I discovered a post titled Learners Should Be Developing Their Own Essential Questions after reading Anne’s post and thinking about assumptions. It talks about learning how to ask the right questions. WelL, I thought, what are the right questions? According to the blog, the right questions are those that are relevant and appropriate – kind of subjective to say the least.
I recall some of the places in which I have worked. I recall, when I first started there, the first three to four weeks I had to be prepared to look pretty stupid and ask lots of dumb questions. They weren’t dumb to me but often the reaction I received suggested that in fact they were dumb to the recipient.
I like this line from the post;
‘Having essential questions drive curriculum and learning has become core to many educators’ instructional practices.’
If we don’t have the right questions our learning can stagnate. In thinking about Musette’s post on Missing Ladder Rungs on Bigum & Rowan’s article (2013), the concept of the Wittegenstein’s ladder got me thinking. What does it mean when the bottom rungs fall away? I thought, if they fall away, what does this mean for double-loop learning and organisational learning?
It was this question that took me to Mari’s post which filled in some of my gaps;
‘As an artist I’m a visual learner and this picture of a ladder with missing steps has left a lasting impression on my mind. I started imagining my own learning process as a series/network of ladders connecting vertically, horizontally and diagonally, like the board game snakes and ladders. I thought of how one would often climb up the ladder of learning, just to realize at the very top that one has missed some important step at the bottom. One would then slide down and start all over again. I think it would be useful to think about learning as a game that could be played over and over and not to see losing one game as failure, but rather as a motivation to immediately “start a new game.” At some point you’ll win the battle!’
Mari goes on to discuss, in her 1 minute paper, the questions on her mind as she progresses through the course. I think this is the key. We don’t get to develop these questions unless we engage with the material and participate, which goes back, in my mind, to Communities of Practice and Wenger’s three components of domain, practice and community. So it comes back to learners being able to develop their essential questions through participation and for me this has been my experience to date. As both a teacher, learner and student in this course I find myself continuously learning from my colleagues and the material and through the journey I am building more and more questions which, through practice, build my understanding of the NGL world.
Bigum, C., & Rowan, L. (2013). Ladders, Learning and Lessons from Charlie: exploring the potential of public click pedagogy (No. 2).