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Mudasiru Olalere Yusuf (PhD)
Department of Educational Technology,
University of Ilorin
Questioning Lesson Map
I keep six honest
taught me all I knew);
Their names are
Rudyard Kipling 1902
A question is defined as any sentence which
has an interrogative form or function.
They are instructional cues or stimuli that
convey to students the content elements to
be learned and directions on what they are
to do and how they are to do it (Cotton, nd.).
The ability to ask and answer questions is
central to learning.
The use of questioning skills in a systematic
manner is important for interactive
investigation in any subject.
Classroom questions should be evaluated and
analyzed since questioning is an important
teacher behavior (Belland, Belland, & Price,
Purpose of Questions
To increase students’ participation in
their teaching-learning interaction.
To encourage students to think at
higher cognitive level.
To motivate students to search for new
To arouse the students’ interest and
their curiosity in the topic of
To develop the students’ active way of
thinking and learning.
Purpose of Questions (2)
To guide students in the process of
finding a good and correct answer.
To help students concentrate on the
topic under discussion.
To serve as a guide to students’
learning and demonstration of learning
To emphasize key points.
To ascertain students’ knowledge level
in a bid to modify instruction.
Types of Questions
Research on the questions teachers ask
shows that about 60 percent require only recall
of facts, 20 percent require students to think,
and 20 percent are procedural (Gall, Dunning, &
Weathersby, 1971). Generally there are always
Factual/ Higher Cognitive,
Low Order/ High Order, and
Low Inquiry/ High Inquiry.
Types of Questions (20
Questions are usually classified in
several ways. Popular classification include the
use of Bloom Taxonomy for Questions. The
modified Bloom Taxonomy of 2001 is also
Another popular questioning type is the
Blosser (2000) categorization into four types:
Original Bloom Taxonomy of Cognitive
Original and Modified Bloom Taxonomy of
Blosser (2000) Managerial
Blosser (2000) categorized questions into
four: Managerial, Rhetorical, Closed, or Open
Managerial: These are questions which keep the
classroom operations moving ,i.e., to move
activities (and students) toward the
desired goals for the lesson. Examples
include: “Are you all here with your
mathematical set and four-figure table”,
“Will you turn to page 12 of your
textbook”, “Who needs further assistance
on how to draw the graph” etc.
They are questions used to emphasize a
point or to reinforce an idea or statement.
E.g. “The green coloring matter in plants is called
“Last week we noted that there are three arms of
government: executive, legislature, and the
Rhetorical questions do not really require
students answers, however, students sometimes
respond to them. Common examples of words are:
“Who knows?” “Are you stupid?” “Did you hear
me?” “Ok?” “Why not?”
Questions to check retention or to focus
thinking on a particular point. They have limited
number of acceptable responses or “right answers.”
E.g.: “What is the chemical formula for water?”
“Nigeria got her independence from the colonial
masters in what year?”,
“If you add N5 to N15 what is the total sum?”
Also to: classify or pick out similarities and
differences, apply previously learned information
to a new problem, make a judgment using defined
standards. Common words include
do…, did…, can…, is…, are…, have…, will…, would…,
They are used to promote discussion or
student interaction and anticipate wide range of
acceptable responses rather than one or two
Draw on students’ past experiences and
cause them to give and justify their opinions,
infer or identify implications, formulate
hypotheses, and make judgments based on their
own values and standards. Words used are
how…., who…, what…, when…, where…,
describe…, explain…, in what way…, could you
tell us about…., how did you apply your training
to your work?
Other question types include: focusing,
leading/prompting, multiple, evaluative, justifying,
o Focusing Questions: They are used to focus
students’ attention on the day’s topic or lesson.
“How many of you have visited a market to buy
products?” To start an economics lesson on
demand and supply.
o Hypothetical Questions: These are questions
that set up a possible situation or problem and
ask the students for a possible course of action.
Example, “supposing there was no amalgamation
of Nigeria in 1914, how would the individual
nationalities fare today?”
