Archived InformationTried and True: September 1997--The information in this publication was current as of September 1997, and has not been updated since. Some services described in the publication may no longer be available.
A Program Designed To Enhance Student Learning by
Improving Teachers' Classroom Questioning Techniques
|Developed and tested by the Appalachia Educational Laboratory (AEL)|
QUILT complements and supports many existing staff development programs. Schools have reported that the QUILT program helped pull together some diverse programs to create a better understanding of teaching and learning. AEL has had reports that QUILT is complementary to the following programs: TESA (Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement), Cooperative Learning, Madeline Hunter's ITIP, Integration Across the Curriculum, Dimensions of Learning, Whole Language, and Higher Order Thinking Skills.
The development of this program was truly a collaborative effort forged with the talents and energies of teachers, principals, and administrators from five school districts in Kentucky, along with the staff at AEL. The program evolved from the creativity and work of many--much like the folk tradition of a quilting bee. And similarly, the model program has spread to schools throughout Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and beyond the Laboratory region.
QUILT is an intensive, year long program not bound by grade or content area. A personal commitment from participants is necessary for success with the program. Schools send an administrator and a team of teachers to national training, where they learn how to facilitate QUILT with their own faculty. QUILT has three major components:
Elementary, middle, and junior and senior high schools have successfully implemented QUILT. Both large and small schools have enjoyed success with the program with faculty size ranging from 8 to more than 80 teachers. Larger faculties may require more members on the local facilitation team to be able to conduct the collegiums.
Classroom studies have also shown that lower-achieving students receive fewer opportunities to answer questions than other students. On the average, teachers wait less than 1 second for a student response. This is in contrast to the findings that when teachers wait 3 to 5 seconds after asking a question, students give longer, higher-level responses; answer with more certainty in their own responses; make more inferences; and ask more questions.
Question-asking indicates that someone is curious, puzzled, and uncertain; it is a sign of being engaged in thinking about a topic. And, yet, very few students ask questions; rarely is even one student question posed in a typical class. Consistently, classroom research finds a large gap, with both students and teachers, between typical questioning and effective questioning that can affect student achievement. The QUILT model, which is the basic content for the program, views questioning as a complex, dynamic process governed by teacher behavior at critical junctures. The QUILT model has five stages:
Stage 1: Prepare the question
Stage 2: Present the question
Stage 3: Prompt student responses
Stage 4: Process student responses
Stage 5: Critique the questioning episode
Research about effective professional development for teachers is reflected in the QUILT model. First, the phasing of activities over an entire school year acknowledges that change is a process that occurs over time. Second, the structure is consistent with theories that teachers learn and improve performance when provided opportunities to acquire a relevant knowledge base, observe demonstrations, practice new behaviors, and receive feedback regarding performance.
From the analysis of these test data, the QUILT program can claim to show an increase in teacher understanding of effective classroom questioning and a corresponding use of effective questioning practices along with an increase in student thinking. As measured by coded videotapes, students in grades kindergarten through 12 answered at higher cognitive levels significantly more often after their teachers participated in the QUILT program. These students also asked significantly more clarifying questions than did students whose teachers were in a comparison treatment group.
Sustaining features of the program exist as well, including booster conferences for local facilitators and renewal meetings for those schools involved in the second year of QUILT. Beyond contact with those practicing QUILT, the Laboratory staff members continue ongoing program analysis and discussion to improve their efforts to promote and sustain change in teaching cultures.
The QUILT staff development program has been successfully implemented under a variety of circumstances. However, Laboratory staff believes that QUILT is most appropriate when the following factors are present:
Costs associated with implementing this program vary, depending on the components of the program being used.