PIDP 3250 Questioning

Facilitating student discussion through questioning can be one of the most challenging aspects of teaching. I realize, following the forum discussion, that it is not only important to ask questions, but to ask the RIGHT questions that will promote students higher level thinking skills. The forum discussion led me to question if I am meeting the needs of my students? Am I questioning them enough , challenging them enough? Through good questions, am I ensuring my students think?
‘The questioning process is an essential part of instruction in that it allows teachers to monitor student competence and understanding as well as increase thought-provoking discussion.’ (Cooper, 2010,p.192)
The forum discussion really made me think about the value of questioning in the classroom and how it can be used to engage students in the learning process. Thinking can only begin when questions are asked. In addition, I understand that questioning has the added benefit of creating an environment where students are actively engaged in the learning process. I have learnt that my role is to encourage class discussions through questioning. Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy is a good model to refer to when trying to create appropriate questions. Following this model will help create questions that can be used to help students recall facts, analyze those facts, synthesize new information based on the facts, and evaluate their knowledge. I have a better understanding that there is a process and structure to asking effective questions. As an instructor I need to carefully select the correct type of question; provide the students with sufficient time to organize their thoughts before they offer a response. I need to further prompt discussion; and summarize key points discussed at the end to clarify what had been said and reinforce understanding. To be effective, all questions, should be brief, easy to understand. When asking questions. I absolutely must avoid asking questions that require a “yes” or “no” or one word answer.
An additional key element gained from the forum is the necessity to increase ‘wait time’ or time given to students to assimilate the information and respond to the question. Increasing ‘wait time’ can elicit a greater overall response, and also increase the amount of high level responses to questions asked. The key to powerful thinking is powerful questioning. When asking the right questions, I can help produce success in the thinker. Learners need to feel that I am willing and able to answer their questions. Teachers can say that they are welcome to questions, but if their responses to them are stumbling, incoherent, or a show of avoidance; this destroys the credibility of the teachers’ expertise. We must respond clearly, quickly, and knowledgeably to requests for clarification or further information.
I learned early on in my teaching experience that teachers need to praise a student when they make the time and effort to ask a question. This contribution to class should be respected and recognized with positive feedback. When students ask questions, it shows they are engaged in learning, when teachers ask questions it shows they care about the student’s learning.
Well placed questions help guide a discussion and gain insight into their knowledge or understanding of a concept. Student answers can help focus the lesson and further questioning. A good guided discussion allows the teacher to control the conversation. Effective questions allow teachers to look at the student decision making or thought process and assess gaps in knowledge or misconceptions. It is important for teachers not to answer their own questions. I will strive to formulate effective questions in the classroom setting. I will place questions in strategic places in my lesson plan to guide discussion and assess student knowledge. I will think about how to formulate and word the question so students can easily understand and interpret the question. I will use open and closed questions strategically and scaffold the questions so that they build on the answers to previous questions.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning (Albert Einstein)


Cooper,R. (2010). Those Who Can Teach. (12th ed). Massachusetts: Wadsworth Cengage Learning


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