EYFS INSET: Questioning Strategies to Develop Sustained Shared Thinking

sustained shared thinking

For me Sustained Shared Thinking underpins the learning, the role of play, the role of teaching – it draws it all together.”

Kathy Brodie, Early Years Author

• Are you looking to encourage sustained shared thinking and deepen learning through the outstanding use of questions?
• Do you want to discover and utilise the 10 most effective questioning techniques?
• How do you improve and extend the questions your children ask?

What is Sustained Shared Thinking?

It is one of the Characteristics of Effective Learning in the guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and it’s considered one of the hallmarks of a good quality pre-school setting. In an early years setting, SST is evident when the practitioner has an in-depth conversation with the child and encourages them to reflect on their view of the world.

Why Sustained Shared Thinking?

SST can support the three key areas of learning and development, as defined by the EYFS:

  1. Communication and Language

  2. Physical development

  3. Personal, emotional and social development

Sustained Shared Thinking is more than just another tool. Once you get it for Early Years Teachers , it’s a concept that can run through every single part of your practice, helping to explore and support every key area of learning.

High Impact Questioning Strategies

Questioning is one of the nine research-based strategies presented in Classroom Instruction That Works (Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock 2001). Higher cognitive questions (application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) should make up a higher percentage of questions asked in the classroom. Studies show that a combination of lower and higher questions is more effective than the exclusive use of one or the other. Increasing the use of higher cognitive questions can produce superior learning gains for older students, particularly those in secondary school, and does not reduce student performance on lower cognitive questions.

INSET Outline

Understanding the value of Questioning

• What styles are helpful/ unhelpful?
• Features of effective questions
• Analysis of video footage
• How should we plan our class questioning?

Top 10 Questioning Strategies for the Outstanding EYFS classroom

• What are the top 10 most effective questioning strategies?
• How to get the best out of questions:
• Encouraging pupils to ask questions
• Questioning as a whole-staff focus
• Observing good questioning in the classroom

The Power of Questioning in Encouraging Sustained Shared Thinking

• The importance of listening & observing
• Staging questions to engage, motivate and explore
• Improving the characteristics of effective learning through carefully crafted questions
• How to respond to pupils’ answers
• Using questioning to personalise learning
• Using challenging questions to develop pupil resilience and confidence

Questioning to develop Critical Thinking

• Explore concepts using the PRICE model & others
• Extend Critical Thinking skills & sustained shared thinking
• Questions for developing metacognition

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