Justify Your Answers
As humans, we are constantly asking and answering questions. Quite often, these answers require little or no meaningful thought. “Do you want pizza?” “What’s your name?” But as students, our task is a little harder. We are frequently asked more purposeful, or difficult questions. Usually in the form of essays, reports or reflections, we are required, on a daily basis, to find solutions to complex problems. But often, we are not able to justify these answers. You probably see ‘… and why?’ finish questions in your assignments or exams. How much thought do you actually put into these responses? I’m guessing not a lot, not many people do. And that’s fine, if all you are looking for is a passing mark. But what would happen if you were to look a little deeper, probe your mind for a little longer?
If you were the professor, which answer would you give a higher mark, and why? If I were the professor, I would mark the student who wrote the detailed, thoughtful response higher. This sort of response tells me they are able to take my teachings out of their notes, and apply it to situations. This is one of the Habits of Mind, applying past knowledge to new situations. I can also see they have thoroughly though through the topic, and understand it clearly. It also tells me they are willing to put the extra effort required to entirely explain their thoughts.
Can you see what I mean. It is not hard work, once you begin to think like this regularly. I often find my self responding with longer- than-necessary explanations when answering my friend’s questions, which although frustrating, helps them, and me, understand the topic more clearly. So next time you see a question ending with ‘… and why’, take your time, and thing seriously about it.
For Longer Answers
Simply thinking about a question may not be enough for essays or papers. You may need to write out your solutions, and this in turn may lead to more answers. In the next few weeks, look out for some brainstorming tips and techniques.
Oh, and Merry Christmas,
About Katie WalkerHey, I'm a student. I'm into web development, so currently I'm working on my blog, a few Tumblr themes, and a few web apps for various purposes. It's exciting stuff.
habits of mind
- Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
- Creating, Imagining, and innovating
- Finding Humour
- Gathering Data through all the Senses
- Listening with Understanding and Empathy
- Managing Impulsivity
- Questioning and Posing Problems
- Remaining Open to Continuous Learning
- Responding with Wonderment and Awe
- Striving for Accuracy
- Taking Responsible Risks
- Thinking about Thinking
- Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
- Thinking Flexibly
- Thinking Interdependently