Beth Duckles of Bucknell University has written a passionate post on asking students beautiful questions.
Beautiful questions don’t rest, but rather are generative. These are the questions that create more than they stay still. Beautiful questions inspire discussion, debate, engagement, inquiry and reflection.
This is a very thoughtful response to the problems of grade inflation, lack of critical thinking, and a good counterpoint to our complaints of students asking what material will be on the exam. Duckles puts the onus on us to ask more of our students, and also of our teaching, and offers some good suggestions how to do this.
In my own teaching, I don’t have the resources to do much evaluation of critical thinking skills. It’s a shame, but it’s not something over which I have control. This post reminds me, however, that I can still hope to inspire more deep thought among my students during class.