Questioning Techniques

I’ve enjoyed this forum as well and it’s also closing tomorrow. This is a great article on Asking Effective Questions. It seems to include many of the topics discussed in the forum all in one article.

To recap some points in this article:

  1. Anticipate student thinking: enables teachers to anticipate and plan
  2. Link to learning goals: ask a question that links back to the curriculum
  3. Pose open questions: helps the teacher build student confidence
  4. Pose questions that actually need to be answered: instead of rhetorical questions, use questions that elicit more information
  5. Incorporate verbs that elicit higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: verbs such as connect, elaborate, evaluate, or justify
  6. Pose questions that open up conversation to include others: pose questions that lead to group or class discussions
  7. Keep questions neutral: don’t classify questions as easy or hard as some students may become fearful of answering
  8. Provide wait time: allow at least 3 or more seconds for students to answer

This video on Questioning and Discussion Techniques  says that the main purpose of asking questions in the classroom is to check for students understanding and comprehension. There could be some challenges to asking questions to a group of students as the instructor may be unable to identify whether the whole class understands the material or not? It offers different ways to engage students in questions.

Asking for several examples or viewpoints – “Does someone else have a different opinion”

No opting out for students – supports repetition of material

100% correct – answers are correct and instructor helps bring 100% accuracy

Form inner/outer circles – outer circle asks questions and inner circle answers

Four corners – create four corners in the classroom with different questions/focus

Philosophical chairs – students take different perspectives

Socrative Seminar – student-led discussions

Placemat – student think individually and then form a consensus to find a middle ground

This article on 5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students suggests keeping it simple when asking questions in the classroom.

  1. What do you think?
  2. Why do you think that?
  3. How do you know this?
  4. Can you tell me more?
  5. What questions do you still have?

It has been mentioned in other forums as well, to remember to keep silent and wait for the response. One method they did suggest for engaging students in questions was asking a question, pause and then invite students to “turn and talk” to a neighbour first before sharing with the group. This helps quieter students to gain confidence in their ability to answer questions to the group.

This video provides various questioning techniques. The student must stop and think how to answer the questions more accurately to portray his thoughts.

Questions of Clarification: “Why do you say that?” “Can you explain…?”

Probing Assumptions: “Is this always the case?”

Probing Reasons and Evidence: “Is there reason to doubt this evidence?”

Probing Viewpoint and Perspective: “Did anyone see this another way?”

Probing Implications and Consequences: “If events followed a different order, what would happen?”

Questions about the Question: “Why do you think I asked this particular question?”

These questions create deeper thinking on a relatively easy topic.

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