Sometimes, when I set a task for the students in my class, I'd get the question, 'Is this for assessment?' When I said that it wasn't, I'd then get, 'They why do I need to do this?'
I'd try and explain the many reasons with 'because....' answers, where I would focus on things like skills development, extending previous learning, new learning, connections with the 'real world', future job scenarios, it's just interesting to know (and the list could go on).
One thinking tool I'd use when starting new work was a KWHL chart (What I know, What I want to know, How will I find out, what have I learnt).
In a post on '75 questions students can ask themselves before, during, and after teaching' by Terry Heick, he provides a great list of questions that could guide the KWHL process and help learners take control of their learning experiences.
The questions fall into sub-sections under the main headings of Before, During and After. Here is an overview, but make sure you check the post by Terry to capture all the questions.
Before teaching & learning
- What's being learned?
- What seems most important about what's being learned?
- What do I already know and not know about this?
- Why is this important?
- What is my role in learning this?
During teaching & learning
- What's going on?
- What seems most important?
- What am I doing to help me learn?
- What is my mind doing?
- What is this connected to?
After teaching & learning
- How did that go?
- What seems most important about what was learned?
- What should I do with what I've learned and how should respond to what I didn't learn?
- Based on what we learned today, what might we learn tomorrow?
- How have I been changed by what I've learned?