What do you want to know about…?

There’s often a difference of opinion about engaging children in science (or indeed, any topic) by asking them what they’d like to know. I have a view on this based upon reflection on explicit use of things like KWL grids and other “what do you want to find out about” approaches. This view is that the stimulus or experience that is used to engage learners should generate questions for them: something much more subtle than “what do you want to know about blast furnaces?”. for example. It is hard to ask meaningful questions about something you have little knowledge or experience of. A good teacher will give the learners enough enculturation into a new topic such that they can ask useful and meaningful questions. This means that the questions aren’t restricted to the start of a topic: explicit use of them is needed throughout the topic, to progress learning but also more closely follow the learners’ interests. I wonder what you think of that.

(from a comment on a student journal)