Today we looked at questioning strategies that challenge, engage and inform both students and staff. These areas really make a difference in creating an environment where students can give and receive effective feedback, and can clarify how to improve. These Magic 6 areas are at the heart of learning.
Celestine Heaton-Armstrong and Jyoti Atwal delivered complementary strategies that can really drive questioning in the classroom
To encourage Q&A:
- Basic behaviour for learning rules in place and regularly emphasised – listen when someone is talking, only one voice at a time, “track the speaker”
- Devote time to questioning – not a rush through
- Reward good questions and answers
- Use questions to motivate and challenge
- Seem interested in answers – repeat back
- Correct incorrect answers
- Involve as many students as possible
- Place it at different key stages throughout the lesson – aim to have a set of questions or a questioning period during each stage of the lesson e.g. during input to clarify an activity or during review to for A4L
- Don’t give up!
- Plan your questions
- No hands up
- Think – pair – share
- Ask one, clear question at a time
- Layer questions so everyone can access them
- Use Blooms as a scaffolding tool
- Adapt questions to pace of lesson e.g. open/closed
- Use answers to develop the lesson, so they become an integral part of the lesson plan
- Ask question before picking student
- Allow thinking time
- All hands up
- Pose, pause, pounce, bounce
- Question students on answers given
- Get students to ask the questions
- Test their answer/test their knowledge
- Avoid vague questions
- Rephrase the question if no one answers
For older students, Jyoti emphasised the importance of our own knowledge and learning, and how we tap into this in our questioning of students:
- Syllabus & Spec knowledge
- Exam questions and structures of answers
- Mark schemes
- The abilities of individual learners
Additionally, with our Syllabus knowledge, to utilise our awareness of the classes and individuals we are teaching:
- Blooms levels and stages – knowledge to comprehension to analysis to synthesis to evaluation, and tailoring this to our students – remember Context sheets!
- Probing and redirecting the question to more able studnets to expand and improve answers
- Whole class answers.
Waiting is key:
- 7-10 second rule
- Additional time – phone a friend?
- Student accountability and taking responsibility – stay aware of where the lesson is at by demanding their attention
- Clues & hints
- Multiple choice hints
Never an end in themselves – questioning is AFL – allowing monitoring for further progress and guidance for future planning. All in all, questioning is pretty useful then and worth some of our planning time!
For further ideas and resources, have a look @TeacherToolkit. Also Ross Morrison McGill is great for ideas for Outstanding Lessons – for questions to ask yourself see his ShowOff strategies.