The Question Matrix

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In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday...
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This is a blog about questioning students in lessons.

A couple of years ago, I first blogged about Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce! If you are not familiar with this superb questioning strategy, then I would strongly recommend that you download my resource for your classroom. Then read the supporting blog to explain the resource in fuller detail. Download the PDF here.

I take my Pose Pause Pounce Bounce inspiration from a CPD event led by HMI inspector Pam Fearnley who, after 7 years of searching, finally crossed paths once again at the ASCL conference last week.

In my adaptation of PPPB, I added my own twist to teacher-questioning, by introducing the characters from Winnie The Pooh. This was taken from two great books written by Benjamin Hoff; The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet. Books I once read for pleasure at university. The books take an Eastern belief system of Taoism for Westerners.

My resource can be downloaded below.

Pose Pause Pounce Bounce PPPB

Full Circle

As a result of sharing my interpretation of PPPB, geography teacher @JohnSayers then wrote this blog; Asking Questions and tweaked the resource into this useful matrix. He formed this on the basis of socratic questioning which has a 6-step process:

• to clarify
• to challenge assumption
• to evidence for an argument
• to gather viewpoints and perspectives
• to predict implications and consequences
• to question the question.


I firmly believe John’s blog and interpretation of Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce is why the questioning matrix is so popular today.

Speed Dating CPD

Last term, I organised a Speed Dating style-CPD event for our teaching staff. The winning idea was a Questioning Matrix resource shared by a colleague. This idea – throughout the speed-dating event, received the most number of votes from other colleagues. It proved very popular. After the event, I met with my colleague to discuss the resource in greater detail, and to determine how the idea could be rolled out across the school into every classroom.

Speed Dating CPD Bring and Brag
Staff speed dating.

The teacher provided a range of templates to enable students and teachers to make their own questioning dice. On closer investigation, the resource included the following powerpoint resource developed by @Mr_Haines.

 Questioning Matrix PPPB Speed Dating

As Jon Haines shares in his subject slides, deeper questioning and anticipated deeper response are developed from top left to bottom right. Teachers must ask pupils to describe a variety of aspects of the photo through developing and asking quality questions and encouraging quality dialogue. Students can develop their own questions by choosing a word from the left-most column followed by a word from the top row. For example,

  • What Is…
  • How Could…
  • How Will…
  • Why Might…
  • How Might…

A subject image can then be applied to each question matrix.

Questioning Matrix PPPB

@Mr_Haines‘s work was inspired by @johnsayers who was inspired by @TeacherToolkit who was inspired by Pam Fearnley. I believe her work may have been inspired by Dylan Wiliam who shared the idea of PPPB in this video. This proves that great teaching ideas evolve and can stand the test of time.

At School

We plan to manufacture the resource and push this out across the school next term. We hope that we will actually manufacture the questioning matrix into an actual wooden dice for classroom teachers. It may look like this, but will include the full text from the questioning matrix.

This resource can be download here; Question Matrix Examples, by @Mr_Haines

Question Matrix @Mr_Haines


Credit: Pam Fearnley (for PPPB idea via Pupils First Ltd.)

10 thoughts on “The Question Matrix

  1. Pose, Pause, Pounce: around 15 years ago I heard of this from my dad who was in the military as that;s one way they train instructors. The ‘Bounce’ add on is great. LOVE the question matrix! Honestly, that can just go up on the wall and students (or any person in the world doing any research project) will surely benefit from beginning there. I’m going to use it today! I’ve a huge amount of enthusiasm for this great collaborative thinking and resource sharing across teaching. Isn’t this fun!

  2. I have been using pppb successfully this year and shared it with colleagues. This matrix is excellent and I’m sure will become another mainstay. Thanks so much for sharing – don’t stop!

  3. The use if Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce (PPPB) seems to have taken a really interesting turn here. I have used it during my educational practices in schools and can successfully say that it works, especially with children who often contribute minimally in class discussions and questioning. It allows them to be involved and they are aware of the support of their peers and the teacher. The use of the Question Matrix appears to be really powerful and I will certainly be using it in my future teaching practice.
    One thing that would be interesting to see if whether the children could use it to question one another on a topic rather than the teacher questioning the children. An example of this may be using at the start of a topic; to elicit what the children know and get the children to formulate their own questions to research or ask one another. Margutti (2006) comments that the use of questioning by teachers is a very powerful tool for learning. This supports the Question Matrix, as judging by the comments and the overall receiving of the model; it has been welcomed warmly and successfully infiltrated into the Primary classroom.


    Margutti, P. (2006). “Are you human beings?” Order and knowledge construction through questioning in primary classroom interaction . Lingustics and Education. 17 (4), 313-346.

  4. Hello, I am close to finishing my BEd (Primary) degree and have been searching for how this question matrix actually plays out in an upper primary classroom. Thank you!! This powerpoint is perfect for explaining Weiderhold’s (1991) Question Matrix. I can see how it is perfect as a brainstorming tool at the beginning of, or during an inquiry unit. My question is, could it also be used as an assessment indicator for the level of thinking a student can show?

    Many thanks! I’ve just followed your Twitter feed too – looking forward to more amazing sharing.

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