Asking Questions: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?
a. To spark interest
b. To solve any misunderstanding
c. To check student progress on the topic
II. How do we ask questions?
b. Open ended and engaging
III. Check out these videos for additional information on asking questions in the classroom:
Asking questions is a proven part of effective teaching; however, not all questions contribute to this effectiveness. Often teachers are found asking students questions that confuse the students or, even worse, close out the opportunity for further explanation. It is important to provide the students with a question that can be answered in a manner that will spark additional interest, in addition to, settling any confusion regarding the lesson.
Checking understanding is one of the main reason teachers must ask questions, as this "benefits the teacher more than the student," (The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom). In addition to checking for understanding, questions also spark interest and solve any unspoken questions for other students. According to Ben Johnson, a commonly asked question is "Does everybody understand?" While this may seem like a harmless question, we are only providing our students with a yes or no response option, if they even choose to respond.
How we ask our questions and what questions we ask alter the outcome of what the student may gain from the lesson being taught. Maryellen Weimer, PhD provides us with three ways to improve our questioning strategies. Step one is to prepare your questions ahead of time. Preparation not only keeps you on track, but also keeps you from missing a vital point in the lesson. Secondly, it is important to "play with" questions. Don't just simply ask questions, provide an entertaining and educational way of getting students involved. This can be as simple as placing the questions on a poster or PowerPoint to attract the students visually and intellectually. Lastly, Weimer advises us to preserve our good questions. When a good question is asked, it engages the students and may even provide the students with an additional lesson. It is important to save these questions, as they can be revised and added to for future classes.
Questions asked in the classroom should not be yes or no, but open-ended. Open ended questions give the opportunity for discussion, and possibly a different perspective for students whom were unable to grasp the concept originally. Open ended questions also give the teacher the ability to check the progress of her class, and possibly learn something as well.
Teachers in the classroom are not only there to educate, but to be educated; and the best way for this to happen is through questions. Not just any questions, but effective questions. To find more information on how to ask questions, check out these educational blogs: