Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Essentials

This post is a continuation of this stream. Recent posts quote from and mimic the format of  Yoga: Discipline of Freedom the Yoga Sutra attributed to Pantanjali translated by Barbara Stoler Miller.

VII. Essential Questions

When essential questions are articulated, a workshop’s reason for existence is revealed and obstacles to effective workshop planning fall away.

The obstacles that distract effective workshop planning include apathy, laziness, doubt, misconception, carelessness, failure to attain a firm foundation in pedagogy, and ego.

These distractions can result in poorly integrated lessons with unclear and/or misaligned goals, objectives and activities, along with an often incoherent approach to assessment and evaluation.

The practice of training emerging teaching artists to plan backward, to articulate essential questions, and to continually assess the quality of their work is the means to prevent and overcome these distractions.

Here's a summer reading list of books and authors I must give credit to for many of the ideas in these most recent posts.
Understanding By Design by Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe
Asking Better Questions by Norah Morgan & Juliana Saxton
Yoga: Immortality and Freedom by Mircea Eliade
The Reflective Practioner: How Professionals Think In Action by Donald A. Schon
Acting Learning and Plays by Jan Mandell and Jennifer Lynn Wolf
Structuring Drama Work by Jonothan Neelands

I believe the term "essential question" is now the property of UBD  and I dig it, but I might rather say "driving question" instead. They also talk about unit questions versus essential questions. I have heard it said that essential questions are "human questions." That works for me. What do you think?

Also: Studs Terkel: Conversations with America

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