Book Review: Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding, by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins

Essential QuestionsMcTighe and Wiggins effectively and succinctly define, explain, and pave the way toward a culture of inquiry that may be applied to virtual any field of learning. Rather than focusing merely on rote memorization and regurgitation of material for exams to be graded based solely on “right or wrong” answers, we aid our students (and one another) by considering larger concerns—what McTighe and Wiggins call Essential Questions, those that require continued thought and inquiry. By encouraging better thinkers, we encourage better learners and doers. Packed with helpful charts, examples, Q&As, problems and resolutions that address a number of fields (the arts, English, history, literature, and mathematics, to name a few) this will prove to be helpful for any educator, regardless of field, venue, and age/level of student. I recommend this book as a “must read” for any educator, and I would go so far as to encourage students to read it, as well. It will likely cause a complete reassessment of one’s own teaching and learning experience!

A fellow teacher gave me the gift of Essential Questions by McTighe and Wiggins when I was sitting in on a brainstorming and planning session he and my wife were having in preparation for a class they are tag-teaming. He has several copies on a bookshelf in his office, I imagine just for this purpose, and I’m grateful for being one of the recipients!

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