1.Questioning techniques are inappropriate for the material.
2.There may be an unconscious gender bias.
3.There may be an unconscious bias towards most able or more demanding students.
4.Levels of questions might be targeted to different abilities inappropriately.
5.Students don’t have enough thinking time.
6.Learners don’t have any idea as to whether they are the only ones to get it wrong/right.
7.Learners fear being seen by their peers to be wrong.
8.Questions are too difficult.
9.Questions are too easy.
So what does it look like when questioning works successfully?
1.All learners get a chance to answer.
2.Learners can see how others are thinking.
3.Teachers gain information about thinking and learning.
4.Learners have time to consider their answers.
5.Learners have time to discuss and follow up on their answers.
6.The answers are not always clear-cut.
7.learners feel safe to answer.
8.Questions stimulate more questions.
9.Questions stimulate thinking.
So I hear you ask-‘what strategies can we use that are quick, effective and deliver results?’
- This strategy encourages teachers to take risks and tease out the “learning” in class.
- It also a useful focus for differentiating objectives and learning experiences by varying our questioning techniques.
- NO more closed questions in our classrooms!
There are endless strategies that cane be effectively employed in our everyday practice that will ensure great results, a few others that you might consider trying:
Introduce students to the language of questioning. Most students are familiar with the question words who, what, where, when, why, and how. Once these are mastered, try extending these to question phrases to help students begin to formulate higher level questions. Examples include:
- What caused…?
- What are the characteristics of…?
- What if…?
- What does the author mean when…?
- Would you agree that…?
- Would it be better if…?
Traffic light your questions- Be a warden for success!
Students use the red, amber and green pages in their planners as a visual display for the teacher to see if a question has been asked. All students start on the red page and when the teacher asks them a question, provided a successful answer is given, they move to amber. At this stage, they can still be asked another question and if they are then they move to green to show that they have answered 2 successful questions that lesson. This is a good visual way for the teacher to see who they have asked questions to and ensures that every student is asked at least one question in the lesson as anyone who is still on red would have to answer a question successful before leaving the room.
So, develop and maintain the culture of questioning in the classroom, and keep your options open with different strategies.
And to finish, a nice quote from Shaun Allison – our questioning can help ‘lift the centre of gravity’ of our classrooms.