Other Questions (2)
o Probing Questions: They are used to get under
the surface of an initial answer. Having got the
students talking the teacher can use probing
questions to bring out more detail. While the
same questions are asked of students, the use
of probing questions will vary according to the
student’s response. Examples of words used are
how, who, what, when, why, where, describe, exp
lain, in what way
o Alternative Questions: They are questions used
to help students make a decision. Example:
Between men and women who are the best
managers or least corrupt?
Other Questions (3)
o Broadening Questions: These are questions used to
introduce additional facts and to encourage analysis.
Examples are questions talking of differences or
o Evaluative Questions: They are questions that deal
with matters of judgment, values, or choice. Two
sides of the argument should be presented for
quality evaluative question. Example, “What do you
think are the advantages of solar power over coalfired electric plants? How would you feel if…..?
o Justifying Questions: These are questions used to
challenge the old ideas or develop new ideas, no right
or wrong answer. E.g. “Why should men pay dowry
when they complement with women to raise a new
Other Questions (4)
questions that suggest the expected answer.
They are used to guide students thinking and
should be used sparingly for moral or ethical
issues, because answer implies acceptance. E.g.
“Will you desist from stealing?”, “Of course, you
would want to investigate further wouldn’t you?”
o Multiple Questions: They questions with two or
more distinct parts, each requiring an answer.
“What do you think of the attempted declaration
of the Republic of Biafra? Do you support it or
not, why, and what other issues would you see as
being relevant to this specific case?”
Effective Questioning Techniques
Be clear and economical in the phrasing of
question. No double or multiple barrelled
Purpose should be clear in relation to the
topic. Tangential issue should not be focused.
Pose the question first, before asking a
student to respond.
Allow plenty of “think time” by waiting at
least 7-10 seconds before expecting students
Make sure you give all students the
opportunity to respond rather than relying on
Hold students accountable by expecting,
requiring and facilitating their participation
Effective Questioning Techniques (2)
Establish a safe atmosphere for risk taking
by guiding students in the process of
learning from their mistakes.
Encourage variety in the type and difficulty
levels of questions.
Encourage students to ask questions at any
Use redirection option by redirecting a
student’s question to other students
Give adequate consideration to all questions-never evade a question.
Scatter questions over the entire class.
Adapt questions to the level of the students
Use pre-planned and emerging questions.
Effective Questioning Techniques (3)
Avoid tricky questions and those that
require Yes or No response
Respond to answer questions asked by the
students as it can serve as reinforcement
Learn to carefully listen to students’
questions and answers.
Do not be ashamed of acknowledging
questions to avoid giving wrong answers.
Use questions for follow up study.
Use “APPLE” mnemonics (Professor I. M.
My favorite way to
remember how to use
Source: marter, I. M. (nd.)
• Ask the Question: Questions
should be prepared in your
lesson plan in advance.
• Pause: Let the learners think
about what you are asking.
Give the learners 3-5 seconds
in order to respond.
• Pick: Pick on a learner by
name to answer the question.
Do not always pick on the first
learner that raised his hand.
You may also pick on someone
that hasn't raised his hand in
order to force participation.
• Listen: Listen to the
answer, make eye contact with
the learner, provide effect
words* when the answer is
provided. Mix your effect
words, nothing sounds more
phony than an instructor that
always says "very good"
whenever a learner answers a
*Praise and/or encouragement words
• Expound and Explain the
learner's answer. Generate a
dialog based on the learner's
response. If the learner's
response was incorrect, redirect
the question back to the other
learners. "That's an interesting
response, but not the one I was
looking for, can anyone else
provide a different answer?"
“Judge a man by his questions
rather than by his answers”
Voltaire (1694 - 1778)
“It is better to know some of the
questions than all of the
James Thurber (1894 - 1961)
Belland, J. C., Belland, A., & Price, T. J. (1971). Analyzing teacher questions:
A comparative evaluation of two observation systems. Paper
presented at American Educational Research Association, New York,
Blosser,. P. E. (1975). How to ask the right questions. Washington, DC:
National Science. Teachers Association
Cotton, K. (nd.). Classroom questioning. North West Regional Educational
Draper, S. (2013). Taxonomies of learning aims and objectives: Bloom,
I. M. (nd.) Effective questioning. Retrieved from