Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Perry D. Phillips.


Primarily this action research project was designed to hone my ability to Socratically question students by reflecting on my teaching through the lens of a videocamera---while reconciling my own paradigm with as many outside assessment devices as possible. The paramount consideration of my questioning/framing references was to incite students to think critically (see Pedagogical Skills Honed in chapter seven). The higher priorities of the outside assessors, on the other hand, were more political than instructional in nature (see Reconciling Multiple Assessments in chapter seven).;Scrutinizing and improving my questioning skills (the focus of the research) led to the epiphany that the larger issue at stake was not just the sequencing of questions up and down the progressive levels of the taxonomy, but the sequencing of foundational skills needed for students to operate at higher abstract thinking/skill levels as they mastered each grade level; this was accomplished by reflecting daily on the videotaped lessons within the larger educational constructs (building, district, state and national edicts).;From my gestalt that students were having trouble answering difficult analysis level questions, came the strand that was followed through my running commentary; students were simply having problems mastering progressively challenging levels of the English Language: reading, writing, critical thinking and speaking.;When eleventh grade students could demonstrate abstract knowledge by providing examples (at the synthesis level), beginning the course---it was clear that they could think about complex issues in terms of cause and effect as well as part to whole relationships.;As the course progressed, and new, more unfamiliar vocabulary began to be layered into the literary selections, it became clear that these students didn't have the skills to assimilate the new terms, the within context of the line/story (through knowledge of root words or pre/suffixes, nor could they phonetically sound them out); the whole language programs move away from these skills. The goal of Socratic inquiry, however, is critical thinking that leads to a differentiation of specifics (words representing ideas).;Empirical thought means proving specifics---and these students could only muster generalities (like, "stuff, things, and you know"). The focus of my questioning then became toward textual evidence to support their statements; herein, the second major stumbling block to critical thinking was uncovered. These students couldn't/wouldn't comprehend what they had read, since previous teachers bought into their, "I don't know's" and simply told students which facts to memorize for the test.;The third major roadblock wasn't blatantly obvious from the tapings---until the student essays' were contrasted with the way they spoke; they didn't write in complete sentences, only clips of vague phrases made it onto the paper (instead of concrete evidence). Therefore, grammar needed to be remediated---in a literature oriented course designed to teaching critical thinking skills and advanced written composition skills.;Since, advanced skill levels of the language are all inexorably tied together, and thinking skills can't advance without these sequential reading and writing foundations, my implications sections of chapter seven address this breakdown of foundational skills that are out of the secondary curricular alignment picture.;The conclusions to this study reveal that not only can questioning skills be honed and improved via videotaping, but also that larger educational concerns can be tied to individual classroom practices recursively.