Teacher Questions for Reflecting on #PhysEd Understandings

The questions we ask our students and the answers they give play an important role in assessing student understanding and learning in our #PhysEd programs.
Good teacher questions enable us to assess prior and changing student knowledge, give students the ability to demonstrate complex strategic understanding in a games or how they can transfer their knowledge and skills across sports.

In my eyes, and the eyes of many, Kath Murdoch (@kjinquiry) has been the authoritative figure in inquiry based education for some time now. The best thing about Kath is her emergence on Twitter as not only a source of invaluable information, but someone who is openly willing to share her knowledge and experience with teachers all around the world. Through connecting with her in a #pypchat recently I was able to collaborate with her in adapting her "Phases of Inquiry" for physical educators.

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This Teacher Questions for Reflecting on #PhysEd Understandings resource provides Physical Educators with some key questions which they can ask throughout a lesson or unit to encourage deeper student thinking about their learning and the changes in their understandings.

Throughout these phases questions are designed to do the following:

Students begin by thinking about their prior knowledge and understandings as well as what they need to know and what they would like to find out to deepen their understanding.
Students develop strategies for how they are going to move forward with their understandings and what resources they will need to do this. In this phase students will actively be taking part in activities and gathering information through self, peer and teacher feedback.
Students will reflect on their learning to date and begin to refocus their questions now that their understandings have changed, developing new questions to deepen their understanding further.
Students will continue to inquire into ways they can improve their understanding and knowledge working together and individually to demonstrate their current understandings.
Approaching the end of the unit/lesson students will reflect on the overall learning process and express their new knowledge and understandings. They will evaluate their performances and identify strengths and weaknesses.
Students will explore ways to take their new knowledge and understanding and transfer it to other sports/games as well as sharing highlights of their learning with their community (portfolio pieces).

Asking good questions is always important as an educator. They say "ask a stupid questions and you'll get a stupid answer" and this is never truer than in education. As progressive educators we need to challenge students with deep open ended questions which enable them to be the masters of their own learning destiny. The questions we ask merely facilitate them in their learning journey, guiding them down a path of self discovery and enabling them to be truly great inquirers.

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  1. coming up with good questions is sometimes a challenge. however, if you can question things even in the midst of a game that deal with strategy, teamwork, etc….. then you can hopefully avoid stupid answers with more targeted questions.

  2. The graphic organizer created/used for this article is the standout information. It truly helps to bring the point a view into focus. I plan to use and share this organizer with other fellow physical education teachers. Having this graphic next to me while I make lesson plans will make the questioning portion of my plans smooth and direct.

  3. I get nailed on questioning on every observation. I like these examples of questioning. The example I like most is asking the kids how they can share their knowledge on the concepts that they learned. I always imagine my students going home and practicing on the skills we teach them, but asking them to take it a step further and share with a little brother, sister, or cousin is something I never thought of asking them to do.

  4. Checking for understanding/questioning continuously throughout the lesson is key when ensuring students are “on the right track.” I really like the “going further” questions that are presented in the Phases of Inquiry. Allowing students to work together to learn and/or improve their understanding of a skill can be very effective if executed correctly.
    The reflection phase falls perfectly under lesson closure; having students evaluate what they did well/what needs improvement allows them to self reflect in order to improve on that skill the next time.