Have you ever heard someone say, “Curiosity killed the cat.” While this may be true for cats, it is absolutely not the case for our students. Curious students are learners, young people who are interested in finding out how things work. The opposite of these curious students are passive and show little initiative—actually they usually “wait to be told”. They contentedly sit and wait until they are noticed by an adult who they hope will come and rescue them from actually having to think.
During homework these passive learners are delighted when a program leader or frontline staff member will come over, pick up their homework, read the directions to him/herself and then spend a few minutes trying to translate the assignment to the student. Of course, what occurs when this is the strategy is that the program leader/frontline staff member becomes much better at reading assignment directions and figuring out how to resolve homework challenges, and the student becomes better at waiting to be told.
Inquiry will help to prevent this. Inquiry is the art of asking questions and encouraging young people to think. Here are some appropriate questions for you to ask during homework:
Beginning of homework:
What do the directions say?
What did the teacher tell you in class?
What do you think you are supposed to do in this assignment?
What can you learn from the samples?
After students get started:
What skills (reading, writing, math) do you need to have to do this work?
What strategies will you use to help you figure out the answer?
What are the steps you need to take to find the answer?
What will you do to check the correctness of your work?
Which part of the assignment can you do?
What is confusing to you?
What support do you need?
If students get stuck:
At what point did you begin to be challenged by the work?
What do you think will happen if you try…?
Consult 4 Kids has a long history of advocating for youth and the adults who are their positive role models and mentors. To learn more about our work, please visit our website at www.consultforkids.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (661) 617-7055.