Addressing Challenges with Student Questions, New and Old

Posted on Posted in Teacher Stories

Christopher Cole is an Education Technology Coordinator and theology teacher at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. 7 years ago, he started off his teaching career using a lecture-based approach that made it hard to fit in student questions. Jokingly, he says “we had 45 minute classes and I would lecture for 47 minutes every class”. Most of the questions he received were simple requests for clarification, and many questions went unanswered. “It was hard to address those good questions, those questions that come straight from a student’s curiosity, just ignited from them just listening and being engaged, which are great questions but may not have the time in the lecture based classroom.”

...we had 45 minute classes and I would lecture for 47 minutes every class.

Christopher Cole

A few years ago, when his school went 1:1 with iPads, Christopher took the opportunity to switch to a flipped teaching model. Christopher now found there was time to take advantage of student questioning and engage students through inquiry. “that works great in a flipped classroom it’s just rare because most kids either don’t have the time to ask it, don’t know how to ask it, don’t know what to ask, or are kinda shy about asking it.”

..most kids either don’t have the time to ask it, don’t know how to ask it, don’t know what to ask, or are kinda shy about asking it.

Christopher Cole

Christopher tested lots of solutions and eventually found Recap. He found an online platform dedicated for questions resolved the issues he had encountered in a way his LMS did not. “It allows me to see those questions outside of the plan, outside of the classroom, and to prioritize them myself: as which ones can fit in the lecture, which ones can be addressed later, which ones can be addressed to the large group, which ones can maybe form the direction of our classroom.”

There was now plenty of time to ask and address questions outside of class, students felt more comfortable asking questions privately, and he had a way to coach students into asking the questions that really matter. In response to the good questions he is able to coach his students into asking, Christopher authors Journeys in response. The Journey provides a pathway for the student to go exploring and learning more about the topic independently, which his students appreciate and “said it was great to have that guide and that path.” Watch one of Christopher's Journeys.

It allows me to see those questions outside of the plan, outside of the classroom, and to prioritize them myself

Christopher Cole

Christopher says he even pushes students to ask questions that challenge him and what he’s teaching. He admits that this can be scary for many teachers, but that having a platform like Recap also reduces the fear of being challenged. “Because it’s a private question and it’s not in the middle of a lecture or class, it does allow you to see that question and to be able to look for answers. So if I’m not certain, it allows me to get my resources to answer that question.” To Christopher, having a dedicated space, "addresses that question that the kid has but it also allows me to be comfortable in addressing it.”

About Recap

Recap is a free Q&A platform where questions go to flourish. It comes with a question gathering queue that helps you privately collect, give feedback on, share and drive dialogue from student questions. It also has tools to help you ignite curiosity and assess students that help you overcome anyone's apathy to learn.

Give it a try today!