How can you make the most of questioning in class?
Asking questions is the bread and butter business of being a teacher. Try these tips to vary your questioning techniques.
10 Questioning Strategies
- Make a statement and ask pupils to agree or disagree with you, justifying why.
- Ask a table to respond collectively to the rest of the class.
- Scan the room for the “right child” for the question.
- Pose a question for groups to discuss. Listen in and paraphrase back to the class on their behalf.
- Avoid questions which begin with “Who” (e.g. “Who can tell me…”, “Who wants to explain…”). These can provide an opt-in and opt-out vibe.
- Add “Why” or “How” once a response has been given, even if a response isn’t what you’d expected.
- Create optional choice questions (but be careful with the options you provide!).
- State something incorrect, asking pupils to prove why you are wrong.
- Vary questioning with lower order (recall questions) and higher order questions (thinking questions).
- Finally, don’t over question. Questions are a tool for your assessment and to generate thinking. Cherry pick your questions and remember, if they still don’t know after you’ve probed their thinking, just tell them.
Why are these good strategies?
Teachers spend much of their day posing questions. Mix questioning approaches up and ensure a balance of open and closed questions to keep responses interesting and useful.
Keep an eye on who you are drawn to for responses, scanning for pupils you’ve not questioned through the lesson.