Goal 6: Investigate and Instigate Questions #30GoalsEDU

Goal 6 of The 30 Goals Challenge 2012! Click the link to find out more about the new changes to this year’s 30 Goals Challenge for Educators!

“The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer.” ~ Alice Wellington Rollins

Short-term– Aim to create a lesson this week that will inspire your students to explore a question that has no answers or has several answers. The idea is to inspire our students to focus on the journey of exploration and to show them that in life there will be many questions that often have several solutions. The path should be the focus and whatever mistakes they make along the way will teach them more about themselves and leave them with more questions.

Long-term– Investigate the role of questions in your classroom. Do we give students enough time to answer difficult questions? Do we inspire our students to ask questions that derive from their curiosity? Do we encourage the exploration of many options or do we punish our students with grades for not finding the solution in the book? The way we question, support questioning, and assess students will determine how much critical and creative thinking they will do. Studies show just by giving our students 3 to 7 seconds to answer questions will increase their critical thinking skills. The links below will help you improve questioning in your classroom. These ideas helped me become a better teacher and helped me to get my students to critically think in my classroom. I continue to try to use great questioning techniques to help my learners.

Resources and Ideas

  • You can use a soft beach or Nerf ball to throw to your students in class to answer questions. If they do not know the answer, they simply ask a friend for help, ask the question again, then throw the ball to a friend to help. If the student knows the answer, the student then asks another question. The idea is to get your students to always ask a question when throwing the ball.
  • Let your students know that you will give them a period of 3 to 7 seconds to answer difficult questions. This is wait time that is critical to get your students to process the question and help them develop critical thinking skills.
  • Benefits of Wait Time
  • Mind Tools– How to ask questions effectively!
  • ChangingMinds.org– several questioning techniques listed here.
  • Always Asking Questions by Steve Wheeler! Great post!


  • Lisa Dabbs and I have decided to change the hashtag to #30GoalsEdu because we have noticed some sports people using the hashtag. Please make the transition.
  • I have been traveling a lot so sorry I missed last week’s goal. This week I will update the Pinterest boards and begin commenting and sharing your posts so please continue to share!
  • This year we are focusing on 1 to 2 goals a week in order to have time to really reflect on the tasks and respond to each other’s posts and enhance our support system for each other.

Check out my Pinterests for other posts with this goal or ask me to add yours!


Create a list of quotes, songs, images, videos, and more that inspire you to be a great educator.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30Goals, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


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