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Friday, October 30, 2009

Instructional Method to Empower Students to Create Their Own Questions for Small Group and Whole Class Discussion: The Q-Matrix of C. Wiederhold

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly our mentees should know about instructional methods to empower students to generate their own questions. One of those methods is the Q-Matrix of * Dr. Chuck Wiederhold.
At the top of this post see the Q-Matrix of C. Wiederhold. Note that the matrix provides a list of question starters that relate to different horizontal (i.e. event, situation, choice, person, reason, and means), and vertical (i.e. present, past, possibility, probability, prediction, and imagination) categories.

Let’s explain how the matrix works. Assume that the teacher intends to conduct a classroom discussion on the state of Israel, and wants her students to select the questions for discussion. After explaining the Q-Matrix, the teacher invites the students to pose any question on the matrix. For example, a student might say, “I want to ask a Present/Event question. I want to know, what is the capital of Israel?”
Another student might say, “I want to ask a Probability/Person question. I’d like to know, who can bring about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians?” A third student might want to pose an Imagination/Means question and say, “I’d like to know how might the resources of Israel, and her surrounding neighbors be used to help each other in the region?”
Like the Think-Trix, the Q-Matrix can be made into a classroom poster to empower students to create their own questions for discussion.
*For elaboration on Dr. Wiederhold’s questioning framework including a Q-Matrix chart see these websites: or Retrieved October 20, 2009. Also read Wiederhold, C. (1991) Cooperative Learning & Critical Thinking: The Question Matrix. San Juan Capistrano, CA: Resources for Teachers and Wiederhold, C. (1998). Cooperative Learning & Higher-Level Thinking. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing, .

On the next post we will share another instructional method to empower students to generate their own questions, Richard and Elaine Solomon’s Six Types of Information.

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