Responding to and Facilitating the Query Process
Actively engaging students in critical thinking is at the heart of the questioning process. To foster this process, we must guide and support the learners' critical thinking.
There are two basic types of critical thinking strategies: those that enhance the focusing of ideas and those that extend patterns of thought.
Strategies for Focusing
By identifying the direction that was taken during a class discussion, you can assess and redirect the conversational thread. Identify the central and divergent themes in order to:
- Refocus and redirect divergent dialogue back to discussion points by citing or paraphrasing other student comments.
- Interconnect divergent thoughts and mention how these ideas are connected and related to the discussion thread through the use of alternative perspectives.
- Summarize conversations.
Act as a clearinghouse to sort and prioritize thoughts and points through:
- Using metaphor or analogy.
- Using narrative dialogue to provoke thought.
- Modeling response/discussion techniques.
Identify Main Points
- Point out how student comments have touched on key issues.
- Point out the areas that were not covered completely and need to be explored further.
- Compare and contrast response points.
- Make replies meaningful and personal.
Strategies for Deepening Discussions
Question for inquiry in order to:
- Probe more deeply, question assumptions, and push thinking.
- Investigate ambiguity.
- Explore opinions and understand the author's perspective.
- Support thinking "outside the box."
Connect points in order to gain a more global view. Also,
- Refrain from judgment and suspend belief/disbelief.
- Offer new ideas that challenge mainstream thought.
- Remain neutral when searching for solutions or causes.
Encourage multiple points of view by
- Searching for different points of view and validating differing opinions.
- Modeling solicitation of alternative perspectives and opinions.
- Challenging thoughts that appear to be one sided through the use of alternative points of view.
This outline has been modified and adapted from information from the Concord Consortium.