Effective questioning techniques


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Questioning tips

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Effective questioning techniques

  1. 1. Effective Questioning Techniques 1. Prepare your students for extensive questioning. Teachers who use lots of questions in a classroom might have to justify their use of questioning to students. Some students conclude that questions imply evaluation, monitoring, and efforts to control students. Students need to know that questions seek clarification and elaboration of students ideas in order to make their thinking visible, and to help the teacher address misconceptions. 2. Use both pre-planned and emerging questions. Prepare your discussion by identifying the goal and pre-plan a number of questions that will help achieve the goal. Recall that there are a number of discussion types designed to introduce new concepts, focus the discussion on certain items, steer the discussion in specific directions, or identify student knowledge level on the topic. Questions derived from the discussion itself can help guide the discussion. 3. Use a wide variety of questions. It is best to begin a discussion by asking divergent questions, and moving to convergent questions as the goal is approached. Questions should be asked that require a broad range of intellectual (higher and lower order) thinking skills. Use Blooms Taxonomy or Rhodes Typology for a guide to the type of questions you can ask. Avoid using simple YES or NO type questions as they encourage students to respond without fully thinking through an idea. 4. Avoid the use of rhetorical questions. Rhetorical questions are those to which answers are already known, or merely seek affirmation of something stated previously such as the following: Right?, Dont you?, Correct?, Okay?, and Yes? More often than not, rhetorical questions are unintentional, and are suggestive of habit or nervousness. 5. State questions with precision. Poor wording and the use of rapid-fire, multiple questions related to the same topic can result in confusion. Easy does it. Repeat the question, and explain it in other words if students dont seem to understand. One question at a time or else students wont know how to respond. 6. Pose whole-group questions unless seeking clarification. Direct questions to the entire class. Handle incomplete or unclear responses by reinforcing what is correct and then asking follow-up questions. Ask for additional details, seek clarification of the answer, or ask the student to justify a response. Redirect the question to the whole group of the desired response is not obtained. 7. Use appropriate wait time. Wait time encourages all students to think about the response, as they do not know who is going to be called upon to answer the question. The teacher can significantly enhance the analytic and problem-solving skills of students by allowing sufficient wait times before responding, both after posing a question and after the answer is given. This allows everyone to think about not only the question but also the response provided by the student. Three
  2. 2. to five seconds in most cases; longer in some, maybe up to 10 seconds for higher-order questions. 8. Select both volunteers and non-volunteers to answer questions. Female students frequently take longer to respond; give them adequate time to do so. Picking on the student who is first to raise his or her hand will often leave many students uninvolved in the discussion. Some teachers use a randomized approach where they pick student names from a hat, so to speak. This ensures equitable participation, and keeps students intellectually engaged. 9. Respond to answers provided by students. Listen carefully to your students as they respond; let them finish their responses unless they are completely missing the point. "Echo" their responses in your own words. Acknowledge correct answers and provide positive reinforcement. Identify incorrect responses and ask for alternative explanations from other students. Repeat student answers when the other students have not heard the answers. 10. Maintain a positive class atmosphere. Not all students will be completely clear in their thinking or enunciation and, invariably, some wont be paying attention. Nevertheless, avoid the use of sarcasm, unreasonable reprimands, accusations, and personal attacks. 11. Throw back student questions. Sometimes student will restate the teachers questions in their own words and ask the teacher for a response -- getting the teacher to do the intellectual work. When such an event occurs, restate the question, and pose it to the class. 12. Interrelate previous comments. As the discussion moves along, be certain to interrelate previous student comments in an effort to draw a conclusion. Avoid doing the work of arriving at a conclusion for your student. 13. Restate discussion goal periodically. Sometimes the purpose of a discussion will become clouded, and even go off topic. Periodically restate the goal of the discussion so that it is clearly before the students. It is particularly important to ask questions near the end of your discussion that help make it clear whether or not the goal has been achieved. Identify areas in need of clarification. 14. Take your time. Hard intellectual work takes considerable effort, and students might not be terribly familiar with the thought processes required to draw conclusions. Much of there education might have required them merely to parrot back things previously told them. Dont give up on students. If a discussion is worth doing at all, it is worth doing correctly. 15. Equitably select students. Remember that males have a tendency to "jump up and shout out" responses whereas females tend to be more circumspect and, therefore, delayed in responding. Control situations where inequitable responding is likely to occur.Applying Bloom’s TaxonomyThe goal of classroom questioning is not to determine whether students have learned something (aswould be the case in tests, quizzes, and exams),but rather to guide students to help them learnnecessary information and material. Questions should be used to teach students rather than to just teststudents!
