10 questions to ask yourself…

1. How would you like to stand in a line and wait for somebody to look at your work and give their approval?

2. Are you interested in listening to the other people read aloud one at a time?

3. How would you feel if all the decisions were made by someone else?

4. Do you enjoy sitting passively while someone talks at you?

5. Would you like it if your principal yelled at you (in front of others) when you did something wrong?

6.  What if some people were singled out for special awards and you never got recognition, no matter how hard you tried?

7. How would you feel if someone insisted that you express your thinking in the particular way they chose for you?

8. Would you like to receive a number or letter grade for every task you completed?

9. What if you were only permitted to eat, drink and go to the toilet at specific times, determined by someone else?

10.  Does checking your email or texting mean you are not working?

Would you like to be in your class?

40 thoughts on “10 questions to ask yourself…

  1. THANK YOU for a very thought provoking post. I would love to see a T-Chart showing some ideas for a BETTER way to go forward with our teaching as I’m sure that everyone does some of these things some of the time.


    1. Absolutely! I know I do some of them! But, as with most of my posts, My intentions are to create an awareness and to provoke thinking. It’s easy to forget what it feels like. Writing it down reminds ME, as well.


  2. bravo.. perspective.

    “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein

    thank you dear.


  3. These are wonderful things for me to keep in mind in my own class, especially during report-writing time when my own energy is low and I forget that I am there to care for beautiful individual children.
    I think of our staff meetings when I read no. 4. : “…sitting passively while someone talks at you.” I wonder how I could change that?
    No. 7 really got me thinking: “How would you feel if someone insisted that you express your thinking in the particular way they chose for you?” A conversation with a literacy consultant and my grade-level colleagues last week centred around developing comprehension through response to literature. We seemed to be insisting the children write in their workbooks for a few minutes, and that was the only way we would let them express their thinking. Our insistence did not develop their thinking or reading comprehension. I need to open things up to my students, allow them more scope of HOW, WHEN, WHERE to express their thinking, and WHO WITH. I reckon a few Web 2.0 tools might come in handy here, but also, I think I just might ask my children to tell me in which ways they feel they express their thinking best.
    Edna, your ToonDoo will stay in my head for a mighty long time, to remind me to walk in my students’ shoes.


    1. Thanks Royan, Monika and Brette!
      Brette, I sometimes think people see the cartoons as a decoration for my posts. I’m so glad the image affected you 🙂
      Asking the learners is the best way, I think. Include them in the learning process… it’s their learning, after all.


  4. Edna so many of those struck a chord with me.
    What a good question for us to ask everyday ‘Would I like to be in my class?’

    6 is an interesting one – what sort of reward / award systems do you have in your school?


  5. ‘Would I like to be in my class?’… A question we should ask ourselves every day. Loved your thought provoking questions!


  6. Yesterday, in teacher training classes, we were just discussing the same things! After watching several videos of English as a Foreign Language teaching in classrooms decorated with literacy stimulation, students working in centers, and groups staying on task, my students asked me, if these videos were for real….

    It’s peculiar, English Language Teachers throughout the world are often the most progressive in traditionally-taught schools in countries where traditional teaching practices are still in place. (Teacher-centered passive student model). However, although EFL teachers have the tools to make learning student-centered and ‘non-militarized’ thorugh rote practice and experience, they often put traditional practices into place instead of letting students produce….speak….discuss…explore….the reigns of whole class led activities are held tight.

    One of my students commented that in her junior high school, every time her class practiced a speaking activity for learning English, the nuns would come runnning to see what the ruckus was!

    With your permission, I will share your post with my students as the ‘voice outside’ since they constantly listen to but do not hear my insider voice. Timely reflection on classroom practices will help us to remain focused on the student-centered learning, and continue growing away from the traditional practices so often found in classrooms in my lovely adopted Mexico.

    Thanks Edna for saying it so clearly.


    1. Your comments are always eye opening, Ellen. It’s easy to forget how different education can look in other contexts. (hint: guest post!)
      I so agree about the ‘outside voice’, as I have mentioned in other posts. It seems to make a big difference… when people are ready to hear it!


  7. WOW! Powerful! We should all frame these ten things and put them next to our “teacher hat”. If we were able to be mindful of each of these each day it would force us to think out of our boxes and create that environment where learning is loved. Thank you so much for this list…it’s my new favorite Top Ten. I will be sharing it with my PLN!


  8. Thank you, thank you for your posts. I subscribed a while back. I LOVE the way you’re able to capture so much on ONE page. I use your columns often in staff development as a springboard for reflection. Just wanted you to know that I want you to keep writing! You’re helping many teachers and me remember why we went into teaching in the first place. It doesn’t hurt to revisit and revisit our initial enthusiasm before we got captured by the institution and forgot to stop asking the important questions! Keep asking them!


  9. And if you were a pupil in your class, how would you behave?

    Having led and been a particpant in many a PD session over the years, it never ceases to amaze me how some colleagues are happy to behave in ways they would find inappropriate in their own students. But hey, maybe I or the other PD leaders infringed some of the 10 points!


  10. superb questions… when I was reading this I was appalled at how much we torture our students, although I do not do some of them at my students. They are really important to ponder if we want to impove the quality of our education and make students enjoy our classes.


  11. These are fantastic questions that I think should go on the walls of our classrooms so that we can get feedback from our students any time we are slipping back into what we don’t want for our students.
    These would be great discussion starters for professional development sessions too – looking into our practice.

    I like the comments on here about PD sessions too. I often find myself reflecting on this – sometimes our expectations of staff learning are poles apart from our beliefs about teaching and learning. Can be quite a mis-match!


  12. Those are good questions a reflective teacher should be asking, however, don’t forget that the honest answers to those questions and what is best for the growth of a child aren’t always the same.


    1. At the beginning of the school year I asked my students (10 and 11 years old)
      1. A good teacher is…..?
      2. A good lesson is……?
      3. We want to learn……?
      4. A good student is……?

      I wrote it all down, made it look ‘important’, put it on the wall and use it, with them, to evaluate lessons and the ‘feel’ in the classroom. The whole thing then self-regulates as I am also commented on by them and always forgiven when I have lapses!

      Let’s face it – we all do.


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