Teacher Perceptions of Elasticity in Student Questioning


  • Brian Stone
  • Rachael Pearson


Elasticity, the capacity for students to explore or investigate their own questions of interest during or after teacher-directed events in the classroom, is highly beneficial for students in terms of their retention and deeper understanding of the content. An elastic environment is childcentered and inquiry-based. An inelastic environment (teacher-directed) results in students refraining from asking, investigating, or exploring their interests/curiosities. Teachers’ perceptions of their classroom environments become an important consideration when evaluating their ability to enact elastic explorations. In this pilot study, teachers (two separate public-school districts) completed surveys describing perceptions of elasticity in their classrooms. Results indicate teachers’ high value for elasticity in learning, inquiry-based investigating, and authentic student questioning. However, most teachers describe their environments as highly inelastic due to multiple barriers including time, standards, testing, stress, and a lack of training. The authors discuss potential pathways for increasing elastic environments including teacher training, professional development, and administrative support. The authors also discuss the relationship
between teachers’ beliefs and developing an elastic classroom environment.