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Self-questioning Donna Alvermann, Ph.D. Department of Language & Literacy Education University of Georgia PowerPoint by Achariya Rezak

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What is Self-questioning? Questioning relates to the activity of generating questions before, during, and after reading. Questions should not simply test previous learning, but explore new possibilities. Good questions can guide search for information, lead students to consider new ideas, and prompt new insights. Self-questioning is the process of encouraging students to engage in their own questioning during reading.

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How can teachers use Self- questioning? Self-questioning can spawn class discussion. Self-questioning can improve comprehension through more active reading & thinking. Self-questioning can teach students to monitor their own comprehension.

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Self-questioning and domain structures If students are taught the domain structure of a subject, they can learn how to formulate questions that are related to broader issues relating to the subject, instead of specific ones. For example, students can learn to formulate questions that relate to a broader theme of Earth Science, like cause and effect, or about issues relating to a specific sphere of Earth Science. In English, students can learn to question the poetic mode of a text, instead of just focusing upon specific details of the text. This emphasis upon knowing the domain structure of the subject will enable them to apply questions to many different kinds of texts.

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Question-Answer Relationships One example of questioning is Question-Answer Relationships (QARs) (Pearson & Johnson, 1978). Pearson and Johnson described four different kinds of questions that students can ask about a text. The first two kinds of questions are about the text itself -- questions about ideas that are explicitly revealed by the text, and questions that are implicitly revealed. The second two kinds of questions are about the student's "in the head" interactions with a text, and relate to whether the text's author suggested the question, or whether it arose from the student's own thought processes. In short, student questions can be categorized into four different areas: "In book" - Explicit / Implicit "In head" - Author / Student

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Reciprocal Questioning Another example of questioning is Reciprocal Questioning, or ReQuest. This strategy teaches students to formulate their own questions by asking the teacher about the text. To use this strategy, the teacher first scaffolds the text using pre-reading methods. Next, students read the text and formulate questions to ask the teacher. The teacher answers the questions, and then asks the students questions in return. The teacher's questions exemplify the sorts of questions that students can learn to formulate.

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Questioning the Author A third alternative questioning strategy that helps students become more involved in formulating their own questions is Questioning the Author (QtA). These questions try to emphasize the author's role in the creation of the text, as well as allow students to explore the author's subjectivity, and their own. They are broken into three categories of questions, the initiating queries, follow-up queries, narrative queries. Initiating query: What is author trying to say? What is the message? Follow-up query: Does author explain clearly, tell us why? Is there a connect to previously known information? Narrative query: What is the author trying to achieve with a certain character or plot?

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Example of a QAR Example text: “This article deals with 12th-grade students' conceptions of a mathematical definition. Their conception of a definition were revealed through individual and group activities in which they were asked to consider a number of possible definitions of four mathematical concepts: two geometric and two analytic. Data consisted of written responses to questionnaires and transcriptions of videotaped group discussions. The findings point to three types of students' arguments: mathematical, communicative, and figurative. In addition, two types of reasoning were identified surrounding the contemplation of alternative definitions: for the geometric concepts, the dominant type of reasoning was a definition-based reasoning; for the analytic concepts, the dominant type was an example-based reasoning” (Zaslavsky and Shir, 2005, p. 317). Questions: In book ideas: Explicit: What is a mathematical definition? Implicit: How do students form mathematical definitions? In-head ideas: Explicit: How did the students' analyses of four mathematical definitions help the researchers define types of arguments? Implicit: How does definition-based reasoning and example-based reasoning relate to mathematical definitions?

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Summary Self-questioning is the process of encouraging students to engage in their own questioning during reading. Teaching domain structure enables students to apply larger questions to many different kinds of texts. Examples of questioning strategies include QAR, QtA, and ReQuest. A specific example of QAR can be found in the explicit and implicit ideas gathered from a text on mathematical definitions.

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