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Higher order questions
• Up to 3 per lesson is usually enough
• Move from what? and when?
• - to how? and why?
• Use sparingly
• Can be spiced up with games – millionaire
An alternative to recall
• Answers – not questions
• Recall questions by their very nature tend
to be closed and dominate the
beginnings/ends of lessons. An alternative
to recall is to provide students with
answers and get them to devise the
original question. This provides a
reasonable starter activity.
• Students create own questions for revision
Hot spot- oral questioning
• A student is selected to sit on the ‘Hot spot’
• Other members of the group direct questions
• You cannot say ‘don’t know’, but can
nominate another member of the group to
• A league table is created where students
keep track of their scores.
• Hot spot pairings could be less threatening
than an individual student
• Use a stopwatch to keep pace up.
• Write in back of book
• Mini whiteboards
• Traffic lights/thumbs up or down
• Discuss answer with partner
• For classroom display
• Why would we want to know that?
• What are the alternatives?
• Could you tell me more about…?
• How can we prioritise?
• Is that always so?
• What would we like to find out?
• Is there another way/ reason/ idea?
• Where is there another example of this?
• Would you summarise …. Please?
• What would we have done had we been
Framing the question
• Apologise for asking – “I’m sorry to ask,
• Ask for help – “ Can you help me with this
• Allow choice in their answer
These techniques may help to initiate
cooperation from a student
• Position yourself carefully when
questioning - Can you distribute your
questions evenly from where you are
• Think about body language and frame of
mind/tone of voice– what message does
• Vary the ways in which you want pupils
to respond to your questions – give
everyone a chance to contribute their
• Listen carefully to answers
• Allow thinking time after the answer is
given – so that more thoughtful responses
Top Ten Tips
1. · Prepare key questions to ask;
2. · Ask fewer and better questions;
3. · Use appropriate language and content;
4. · Distribute questions around the class;
5. · Give pupils “thinking time” to respond to questions, and
pause between them;
6. · Use questions to make progressive cognitive demands;
7. · Prompt pupils, give cues;
8. · Use pupils’ responses ~ even incorrect ones;
9. · Encourage pupils to ask questions;
10. · Listen, and acknowledge pupils’ responses positively.
What to do now
• Vary how you ask questions
• Write 3 higher order questions each lesson for a
series of lessons ( share these with colleagues)
• Limit recall /closed questions in your lessons
• No hands rule
• Try out software to choose your ‘victim’
• Stick prompts to your wall where you can see them clearly
• Try out a game you haven't used before (To share)
• Allow more thinking time and discussion in pairs
• Get students to ask more questions in their work