Questioning Techniques

This forum started this week and was filled with lots of good information. Questions can be in the form of open or closed ended questions. Open questions allow for elaboration and allow one to express their knowledge, opinions, and feelings. Closed ended questions are limited and narrow one’s responses. I was only aware of either open or closed ended questions, I had no idea there were anymore. There are different types of questions utilized depending on the response desired:

Leading Questions – lead respondent to particular answers

Probing Questions – force respondent to think more deeply and be more specific

Funneling Questions – begin with open ended questions that gradually become more closed (answers become more restrictive)

Rhetorical Questions – characterized as questions that do not require a response

I never knew there were so many different kinds of questions. I ask my students questions in every lesson. I use open-ended questions beginning with “what, why and how”. I always leave time for students to respond before I speak again but sometimes there’s no response. So, I begin again asking the question in a slightly different way. Also at the beginning of a new course (when nobody knows each other) I use “icebreaker” questions to encourage discussions. Asking questions in education is a necessity to encourage discussions and it makes students feel more comfortable by encouraging them to participate.

This video on “What questions did you ask today?” was posted in the forum and it was great. I had no idea that as we age, we ask less questions.  When we’re small we question everything because we have the curiosity to learn.  Do we lose this curiosity as we age or are we content with not asking any questions even if we don’t know something or is it that we just don’t care? I think as instructors, if we’re life-long learners, we continue to ask questions as we mature. I find this sort of disturbing that as we mature we stop asking questions. Have we lost our curiosity?

As teachers we ask questions but we should promote questions and inquiry by our students.  Asking questions essentially is being curious.  Curiosity is the cornerstone of learning. Curiosity leads to deeper reflection, critical thinking and a search for new understanding or potential solutions.  Here’s a great TED Talk about how this biology teacher promotes curiosity in his students.

3 Rules to spark learning:

  1. Curiosity comes first
  2. Embrace the mess
  3. Practice Reflection

I also like the fact that “students questions are the seeds to learning” as well. I really enjoy it when students ask questions. Asking questions shows they’re listening well enough to ask something relevant and that’s always a good thing.


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