Refining questions…

The whole of Year 6 (100 students) gathered in the open space to prepare for their coming Skype interactions with teachers and classes next week.

They are inquiring into a range of countries in the Asia Pacific as part of their exploration of what it means to be a global citizen. The central idea is that to be a global citizen, we need to understand and engage with our neighbours. So they will!

We started by viewing a few clips to highlight some drawbacks from previous sessions, so that we can learn from our mistakes…

More here, here and here.

We moved on to a famous quote ‘Too hot, too cold, just right’ (Goldilocks) and discussed examples of  how to refine our questions to make them ‘just right’ … relevant, appropriate and engaging.

Students split into groups based on which country they have chosen, and applied their new understandings to refining and prioritising the questions they had already prepared.

The questions they shared at the end demonstrated the thinking and learning that had taken place in most groups.  We’re looking forward to some great Skype sessions with India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, China, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea and the Philipines!

Do you know anyone in Burma, Papua New Guinea, Laos or Timor that could help us?

15 thoughts on “Refining questions…

  1. This was a fabulous session! I was able to film and sit with a couple of groups and loved hearing students becoming connected to the unit. It provided them with a strategy that insisted that they own their questions and would then value and appreciate the answers they will receive. Often student questions (and some journalist’s questions; who should know better) are formed for the sake of creating a question; the answer is not really wanted or valued. More of these engagements with our students can only be a good thing!


  2. Love reading your blog!

    I’ve spent time in Timor over the past 2 years. I’ve always stayed in a village though with little electricity. I was last there during Sept holidays & they have just established an Internet cafe – not totally reliable BUT it’s an Internet cafe! I’m not sure if they’d be up to Skype. If you like I’m more than happy to contact my friend there & ask them if they’re keen.


  3. Hi Edna

    There is an online assessment tool called Naiku (which means teacher in Lao) and one of the guys who works there, Adisack, is originally from Laos. Perhaps he could help?

    Look up Naiku. Aside from having someone from Lao PDR running it, it is also a really useful tool!

    Laos is the most beautiful place I think I have been. I have such grat memories from there!

    As for Myanmar (Burma), I’m not sure how likely it is that you could get contact electronically with people in the country. The military government is very controlling, and it is risky communicating with outsiders, as discussing life in Myanmar with foreigners is prone to scrutiny and people regularly get into trouble (disappear!) under the guise of treason.

    This being said,I hope you have some luck! I know someone who got a job in a school there, and returned to Australia after two weeks, realising that this ‘school’ was a front for illegal activity including child abuse.

    It’s a beautiful country, but full of perils…


  4. I’m not sure you’ll be able to connect to schools to Myanmar (Burma’s the old name), Laos or Timor – schools there will probably not have any email, let alone any tech.

    But have you thought about the refugee/migrant groups? I know there’s a Karen community in Werribee – they are an ethnic Burmese group. So maybe try the local schools in that area? From my experience as a migrant teenager in high school, the Karen kids might be chuffed to be asked about their culture.


  5. Hi Edna,

    Try Vientiane Int Sch in Laos.
    They are an IB school and would love to connect their students with yours.

    If you are wanting to talk to refugee students you could try they are going to the Thai/Burma border very soon. I have emailed a contact to see what else i can find out for you.

    If this all falls through I know our students in Cambodia would love to Skype with you all.



  6. Dear Ed,

    This seems very interesting…. We are an IB school in Mumbai – India and would like to particpate in the Skype on good global citizens. Would be interesting to work with our Grade 4 who are currently inquiring into Role Models.

    Our school name is Fazlani L’Academie Globale

    My name is Mahera and I am the PYP Coordianator


  7. Hi Ed,

    Knowing how to ask the right questions is, I think, one of the most important skills in life to have. So, I’ve just posted a link to your exellent, informative post on the TeachingEnglish facebook page if you’d like to check there for comments.

    Please feel free to post on the page whenever you have anything you’d like to share.




  8. Hi friends,

    It’s a good place and idea for language learning. Using skype with students’ helps forming natural grammar, I believe. But I want to study more about the real impact as part of my thesis. I would like to connect a group of students for the skype session.



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