Questioning Techniques in classroom

Questioning is the key assignment method by which teachers can find out what pupils already know in a particular subject, with the help of questioning teachers identify gaps in the knowledge of students’ and help them to understand their students. In this way teacher play a vital role in the development of their understanding, and to enable them to close the gap between what they currently know and what they need more to learn to achieve a specific goals.
Questions are the best tool of interaction between pupils and teachers, but the researcher called it the recall and comprehension. They stress on deep active processing questions or analytical questions which help the pupil to achieve deep level thinking and learning. For higher level thinking in order to raise pupils' levels of achievement they need regular practice in higher level questions which lead to deep thinking, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating. Focusing on the questions and the strategies in class room to help us achieve this goal.

For example they:
  • Questions give immediate feedback on pupils’ understanding; with help of that teacher can modify his teaching method.
  • Help pupils to develop higher level analytical and evaluative thanking, it promotes deeper understanding in the students to explore ideas and make connections, helping the students to see the "big picture" of the learning. This leads to a greater motivation and improved engagement of the students in learning process.
  • Helps pupils to assess their current knowledge and experience to create new understandings and knowledge.

Planning key questions in the start of lesson to assess their knowledge about the previous lesson and what they know about current lesson are they have prepared themselves for the new lesson. It is this feedback which in turn enables teachers to understand what pupils need to know next.

Why Questions are More Important than Answers

The ability to ask the relevant and right question is the most powerful indicator of authentic understanding. Asking a question that help teacher in a given situation is itself an artifact of the critical thinking. Teachers desperately seek to find the gap in students’ knowledge
Questions are more important than answers because they reflect both understanding and curiosity in equal portions. To ask a good question is like to see both backward and forward, it help to make sense of a thing and what you know about that thing, and then extend your knowledge  and to imagine what else can be known about that particular thing or subject, or what others might know about that. 

The purpose of Asking Questions in academic setting:

§  To develop interest and motivation in students
§  To develop critical thinking skills and inquiring attitudes in students
§  To stimulate students to pursue knowledge on their own
§  To nurture insights in students by exposing new relations
§  To review and summarize the previous lessons which they have studied
§  To evaluate students’ knowledge and readiness for further new learning

Effective Questioning:

§  Always plan questions in advance
§  Decide on your aim or purpose to achieve  by asking questions
§  Select the relevant content for questioning
§  Phrase your questions carefully
§  While planning questions, try to anticipate students’ responses
§  Plan a strategy for handling incorrect answers from students
§  Ask a majority of lower cognitive questions when instructing younger and lower ability students
§  Ask a majority of higher cognitive questions when teaching lower and higher ability students
§  Give little time for lower cognitive questions

Teacher’s Attitude during Questioning session

§  Maintain eye contact with students
§  Use non-verbal gestures to indicate your understanding of the answer
§  Listen to the student and do not interrupt the student
§  Use the student response to lead to the next question or to make a point
§  While listening to the student try to determine whether you understand his point of view. If not then ask for more information or explanation
§  Focus your attention on the student, not on what you intend to do next
§  Always call students by their names as instead of pointing in their direction
§  Encourage all the students to participate in the class
§  Ask no to volunteers in a non-threatening and friendly way
§  Use non-verbal positive cues during  questioning and answering  session

§  If the student is incorrect or cannot respond, accept his non-response without insulting him. Give him a cue or ask if another student in the class may help him out
§  Select students Randomly to respond to questions
§  Try to avoid repeating all student responses. Teacher’s repetition causes students to learn to listen to you, not their fellow students.
§  Beware of the student who dominates in classroom by answering all the questions
§  Give students the opportunity to ask questions. Do not use ‘Any questions?’
§  Avoid asking all the questions at the end of the session
§  Avoid looking down at notes after asking a question
§  Your non-verbal reaction should complement your verbal responses. For example, it is usually ineffective to say ‘good point’ while looking away or reading notes.

Handling Student’s Responses

§  Reinforcement may be verbal or non-verbal.
§  Verbal reinforcement is a positive cue or word to encourage the student
§  Proper non-verbal reinforcement includes smiling, nodding and maintaining eye contact with the student
§  Improper non-verbal reinforcement includes looking at notes while student speaks, looking at the board or ruffling with papers.
§  Too much reinforcement in the classroom is also not good

§  Probes are based on student’s responses. The initial response of students may be superficial. The teacher needs to make students explore initial comments
Examples: Student:            It was a violation of due process.
§  Teacher:       Can you explain why?

Adjust and Refocus
§  When a student provides a response which appears out of context, the teacher can refocus to encourage the student to connect his response to the content being discussed.

§  When a student responds to a question, the teacher can ask another student to comment on his statement.
Teacher:       Ali, do you agree with Asad’s comment?
Teacher:       Asad, can you give me an example of the concept that Ali has mentioned?

In case of incorrect response, instead of telling the student he is incorrect or calling upon another student, teacher should try one of the following:
§  Reword the question to make it clearer
§  Provide some information to help student come up with the suitable answer
§  Break the question down into more manageable parts

Responding to a Student’s Question

§  Redirect the question to the class
§  Attempt to help the students to answer his own question
§  Refer student to a resource where he can fund the answer
§  If you don’t know the answer to a student’s question, never fake an answer. Ask if anyone in class can answer the question, or suggest a resource, or answer yourself in the next class
§  Answer student’s question yourself if the time is short

Types of Questions

§  Close Questions
§  Open Questions

§  Lower Cognitive Questions

1.    Knowledge
2.    Comprehension
3.    Application
Higher Cognitive Questions
1.    Analysis
2.    Synthesis
3.    Evaluation