Can the phrasing of questions really change their answers? Or better yet, how can a question influence its answer? Sometimes, all it takes to get students to work a little harder is creative questioning. Questions should evoke curiosity, activate minds and pique interest.
Effective teachers, leaders and school administrators have always known this, which is why more educators need to learn how to incorporate questions into curriculum planning and everyday lessons. In fact, in-class questioning is so important that postgraduate degrees such as the Ed.S. Education Degree Specialist in Curriculum Director cover how to pose questions to young students.
The Problem With Being Too Specific
Some questions have very specific answers, and they should. What is two plus two? Where was Little Red Riding Hood going? Do chickens lay eggs? However, there are times when an open-ended question is more appropriate. In order to spark discussion and even debate, a question needs to make a student pause and question the question. For example, explaining the difference between fact and fiction is easy; one is true and one is not. However, asking students if fiction is dishonest not only introduces them to the idea that not everything is as it seems, but it also asks them to think about how non-truths can appear as facts.
Learning How to Ask the Right Questions
Asking questions is an inherent skill. After all, questioning is how we naturally learn about the world around us. However, asking questions in order to teach others takes practice, and many teachers have never received formal training in crafting questions.
Asking cognitive questions and waiting for responses, for example, can help students consider new ideas, arrive at their own conclusions and improve memorization. Unfortunately, teachers typically hurry through their lessons and cannot offer enough “thinking time” for students to develop independent answers. Teachers can learn more about using questions to their students’ advantage with an online education specialist degree.
Asking questions is a vital aspect of teaching young minds, but the information contained in the question and the direction implied therein make all the difference. Teachers and school administrators can benefit greatly from incorporating better questions into curriculum planning.
So instead of asking themselves, “Am I asking the right questions?” teachers should ask, “What kinds of questions will get my students talking?” It could be the start of a whole new conversation.
Learner.org: Classroom Questioning