Strategies for Engagement #7

…to pursue big questions

Learners engage with big questions when their curiosity is stimulated. That might be through responding to big questions the teacher asks or being invited to suggest their own. Big questions are questions of significance and meaning, not just recall, and each subject may stimulate a different set of questions that students can engage with. For example, learners may engage in discussion or role-play in response to a question about the difference between humans and computers. In science, creating and discussing diagrams of food chains may stimulate pupils to ask how things fit together.

  • Learners can contribute their own questions verbally or add a question to a board, box or display. For example religious education can include the opportunity for pupils to raise their own questions around Bible stories.
  • Learners can respond to questions posed in class, for example, a series of questions in English about the ethics of writing about people who are still living, or questions such as ‘Where does our creativity come from?’ in music.
  • Learners can ask questions about faith and values in subjects other than RE. Big questions such as ‘Where do the patterns in numbers come from?’ can be asked in maths.
Stimulating curiosity can engage learners in asking big questions that are about meaning and significance and not just information.