Questioning is one of the nine research-based strategies presented in Classroom Instruction That Works (Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock 2001).
Educators have traditionally classified questions according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, a hierarchy of increasingly complex intellectual skills. Bloom’s Taxonomy includes six categories:
Knowledge – recall data or information
Comprehension – understand meaning
Application – use a concept in a new situation
Analysis – separate concepts into parts; distinguish between facts and inferences
Synthesis – combine parts to form new meaning
Evaluation – make judgements about the value of ideas or products
- What questioning styles can you see being used in this video?
- What is the effect of these styles?
- What other types of questioning could be used and why?
So, we all know that questioning is hugely important in driving the learning in our lessons. But sometimes coming up with the right questions, and ensuring the level of difficulty is challenging enough for our learners can be a big ask on the spot.
This is why I drew up this questioning ladder. By using the same template each time I create a questioning ladder and adding my new questions to it, this is a really quick task to plan and means I can either ask questions that stretch my learners, or use key vocabulary and ask my learners to link it to our lesson with confidence. I also love that it means you are very definitely giving students ‘thinking time’ before pouncing on them to answer. All of them have had to think because they do not know who will be called upon. More than this, this has been a fun activity to use in the classroom.
Feedback and why the words you say after questioning is so vital.
Feedback or knowledge of results is the lifeblood of learning.’
Evidence from inspections over the years shows that many teachers are not effective at providing children with the feedback they require to help them evaluate their work and identify what or how to improve. In general, most feedback is too little, too late, too vague and too impersonal
Effective feedback should relate to the learning objective, pointing out success and improvement needs. It should offer clear guidance on how work can be improved, the next steps in learning and how pupils can take them.
Questions to ask yourself to check you’re giving meaningful feedback:
1.Is it detailed enough?
2.Is it immediate enough?
3.Is it specific enough (are your next steps clear)?
4.Is it personalised?
Strategies to try out in helping with meaningful feedback:
- We all have longer writing aspects to our subjects, be it an essay question in an exam or a homework explaining how to market a product. These longer pieces are time-consuming to mark. To help giving instant feedback, why not try skim reading 10 pieces of work – not marking them – and then putting top tips on how to improve onto the start of your PPT for next lesson. Students have to re-read their work, think which common pitfalls they have fallen into, and make changes to their work.
- Using the marking code ‘NS’ – Next Step – works really well in giving specific feedback. For example, if you have marked a piece of work that has missed key terminology, your specific feedback may be ‘NS – re-write paragraph 3 using the key words photosynthesis, transpiration and produce’ You can then give DIRT (Directed Improvement Reflection Time) in the lesson where students try out their next steps.
- Teach students how to properly peer assess. This means all students are receiving feedback in the lesson that is personalised to their work.
- Verbal feedback stamps – these are easy to get hold of online. You move around your room, discuss a child’s work with them, stamp their work and they must write down the feedback you give them and then act on it.
- Model answers- really useful in hearing students’ ideas but helping them to improve them as you review. Ensure students give their work a sub-title in their book: ‘Review – our class answer’ and then randomly select students to contribute, type of their thoughts and then get other students to amend, questioning and prompting them as needed.
- Stars and targets. When marking a piece of work in detail e.g. a blue sticker assessment, use stars and target (a capital T in a circle) in the margin. Each time you draw a star or a target, write what it is they have done well or need to improve on. From this, you can then get students to complete their own strengths and steps to improve on the blue sticker itself meaning they have properly engaged with your feedback and had to ask if they do not understand it.
Juuuuuuust keep Questioning!
And feeding back.