PIDP 3250 Questioning technique

“Teachers use questioning and discussion to assess the effectiveness of their teaching and promote pupils’ learning”

From the forum postings, I was able to deduce that there is a right way to ask students questions in the classroom. A key point learnt is that we need to ask ourselves, “What is the goal of the question? What do we expect the class to learn from the questioning process?” I discovered by asking the students, “Do you understand?” I am really telling the students, “Ok, this is your last chance, if you don’t ask any questions, then you understand completely, and I will move onto the next subject.” I can now appreciate that the mistake with this way of thinking is that sometimes the students do not understand that they do not understand, and consequently there is no way that they can ask a question about it. I need to ask specific questions to my students.
A simple, yet sophisticated questioning technique that was brought to my attention on the forum was Pose, Pause, Bounce, Pounce. It is a great strategy to improve questioning and the quality of responses, and it promotes student engagement.

Quick summary of

Step Action
One Pose your question – one that is worth their reflection.
Two Pause – do not be afraid of the silence…count to 5 and perhaps to 10…
Three Bounce – call on a student at random (see below for two techniques). This first student (student A) will
respond…you may need to wait…refrain from jumping in…you may need to insist he/she responds.
Four Pounce – after student A’s answer quickly call on another student randomly (student B) and ask him/her
their opinion of student A’s response – even if student A’s response was incorrect.

Some key points learnt thus far on questioning techniques:

How do questions promote learning?
• Good questions stimulate thinking, and generate more questions to clarify understanding.
• Good questions reveal misconceptions and misunderstanding, but also understanding
• Good questions encourage learners to make links.
• Good questions push learners to the limit of their understanding.
• Good questions offer opportunities for learners to hear others’ answers to questions, it helps them to reflect on
their own understanding.

Questioning can fail because:
• questioning techniques are inappropriate for the material.
• students don’t have enough thinking time.
• learners fear being seen by their peers to be wrong.
• questions are too difficult.
• questions are too easy.

Questioning succeeds when:
• all learners get a chance to answer.
• learners can see how others are thinking.
• teachers gain information about thinking and learning.
• learners have time to consider their answers.
• learners have time to discuss and follow up on their answers.
• the answers are not always clear-cut.
• learners feel safe to answer.
• questions stimulate more questions.
• questions stimulate thinking.


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