Inquiry Questions and Metacognition

One of the most important goals of teaching is fostering “Metacognition,” making implicit student thinking processes explicit for the students. One approach to this is teaching Inquiry Questions. All student work is going to be an answer to questions, and so getting students to become aware of the questions they are answering helps to create cohesion and meaningfulness to their learning. Here are two examples:

(1) This essay is called “The Justified Lie By The Johannine Jesus In Its Greco-Roman-Jewish Context.” The Inquiry Questions it is answering are: (i) Does the Gospel of John portray Jesus as lying? (ii) If so, why would the writer portray such a thing? See:

(2) This essay is called “A Critique of the Penal Substitution Interpretation of the Cross of Christ.” The Inquiry Questions it is answering are: Our oldest faith statement of the cross is from the Corinthian creed/poetry Paul quotes that “Christ Died For Our Sins.” Does this mean Christ died (i) to pay our sin debt, or (ii) to make our hidden sin nature conspicuous to inspire transformation and repentance? See:

In the above cases, seeing how student writing not only has a specific form (eg recount, report, narrative, etc), but also has an unfolding thesis, theme, etc, and blossoms forth in the context of inquiry questions, students not only find greater purpose in their work, but also become better thinkers as their cognitive strategies and approaches go from implicit to explicit.