Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blog Post # 4 Asking Questions.

good teachers ask questions

There are several methods to asking questions in the teaching world. I imagine it like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. Some questions are too strong and overwhelm students, some questions are too weak and don't challenge the students minds and some question are just right for growth among your class. The problem with upper level students is that overtime they become accustom to just a nod of the head to the teacher's rhetorical questions. Rhetorical questions are great in a sense that it gets the child thinking(that is if they are even paying attention) but RQ's don't dig deep enough. When a child answers verbally then it provides reassurance that the material is being explained, absorbed, and applied.

Asking Questions to Improve Learning gives bullet by bullet techniques for proper question asking. A tip I learned was to pace your self throughout your lecture. If you load to many questions at one time then the children don't know which one to answer first and get caught up in the overload. Give them 5-10 seconds to respond and gather their thoughts, and then you can look for hands to call on. If a student answers incorrectly then correct the mistake. After correction, ask a follow-up question that enable the student to continue thinking on the subject. I think its obvious to say that most importantly, show interest in their answers, no interruptions! Who wants to answer questions when no one is paying attention?

Joanne Chesley compares open ended vs. closed ended questions in her video Asking better questions in the classroom. Closed ended questions are answered with a "yes" or "no".Nothing more nothing less.One that requires more thought and needs to be explained in more detail, would be an open ended question. This way the student challenges him/herself to think outside of the box. Open ended questions are intend for critical thinking.

I did some research on other strategies for ways to ask questions and stubbled upon Wait Time-Teachers Perspective which goes into more detail on the patience of lecture time. The idea of "wait time"(a.k.a thinking time) was a way for students to gather their thoughts after a teacher asked a more challenging, or open ended question. The teacher asks the questions then says "wait time" that way the students know to wait before raising hands. This period of quiet reflection benefits the children who usually are quiet/reserved to answer questions. It helps the students that are always first to raise hands to becoming a patient peer. At the end of wait time, the teacher then has the entire class's attention and can call on anyone for the answer because they have all had equal time to process it.


  1. I agree that asking thinking questions while teaching is just as significant as the lesson that is being taught. I like what you said about giving feedback to the students' answers. Showing them that you care about their answer will encourage them to give real thought to the next question that you may ask. I also like the concept of "wait time." I remember those students that always raised their hand first to answer a question. Sometimes they could be distracting while I was still thinking about the question. I think the "wait time" is a great way to get all students to think before they answer.

  2. Barrett you did an excellent job explaining each article you reviewed. I learned an interesting addition to wait times in EDM 301. If you have a student struggling with ADD or other LD problems, create a signal, that stays between you and the child, that will let them know when you are preparing to call on them. It could be that you stand beside their desk before you call on them that they will be asked to answer the next question. Because LD students struggle with remembering content, facts or formulating ideas choose them to be the first to answer questions that have numerous responses. This builds their confidence by providing opportunities for them to experience "getting the answer right" instead of always being embarrassed by the lack of an answer. It also lets them know you want them to feel safe and successful. I wish I had thought to add this to my blog.

  3. You did a great job explaining how to ask questions. I learned a lot about wait times as well. The lesson that you are teaching is important, but if you do not ask the appropriate questions the students might not focus on the lesson. Critical thinking questions allow them to think about the lesson and get engaged.

  4. "...they become accustom to just a nod…" accustomed, not accustom

    "A tip I learned was to pace your self throughout your lecture." Why have lectures? Solving problems, doing projects seems to me to be better way for fostering learning. This is a various serious question!

    "Open ended questions are intend for critical thinking. " intended, not intend

    Our goal as teachers should be to develop projects that foster learning. Stop lecturing!