The Current Focus on Questioning
• In recent years educational
theorists have paid great attention
to questioning techniques in the
• Ofsted have now started to look
more closely at questioning.
• Our recent Challenge Partner
Review also paid close attention to
the use of questioning in the
Why Focus on Questioning?
In July 2003 TES published an article in their magazine stating that:
• “Teachers ask up to two questions every minute, up to
400 in a day, around 70,000 a year, or two to three million in
the course of a career. ”
• “Questioning accounts for up to a third of all teaching time,
second only to the time devoted to explanation.”
• “Most questions are answered in less than a second. That's the
average time teachers allow between posing a question and
accepting an answer, throwing it to someone else, or
answering it themselves.”
The Importance of Questioning
Questioning has the ability to:
• assess understanding;
• challenge understanding
• support understanding;
• develop knowledge;
• encourage active participation;
• improve confidence in public speaking.
Extracts from Ofsted Reports
‘Teachers’ questioning of learners is well-
developed, both to ensure the promotion of
learning and to address learners’ particular
‘Teachers ask probing questions to check progress
and support their good progress in lessons.’
Effective Questioning Techniques
Lots of different types of questioning can be
effective. Here are just a few examples.
• Often the students who put their hands up to
answer a question know the correct answer and
this can give a teacher a false representation of
the students’ level of understanding.
• Directed questioning can ensure that all students
are actively engaged in the lesson and contribute
to the class. It can also allow for differentiation to
take place and provides a more accurate
representation of the level of understanding of
the class as a whole.
Directed Questioning with a Twist
Directed questioning leading into students
developing each other’s answers:
• Rather than the teacher developing an individual
student’s answer, the teacher asks another
student to develop the answer given.
• This can support student engagement and
contribute to ensuring ‘no student is left
Encouraging Student Independence
The best form of questioning is that which
makes students think for themselves and find
their own answers/solutions.
The Stuck Menu
Students choose 3 strategies from ‘The Stuck Menu’ before putting up their hand
to ask for help...
1. Record what you have tried and the
question you have and move on.
2. Consult the student-led question and answer
board (students pose a question on the board and
if someone has the answer, they add it to the
3. Review previous learning and notes.
4. Use a text book/internet/smart-phone
5. Ask someone else in your group.
The notebook (also mode of self-assessment):
• Students can keep a record of questions they have
throughout the lesson.
• As a plenary or mid-plenary, students can share their
questions in groups and explore the answers the
• Each groups students can choose one question to
pose to the teacher, or the rest of the class.
• The notebook is also a mode of self-assessment and
for students to record their own uncertainties,
alongside the answers. This visibly demonstrates
Questioning Exercise as a Plenary
• As a plenary, students can write down one thing
they are confused about from the lesson on a
• Students will then post these on the whiteboard.
• The teacher or a student can then choose some
post-it notes at random and these questions can
then be posed to the rest of the class to answer.
• As a result, students are learning to use each
other as a resource rather depending upon the
• In your department time, think of a specific way
that you can use one or more of these ideas in
• Come up with one or more of your own
questioning techniques to contribute to the