In-service teacher education: asking questions for higher order thinking in visual literacy
The kinds of questions teachers ask may thwart or promote learner high-order thinking; teachers themselves must have expertise in questioning skills to promote higher order cognition among learners. Drawing on experiential knowledge of assessment, and as an English-teaching professional development programme (PDP) facilitator, I demonstrate that within the framework of a carefully structured subject-specific PDP, teachers can be taught how to enhance thinking skills in the English visual literacy (VL) learning classroom. Guided by an earlier taxonomy of cognition, and using qualitative methodology, the paper analyses data obtained from: (i) observation notes and examination equivalents of 40 teachers from various public schools in Gauteng who were engaged in the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE), English specialization programme; and (ii) a case study of three teachers by means of semi-structured interviews, and a study of their lesson plans and worksheets.The paper examines, specifically, teachers’ choice of texts and questions asked, for English second-language learners for the teaching of VL. It concludes by suggesting that if teachers themselves are first engaged in the cognitive processes they wish learners to acquire, they are better positioned to promote higher order among their learners.
Keywords: classroom questions, collaborative teacher practice, English language teachers, higher order thinking, professional development programme, taxonomy of cognition, visual literacy