The Wondering Litmus Test

The Wondering Litmus Test


Adapted from:
Dana and Yendol-Hoppey, The Reflective Educator, p 64

Purpose:
To assist teams in determining if a wondering for teacher inquiry is worthy of explorations and if it is worded in such a way that it will be valuable for the team. The litmus test is a series of questions for teams to consider so they might reframe and refine their wondering or PBL essential question. As the team considers the questions, if they offer “stories”, tensions and/or enthusiasm for the wondering may be exposed. The goal is to play with the wording of the wondering or essential question. The litmus test questions may be used in any order, perhaps just some or not at all, to help reveal passions about the proposed inquiry.

Process:
In a synchronous meeting or in an asynchronous discussion, following a selection of an action research wondering, request the team think together on one or more of these questions:
  • Is the wondering specific?
  • Is the wondering focused on student learning?
  • Is the wondering a real question (a question whose answer is not known?)
  • Is the wondering a question about which the teacher is passionate?
  • Is the wondering a “how can” wondering?
  • Is the wondering free of judgmental language?
  • Is the wondering focused on the team own practices?
  • Is the wondering a dichotomous (yes/no) question?
  • Is the wondering clear and concise?
  • Is your wondering doable?



Ask if folks will share stories around their replies and ask questions that will help them to play with reframing or rewording their wondering.

Dana and Yendol-Hoppey have created a guide for implementing a litmus test for action research that may be helpful.

https://inq.education.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Wondering-Litmus-Test.pdf



In a synchronous meeting or in an asynchronous discussion, following a selection of an essential question for a PBL unit, request the team think together on one or more of these questions:
  • Is the essential question a real question (a question whose answer is not known?)
  • Is the question a question about which the teacher is passionate?
  • Is the question a “how can” or “what” or “should” or “how do” or“could” question?
  • Does the question spark curiosity and sense of wonder?
  • Does answering the question take time, it is complex?
  • Does the question go to the heart of the discipline or topic?
  • Does the question engage students in real life problem-solving?
  • Does the question lend itself to multidisciplinary investigations?


Ask if folks will share stories around their replies and ask questions that will help them to play with reframing or rewording their question.