Translation Questions - A Transcendent & Under-Utilized ProbativeA translation question typically requires that a student be able to re-represent something presented in one symbolic form in another, or alternate form. This might be a charge to re-state in one’s own words what another student has said, or something written found in text. Translation involves taking one’s ideas, which themselves may be incomplete, and beginning the public process of converting them to a clear communicable form. It could be a charge to convert a picture into descriptive words, or the inverse. At a “clinical” level, a translation question is a form of diagnostic-teaching and instructional conversation that seamlessly causes a rotation of those who are speaking to the many others who tend to lapse into passivity. Judging by its inherent value it could be easier to grasp, than apparently it is to execute.
For more detail see:
Manzo, A., Manzo, U. & Albee, J ( 2004). Reading Assessment for Diagnostic-Prescriptive Teaching (2nd) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing
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This is the type of thinking against which is so many of my high school students struggle. It's too abstract for many of them. They want the assurance of knowing whether they are right or whether they are wrong, but that type of thinking does not produce new thinking.
The Enabling Questions procedure is a student-initiated strategy that we developed. It is a prepared set of questions that students can use to tune in and reduce distraction during lectures. Using Enabling Questions puts the listener into an active, evaluative thinking mode and invites the teacher or speaker to talk a little less and welcome more interaction. Students should be urged to translate these questions into their own words.
Set 1: Questions that Help the Listener Organize and Clarify Information
1) What is/are the main question(s) you are answering by your lecture (or lesson) today?
2) Which key terms and concepts are most important for us to remember from what you have said (or will say) today?
3) What is most often misunderstood or confusing about the information or position you are presenting today?
Set 2: Questions that Help the Listener Get a Mental Breather
For further details, see: Manzo/Manzo/Thomas (2009) Content Area Literacy; Wiley pp. 280-281
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