Effective Questioning Strategies

5 Strategies to Stimulate Learning By Asking Questions

questioning
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To help students develop skills of inquiry that will go beyond what they do in the classroom, then you must improve the way you question your students. Questions are the foundation of teaching. A good question asked by you, the teacher, can make a huge impact on your students' educational success. If you are looking to improve your effectiveness of teaching, then start with these five strategies to stimulate learning in your classroom.

          1. Ask the "Right" Questions

There are four specific things that you must do to ask the right questions in your classroom. They are:

  • Plan what you are going to ask
  • Keep it simple and to the point
  • Don't "fish" for an answer
  • Ask open and closed-ended questions

The first thing that you will need to do is plan ahead for what you are going to ask students. Think about your objective. Do you want students to master a concept or do you want them to use their critical thinking skills? You can use Bloom's Taxonomy and scaffold your questions so students will use their higher order thinking skills. You can combine these types of questions with closed-ended questions to access students comprehension skills.

          2. Respond Appropriately

There are three specific strategies that you must apply in order to respond effectively to students. They are to:

  • Give students a few minutes to think about what you asked
  • Sit and listen to their answer without interrupting them
  • Show that you are interested in what they have to say even when you do not agree

The first thing that you need to do is give students a few seconds or even minutes to formulate an answer. Give them time to think without interrupting them. Then you have to act interested in what they have to say even if you do not agree with their answer.

Show them that you are excited to hear what they have to say. If a student gives a weak answer then follow up with another prompting question to get even more information out of them.

          3. Use Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy provides teachers with an effective way to think about how to develop their questions. Its unique structure encourages students to think on a variety of different levels. Each level allows for teachers to construct both open or closed-ended questions that engage all students of all levels and abilities. Starting from the bottom, the levels are as follows:

  • Remember – recognizing, identifying
  • Understand – interrupt, classify, summarize
  • Apply – execute, implement
  • Analyze – differentiate, organize, attribute
  • Evaluate – check, critique
  • Create – generate, plan, produce

          4. Incorporate Cooperative Learning Activities

Strategies like think-pair-share and the jigsaw are great activities for students to think about the question that is being asked, then share their answers with their peers. These strategies are a great way for students to access their higher order thinking skills.

          5. Redirect, Probe, and Ask Open-Ended Questions

A teacher's response is just as important as the question that is being asked.

You must redirect the student if the answer is wrong, then you must probe them for a further explanation. Ask open-ended questions the majority of the time versus close-ended questions because open-ended questions allow students to see other perspectives, and they prompt students to use their prior knowledge and connect information. They encourage classroom discussion and keep students engaged in the learning process.

Effective teachers use both open-ended and close-ended questions in their classroom. However, open-ended questions are deemed more effective if you want to get your students talking more.