Whether it ignites an inquiry or shifts the gears of learning, if it’s fuelled by careful consideration and clear intentions, a ‘provocation‘ can drive powerful learning.
Considering the ‘power of provocations’ with our Lana Fleiszig recently, teachers explored the purpose of provocations, what could be used as provocation and the teacher’s role in the provocation process. The most important question, though, is what might the provocation reveal about our learners, their thinking and learning and where to next?
Our teachers collaboratively developed a list of questions to consider when designing provocations:
- Might the provocation excite/engage the learners and ‘hook’ them into learning?
- Might the provocation ignite curiosity and wonderings?
- Is the provocation likely to generate questions?
- Is the provocation likely to leave a lasting impression?
- Is there a degree of complexity?
- Might the provocation invite debate?
- Might the provocation begin a conversation?
- Might the provocation extend thinking?
- Might the provocation reveal prior knowledge?
- Is the provocation likely to uncover misconceptions?
- Does the provocation transfer the ‘energy’ in the room from the teacher to the students?
- Does the provocation have multiple entry points?
- Can the provocation be revisited throughout the unit?
- Might the provocation lead learners into a zone of confusion and discomfort?
- Does the provocation relate to real life/their world?
- Is the provocation inconspicuous and a little mysterious?
- Might the provocation lead learners to broader concepts that tend to carry more relevance and universality?
- Will the provocation make the best use of learning time and teacher preparation time?
- Might the provocation be student initiated or documentation of their learning as a springboard?
- Is the provocation likely to clarify the essence of what is being inquired into?
- Is the provocation the right provocation for the time planned?
- Might the provocation be best during the inquiry, rather than at the beginning?
- Does this provocation elicit feelings?
We’re looking forward to taking it further in the coming ‘ Reveal’ workshop with Sam Sherratt exploring ‘what it means to be aware of, receptive to and curious about what our students are revealing to us so that we can be constantly inquiring into our students and adjusting our planning accordingly.’
Do you begin with a purposeful provocation and then plan in response to learning?
6 thoughts on “The power of a provocation…”
Thank you for sharing these questions. They will certainly be useful when planning/adapting our provocations in the future. I believe that I need to put more thought into provocations and use them to better effect next year. It has become a self-given target.
In a recent workshop with Tania Lattanzio, she suggested using provocations to give students experiences of complex concepts (that are often tricky to define). This connects to more than one of your questions. You might be interested in this recent post from me: Silent Teacher Day – Mr. Hill’s Musings
https://mrhillmusings.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/silent-teacher-day/ I believe that the provocation was a success. Using your list, I have even more confidence in it because it achieved many of the aims that you have identified. This was just one example. I would now like to develop others that are equally powerful.
It’s interesting to think about. Clearly using a provocation can be a good way into the learning, if teachers see its value in dictating where to go next, rather than just moving on to other preplanned activities. Sounds like yours was a powerful one! I think we need to remember that sometimes a really simple provocation can be effective too 🙂
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Ahh, questions to guide ‘provocateurs’ of learning…