Questioning- the pivotal area of our teaching!
Today myself and Sarah-Kate looked at a range of questioning styles and the importance of questioning in our practice.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
The important thing is not to stop questioning.’
It’s a Fact!
- An average teacher asks 400 questions in a day
- That’s 70,000 a year!
- One-third of all teaching time is spent asking questions
- Most questions are answered in less than a second
What is the purpose of questioning?
- To interest, engage and challenge
- To check on prior knowledge
- To focus thinking on key concepts and issues
What are the pitfalls of questioning?
- Asking too many closed questions
- Yes or no questions
- Short answer recall-based questions
SO what strategies can we use to improve our questioning in the classroom?
Mock The Week
‘If this is the answer…what is the question?’
- Taken from ‘Mock the Week’, this simple little technique sparks the inquisitiveness within students – just by quickly reversing the standard question and answer dichotomy it can deepen their thinking.
- It could be a relatively closed answer, like ‘3.14159265359’ (the numerical value of pi); or something more open and abstract, like ‘religion’ (a potential powder-keg that one!). They can be given the idea by showing a short clip of ‘Mock the Week from’ on YouTube – but I would advise you to vet the video carefully first!
Laminated cards/ Mini whiteboards to show answers to questions
- A word of caution here – make sure the edges are not too sharp since they can cut fingers.
- You can laminate cards of different colours and also write a code letter or number on each card before laminating. This is useful for group work etc
- Can the red cards get together and share their ideas.
- Can the people with the letter ‘a’ on their card sit together here.
- I want an answer from a person with a green card.
- Will the person in each group with a blue card feed back on the group’s ideas in 5 minutes time.
Deliberate Practice: Lemov Quigley
“I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee
“No hands up”
- Stops pupils putting their hands up before they have had time to think about the question.
- Most able pupils often did not volunteer answers for fear of being labelled as “boffs” or “swots”.
- Provides greater opportunity for AFL
- Improves attention levels
No Wrong Answer
- No answer pupils provide are wrong
- Promotes positive interaction with subject
- Increase child’s confidence in discussions.
Phone a friend!
Ask one of them, but let them “phone a friend” (i.e. ask someone else) and then get them to repeat the answer their ‘friend’ has provided.
- A good way to build team spirit within a lesson.
- We are all there to help
- Easy to see who has answered.
- Allows all pupils to feel some success in lesson.
- Little competitive spirit in the KS3 class : )
- Allows them to monitor own progress
Benefits of Questioning
- Team spirit
- Literacy (no half answers)
- Assessment for all
- Greater understanding due to grade ups
“Good learning starts with questions, not answers.”
Guy Claxton, Bristol University