Go away I’m busy!
As a trainee teacher I was always taught to ask questions as much as possible, make sure they are open, make sure they are probing, sit with a group of children and guide them through their learning, through effective questioning.
I took my son, William, to a local park where he spent an hour or more playing in the rather wet sand pit, busily putting sand into the water bottle he’d found.
I was fascinated by what he was doing and went over to discuss it with him. After some rather short answers to my beautifully structured, open questions, he looked at me, sighed and said,’mummy go away I’m busy’.
Following this comment I thought, do we really have to be questioning children until they are totally sick of it, and it made me think about my role as a facilitator not a teacher. I had ‘facilitated’ the opportunity for William to learn by taking him to the park, my questioning of him didn’t give him anything more at this point. I believe that giving children the space to try things, think and learn on their own is important. I know in the early years there is an understanding of letting the learning develop independently and that it is best practice on occasions to step back and observe from a distance. I think this is equally valid in KS2.
On the way home we talked at length about the sand and what he was doing (making a sand timer) and he loved answering my lovely open questions!
Questioning can be highly effective and is necessary in the classroom but sometimes children just need the space and time to be busy!