be the mouthpiece for THAT question (THOSE questions?)and still be heard?

    Thanks for the post- it was great.

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  12. Fantastic mission! Teachers stop asking questions for the same reason students stop. We are afraid of looking stupid, afraid of hearing "no", afraid of losing control. It all comes down to fear, what is the best way to overcome fear? Ask THAT question and get it out there. Take that fear!

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  13. great post! I needed to hear that after a tough week debating the merits of student email within our system. I'm excited and looking forward to using it to enhance the classroom experience for my students.
    Unfortunately there are many teachers in our Board who are paralyzed by their unfamiliarity with the digital world. However, they don't realize this and instead raise objections about privacy or security or equity of access as reasons not to use technology.
    I like the idea of asking "Why?" or even "What is the value of that?" to create discussion and awareness of the real and perceived barriers to greater use of technology in the classroom.
    thanks!

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