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GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: any level
"A highly developed art of intelligent questioning is a major reflector of learning. This questioning skill can only be developed if a child can be given a better reason for asking a question than to demonstrate his abysmal ignorance." (T. Manzo)
The teacher's prime objective when using Request is to guide the student through as many passages in a selection as are necessary for the student to comprehend the rest of the selection successfully. The idea is to provide guided practice for students in questioning, predicting, guessing and reducing uncertainty with a purpose. This questioning procedure 1) models good questions, 2) reinforces good questions, 3) gives a purpose to reading, 4) gets participants actively thinking while reading and 5) reinforces a variety (Taxonomy level) questions.
First assumption is that learning will occur if a learner attends to the learning task. "One fundamental fact we know is that one must attend to and think about learning tasks if one is to master them." (Good + Brophy)
Request is a comprehension-centered procedure as a language-using process whereby readers select information; predict, confirm, or reject their predictions; and then comprehend. The object is to get meaning from the passage. This reading-questioning procedure is one that is rich in its opportunities for thinking. Students are encouraged to bring their past experiences to everything they hear or read. They observe and talk about differences and similarities in objects, ideas, processes, and pieces of reading materials. They have the opportunity to group things, ideas, and experiences together by noting common characteristics and to label these categories.
Students are helped to gather data and to arrange the information according to some reasonable pattern. They are encouraged to reflect on what they have heard and read and to organize their reflections; this summarizing activity involves seeing the total situation and then deciding what the important ideas and main thrusts are. Students are helped to go beyond given information; that is, to read between the lines, to fill in the gaps, but to do so within the framework of a logically defensible extension of the observable data.
The Learner Will...
Any reading material, any grade level, any content area.
ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:
Guiding a student's reading through a series of sentences consists of giving the rules and of playing the game.
"The purpose of this lesson is to improve your understanding of what you read. We will each read silently. Then we will take turns asking questions about the passage and what it means. You will ask questions first, then I will ask questions. Try to ask the kind of questions a teacher might ask, in the way a teacher might ask them. You may ask me as many questions as you wish. When you are asking me questions, I will close my book. When I ask questions, you close your book."
Any question asked deserves to be answered as fully and honestly as possible. It is cheating for a teacher to withhold information or play dumb to draw out the student. It is unacceptable for a student to answer with "I don't know," since s/he can at least attempt to explain why s/he can not answer. If questions are unclear to either party, requests for rephrasing or clarification are in order.
The responder should be ready (and make it a practice) to justify the answer by reference back to the text or to expand on background that was used to build or to limit an answer. Whenever possible, if there is uncertainty about an answer, the responder should check the answer against the text.
Playing the game:
The student and teacher each silently read the first section of the passage. The teacher closes her book and the student ask as many questions as s/he wishes. The teacher answers the questions asked as fully as s/he can. The teacher requests rephrasing of any questions which s/he cannot answer due to poor syntax and/or incorrect logic.
After the teacher has answered all the questions, the student wishes to ask, the student turns her book face down. Then the teacher asks as many questions as s/he thinks can profitably add to the student's understanding of the content.
The teacher should be actively attempting to serve as a model of good questioning behavior. This means that the type of questions asked are what will be coming back to the teacher when the student questions. If questions are limited to factual recall and recognition, the comprehension will be shallow. If the questions posed are thought provoking, developing answers will allow critical thinking and full comprehension.
After the first section, the teacher can pose questions which require integration and evaluation of prior sentences. (So can the student.)
Improvement of student questioning behavior can be reflected by informative statements like, "Hey, that's a great question. In order to answer it, I have to do such and such ( or think about this and that.)" or Your questions make me think about the relationship between this and that."
Depending upon the selection Request is continued until the student can provide a reasonable (i.e. supported) conclusion/summary or response to the question, "What do you think is going to happen in the rest of this selection? Why? (i.e. What have you read that allows you to make that guess?). It may end with, "Read to the end of the selection to see if you were right."
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:
geared for success.
guided practice for pairs, small groups or larger groups.
ended at the peak of the student's curiosity hence she may continue to read on her/his own.
a guided form of SQ3R.
a positive way to view asking questions in class.
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