James Nottingham's Blog

Reflections from a World of Education

Creating Questions

The Question Quadrant is a powerful tool developed by Phil Cam to elicit and generate questions that can be used to conduct a philosophy lesson. The purpose is to initiate and model the types of questions that can be used to produce in-depth discussion with communities just starting P4C. The Quadrant can be used to distinguish closed and open questions that relate specifically to the text; or closed and open questions that stimulate intellectual curiosity.

The Question Quadrant can be used in small groups or as a whole class. Trent Burns at Cambewarra Primary School in New South Wales, Australia has been using the approach to role model the types of questions that P4C seeks, placing the Question Quadrant in the middle of an inquiry circle.

The questions show in the diagram were taken from the picture book More Spaghetti I Say by Rita Golden-Gelman.

As Trent says, “The discussion generated is valuable as students give reasons as to why they have chosed a specific part of the quadrant to place their question. Having students fill out a blank question quadrant after listening to a story is also a valuable teaching tool and requires students to develop their own questions for discussion. After all it is the questions that make the inquiry come alive within the classroom.”

For more information about this approach, both Trent and I highly recommend Phil Cam’s new book, Twenty Thinking Tools as well as his excellent introduction to P4C, Thinking Together.
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1 Comment»

  Martyn Soulsby wrote @

Hi We recently started using the Question quadrant and North Lakes and it has really helped develop the quality of the questions formulated by the children


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