What is a guiding question
What is a guiding question in research
Since teachers and students don’t know what students are supposed to do, many beloved school curriculum units are mentally weak and fractured. Consider a traditional elementary school unit on ancient Egypt. Pharaohs, pyramids, Egyptian myths, and geography are all included in this program. They study hieroglyphs, watch the Treasures of Tutankhamen film, and make papyrus-like paper. This jumping from activity to activity continues until the instructor determines that it is time to move on to another topic. Unfortunately, the intellectual outcome is a community of kids who remember bits and pieces of facts, such as a pharaoh’s name, an odd custom, or a mental image of the Sphinx. “We researched the ancient Egyptians,” these students and teachers normally say when asked what they’ve been doing for the past few weeks. However, if the learning target is unclear, one can research indefinitely without getting anywhere.
This concern has been expressed by hundreds of teachers who have worked with me in school-based curriculum development teams in recent years. Regardless of how well-crafted the individual exercises and lessons are, a close examination of the curriculums reveals a lack of academic emphasis and coherence due to the lack of clear objectives of learning.
Sample of guide questions
The response would probably come as no surprise, but there’s a little more to a good guiding question than meets the eye. I like to keep my planning straightforward, and using a good guiding question is one way I try to do less but better.
Any lesson in the themantic model of curriculum design is framed by a single guiding question (you can see these in the sample pages from the new textbook, which can be found on the resources page).
This, like the rest of the themantic model’s theories, isn’t exactly groundbreaking. However, it is evolutionary in the sense that the specific criteria of an effective guiding question will significantly improve student comprehension.
Students must consider how two items are linked to answer a guiding question in our model. Students must always be able to clarify a substantial relationship between two items in order to answer the questions. This is in line with ThemEd’s concept of knowledge as the ability to comprehend individual pieces of information and understanding as the ability to demonstrate how they’re connected in response to a question or problem.
Examples of guiding questions for students
Among the most pressing current problems and issues in education in general (Wolf & Hughes, 2007), and in leadership education in particular, are appropriate design and implementation of new programs, review and redesign of existing programs, and responses to accreditation agencies and internal academic credibility concerns (Mengel, 2005; Zundel & Mengel, 2007). The book Guiding Questions: Guidelines for Leadership Education Programs (Guiding Questions) offers a framework for dealing with these issues.
Guiding Questions is the product of the International Leadership Association’s (ILA) Guidelines for Leadership Education Learning Community’s four-year, widely collaborative, and voluntary initiative. More than 70 leadership educators contributed to this project in some way. The aim of the project was and continues to be to produce a document that can be used to direct the design or implementation of leadership programs at different educational institutions.
Guiding Questions were posted on ILASpace (http://www.ilaspace.org) on the advice of the ILA Executive Board to facilitate member analysis, feedback, and field tests. Field test findings will be presented by a panel at the ILA’s 11th Global Conference in Prague in November 2009. Following that, the ILA Board of Directors will decide whether or not to accept the proposal in Prague.
How to answer guide questions
You will improve guiding questions by aligning them with expectations, in addition to having students ask better questions. Start at the end and work your way to the beginning. What do you want your students to take away from this experience? What criteria are you attempting to meet? Create a set of questions based on the standard.
You will ensure that students’ inquiry stays on topic by framing a guiding question that incorporates a content standard and a performance standard. You may also let students select which of the potential guiding questions they want to investigate further. If you give the students five questions, they will form five groups, each working to answer one of the questions and reporting back to the class on their findings.