Engagement and Challenge: BIG Questions with ChatGPT
Engagement and Challenge: BIG Questions with ChatGPT

Engagement and Challenge: BIG Questions with ChatGPT

Rubrics and criterion-referenced assessment regularly contribute to teaching and learning and more recently to the assessment of the quality of teaching.

Used effectively, rubrics provide clear and objective feedback to learners/teachers about their strengths and weaknesses relative to specific learning/performance objectives. Our newly introduced “Impact of Learning Rubric,” includes five areas, one of which is “Engagement and Challenge.” Under this criterion, teachers are aiming for:

All students are highly motivated, engaged and challenged in their work
The skilled use of strategies to support and challenge stimulates all students and enables them to excel
The pace of the lesson ensures that every moment is used productively for learning

With “Engagement and Challenge,” one of two teaching focus points, we are looking to engage our pupils with challenging learning experiences when opening lessons and appropriate moments during the lesson, and maybe, outside lessons. We have two prioritsed (not manadated) approaches, “BIG Questions,” and Challenge Cards.

Why BIG Questions (alternatively referred to as Socratic-style questions) in our context?

BIG questions encourage “critical thinking, reflection, and deeper understanding.” They help activate prior knowledge and primes learners to make meaningful connections between concepts, “setting the stage” for lesson.

Well-crafted, BIG questions are a great example of what Mary Myatt refers to as “Low threat: High Challenge,” where learners are encouraged to take ownership of their learning. All pupils benefit from “Low Threat,” the vast majority of our pupils here, enjoy “High Challenge,” and the pupils are often encouraged by increased ownership.

That is “tick and tick.”

The next step is writing well-crafted Socratic questions. As experts, you know the learners in front of you best, I am confident you are apt at designing BIG questions for class – however, if you are pushed for time – below is a ChatGPT Prompt using the PREPARE frame. It also includes coded clarifying questions – to make the prompt flexible and swifter.

Prompt, roles, explicit, parameters, ask, rate, emotion. In this instance, I wanted clarification on the question focus before presenting them. Including the exam board helps refine the focus for examined courses.

  1. Design three broad, Socratic questions, to explore “The boy in the stripe pyjamas.” 
  2. You are UK X teacher – teaching X Exam board. (For GCSE lessons) 
  3. Focus on X Y Z – eg a character, theme, topic
  4. Target questions to 12 year olds. Use a single clause.
  5. Ask me clarification questions before it continuing. 
  6. Rate your output on a scale of 1-5 for each question 
  7. This is important as it start the lesson, engages pupils and sets the challenge level.  

Here is the final prompt.

You are UK English teacher. Before writing three Socratic questions that explore “The boy in the stripe pyjamas,” for 12 year olds, that use a single clause and focus on the character Bruno, ask me clarification questions, one at a time and number the options for a quick response. When the focus is clear, present three questions. Rate each individual question out of 5. This is important as it start the lesson, engages pupils and sets the challenge level.

Great! Let’s start with some clarification questions:

  1. What specific aspect of Bruno’s character would you like to focus on?
    • A) His relationships with other characters
    • B) His actions and decisions
    • C) His thoughts and feelings
    • D) His experiences and challenges

You: C

Excellent choice! Now, let’s narrow it down further:

  1. Which particular aspect of Bruno’s thoughts and feelings would you like to explore?
    • A) His curiosity and innocence
    • B) His confusion and frustration
    • C) His empathy and compassion
    • D) His fear and apprehension

You: D

Got it! With a focus on Bruno’s fear and apprehension, here are three Socratic questions:

  1. How does Bruno’s fear influence his decisions and actions throughout the story? Rating: 4/5
  2. In what ways does Bruno’s apprehension affect his relationships with other characters, especially with Shmuel? Rating: 4/5
  3. Can you identify a moment when Bruno’s fear reaches its peak, and how does he cope with it? Rating: 5/5

These questions should delve deeper into Bruno’s character while engaging the students and encouraging critical thinking.

The more I design PREPARE prompts for teaching and learning, the more I am considering building a directory. This is the second prompt I have written, road test and will continue to iterate. The second “turned” ChatGTP into a learners coach.

Challenge Cards

In case you were wondering…

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