  3. 3. Teachers frequently spend a great deal of classroom time testing students through questions. In fact,observations of teachers at all levels of education reveal that most spend more than 90 percent of theirinstructional time testing students (through questioning). And most of the questions teachers ask aretypically factual questions that rely on short-term memory Many years ago, an educator named Benjamin Bloom developed a classification system we now refer toas Blooms Taxonomy to assist teachers in recognizing their various levels of question-asking (amongother things). The system contains six levels, which are arranged in hierarchical form, moving from thelowest level of cognition (thinking) to the highest level of cognition (or from the least complex to the mostcomplex)KnowledgeThis is the lowest level of questions and requires students to recall information. Knowledge questionsusually require students to identify information in basically the same form it was presented. Someexamples of knowledge questions include … “What is the biggest city in Japan?” “Who wrote War and Peace?” “How many ounces in a pound?”Words often used in knowledge questions include know, who, define, what, name, where ,list, and whenComprehensionSimply stated, comprehension is the way in which ideas are organized into categories. Comprehensionquestions are those that ask students to take several bits of information and put them into a singlecategory or grouping. These questions go beyond simple recall and require students to combine datatogether. Some examples of comprehension questions include … “How would you illustrate the water cycle?” “What is the main idea of this story?” “If I put these three blocks together, what shape do they form?”Words often used in comprehension questions include describe, use your own words, outline ,explain,discuss, and compare.ApplicationAt this level, teachers ask students to take information they already know and apply it to a new situation.In other words, they must use their knowledge to determine a correct response. Some examples ofapplication questions include … “How would you use your knowledge of latitude and longitude to locate Greenland?” “What happens when you multiply each of these numbers by nine?” “If you had eight inches of water in your basement and a hose, how would you use the hose to get the water out?”Words often used in application questions include apply, manipulate, put to use, employ, dramatize,demonstrate, interpret, and choose.
  4. 4. AnalysisAn analysis question is one that asks a student to break down something into its component parts. Toanalyze requires students to identify reasons, causes, or motives and reach conclusions orgeneralizations. Some examples of analysis questions include … “What are some of the factors that cause rust?” “Why did the United States go to war with England?” “Why do we call all these animals mammals?”Words often used in analysis questions include analyze, why, take apart, diagram, draw conclusions,simplify, distinguish, and survey.SynthesisSynthesis questions challenge students to engage in creative and original thinking. These questions invitestudents to produce original ideas and solve problems. Theres always a variety of potential responses tosynthesis questions. Some examples of synthesis questions include … “How would you assemble these items to create a windmill?” “How would your life be different if you could breathe under water?” “Construct a tower one foot tall using only four blocks.” “Put these words together to form a complete sentence.”Words often used in synthesis questions include compose, construct, design, revise, create, formulate,produce, and plan.EvaluationEvaluation requires an individual to make a judgment about something. We are asked to judge the valueof an idea, a candidate, a work of art, or a solution to a problem. When students are engaged in decision-making and problem-solving, they should be thinking at this level. Evaluation questions do not have singleright answers. Some examples of evaluation questions include … “What do you think about your work so far?” “What story did you like the best?” “Do you think that the pioneers did the right thing?” “Why do you think Benjamin Franklin is so famous?”Words often used in evaluation questions include judge, rate, assess, evaluate, What is the best …,value,criticize, and compareWhat does all this mean? Several things, actually! It means you can ask your students several differentkinds of questions. If you only focus on one type of question, your students might not be exposed tohigher levels of thinking necessary to a complete understanding of a topic. If, for example, you only askstudents knowledge-based questions, then your students might think that learning (a specific topic) isnothing more than the ability to memorize a select number of facts.You can use this taxonomy to help craft a wide range of questions—from low-level thinking questions tohigh-level thinking questions. If variety is the spice of life, you should sprinkle a variety of question typesthroughout every lesson, regardless of the topic or the grade level you teach.
  5. 5. Blooms Taxonomy is not grade-specific. That is, it does not begin at the lower grades (kindergarten, first,second) with knowledge and comprehension questions and move upward to the higher grades (tenth,eleventh, twelfth) with synthesis and evaluation questions. The six levels of questions are appropriate forall grade levels.Perhaps most important, students tend to read and think based on the types of questions they anticipatereceiving from the teacher. In other words, students will tend to approach any subject as a knowledge-based subject if they are presented with an overabundance of knowledge-level questions throughout alesson. On the other hand, students will tend to approach a topic at higher levels of thinking if they arepresented with an abundance of questions at higher levels of thinkingRead more on TeacherVision:http://www.teachervision.fen.com/teaching-methods/new-teacher/48445.html#ixzz2Kdw1zixaFollow us:TeacherVision on Facebook