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Classroom Research about Student Questioning

Two research projects aiming to promote student-centred teaching approaches (through the development of students’ questioning competence), and ultimately to enhance the scholarship of teaching and learning, are being developed in science and engineering courses at the University of Aveiro, in Portugal. One of the projects is being developed in a 1st year chemistry course and the other in a master photogeology course.

These action research projects are being developed in full collaboration between an educational researcher from the Education Department, a professor from the Chemistry Department, and a professor from the Geosciences Department. The main purposes of these projects are twofold. It is possible to distinguish aims more clearly related with the students’ learning process and other aims associated with the teaching process.

Those more closely related to the teaching process are as follows: i) to identify the main obstacles to the pedagogical changes suggested by the Bologna process; ii) to make teachers aware of the potential of students’ questions; iii) to develop (to conceive, to produce, to implement and to evaluate) teaching and learning strategies to promote active learning, based on student questioning; iv) to develop (to conceive, to produce,

to implement and to evaluate) appropriate Improving the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning through Classroom Research 205 assessment strategies aligned with the teaching and learning strategies, promoting active learning and higher order cognitive skills (with emphasis on student questioning); v) to work with academics in documenting their case for disseminating their teaching practices; vi) to contribute to the development of knowledge susceptible to guide pedagogical practices aligned with the demands of the Bologna process.

Those aims associated with student learning are as follows: i) to examine the use of students’ questions in the learning and teaching of undergraduate chemistry; ii) to examine the use of master students’ questions in the learning and teaching of photogeology; iii) to categorise conceptual questions asked by students during the course of all classes; iv) to describe students in terms of their disposition to ask different kinds of questions;

  1. v) to investigate the kind of questions raised by 1st year chemistry students and photogeology master students; vi) to identify and characterise chemistry students’ approaches to learning; vii) to identify and characterise photogeology students’ approaches to learning; viii) to study the differences found between 1st year chemistry students and photogeology master students approaches to learning, and ix) to relate students’ questioning styles to their approaches to learning.

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