The latest book I’d like to talk about is one I found in our school resource library one day while I was looking for Math resources; Becoming a Better Teacher: Eight Innovations That Work by Giselle O. Martin-Kniep. The title struck me immediately because, obviously, I’m always looking for ways to become a better teacher!
The book discusses eight teaching innovations, so I’ll be talking about each innovation during my upcoming posts and sharing my thoughts. So let’s begin with the first innovation: The Power of Essential Questions.
The book begins by talking about how students feel that school is
“devoid of any meaningful content”. This hits home with me as it was something that I focused on during all of my curriculum development during my B.Ed. I wanted to make content meaningful to students, not just because it would make school more fun, but because things that interest us and we are passionate about are much easier for us to remember.
Essential questions are those that deal with, what I refer to as “universal questions”. These were something I talked about a lot of High School English because students could not understand why they were not getting As for simple regurgitating the plots of Shakespearian plays to me; they didn’t understand that I didn’t want them to tell me what happened, I wanted them to use what happened to draw comparisons to universal truths or big questions.
Some essential questions the book talks about are things like “is there anything original?” and “are we really free?”; things that make people (not just students) really think.
The chapter delves into how these questions can be used and has some great ideas. From starting units, to introducing assignments, to aiding in assessment. Essentially (see what I did there?), essential questions aide in our ability to apply our learning to our reality, removing the void between school and life and making education more meaningful and enjoyable.
I know I’m only one chapter into the book thus far, but so far I’m finding it enjoyable and worthwhile. If you want to buy it, here’s the Amazon link.