I really appreciated the way that this teacher used questioning to scaffold her students’ understanding of more complex texts. Too often I struggle with this very problem — how to make complex texts accessible to students of all levels — and I thought this teacher did a great job of doing just that. She met her students where they were and asked appropriate questions to get students to think critically about the texts themselves and the evidence within the texts that supported their answers. I also appreciated when she said she uses questioning as a means for discovery. This reminded me of the notion that the cognitive load should be transferred from the teacher to the students, and that students should enjoy learning and see it as a way to “discover” the world around them. She also mentioned using questioning as a way to check for understanding, which is essentially a form of assessment. Ultimately, this teacher shows how it is possible to use questioning for a variety of purposes, all with the end goal of helping students understand the language and content of complex academic texts.
This teacher could use the CA ELD Standards as a guide to provide appropriate levels of scaffolding by focusing specifically on Anchor Standard 5 of Part I: Listening actively and asking and answering questions. The standards provide examples of the type of questions to ask at each of the different proficiency levels, which would help this teacher reach the specific needs of her English learners.