Developing Classroom Questioning Culture, Month-by-Month

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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How can schools develop a questioning culture?

A questioning culture is one in which the school community encourages and values questioning, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity. ‘If you want to accelerate learning in any endeavour, you concentrate on the group’ (Hargreaves and Fullan, 2012). 

I’ve been putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) for my new book, Guide to Questioning.

Classroom questioning research …

I’ve been digging into the available research, identifying some fantastic strategies, and bringing them together into a sequence of ideas all teachers can use in their classrooms.

Towards the end of the book, moving from general classroom questioning strategies to techniques used in group or individual situations, I offer a timetable of ideas to align with curriculum planning.

All teachers pose approximately 300 questions per day.

Push any teacher further and ask them to name one or two techniques, and you may get one or two responses. Push them even further and ask them how many different types of questioning strategies they have embedded into the teacher-DNA (for automaticity) and we discover we still have some work to do.

Developing questioning automaticity …

Having a range of strategies that a teacher can utilise as and when required, particularly as they spend their entire day working on the feet in front of 30 students, is an essential requirement for a quality-first approach.

But, what should teachers and schools consider when wanting to develop an inquiry-led culture across the school community? Well, embedding ideas across an organisation, implementation takes at least 2-4 years.

It takes time.

So, where should schools start?

Well, research can guide us to answer this simple question. The latest teacher-workforce data suggests 39 per cent of teachers want future CPD to be in classroom pedagogy.

To help, I have published this resource which offers 10 key strategies, elaborated in detail in my new book, explaining how each technique could be explicitly taught in teacher training sessions and in every classroom across the school on a month-by-month basis.

The rationale behind this idea is that each technique builds upon the other to help students develop inquiry, collegiality and risk-taking when responding to questions in class. The techniques suggested are an example, but the premise is that each technique builds upon the other, taught explicitly alongside the curriculum on a month-by-month basis.

Guide To Questioning Month by Month Timetable

  1. Download this resource
  2. Read Guide To Questioning.

When teachers invite students to answer questions in class, they encourage students to be active and engaged learners. This helps to build a culture of trust, risk-taking and collegiality. 


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