Questioning better than Johan

We started our session this week with a consideration of Johan Cruyff’s gnomic comment:

‘If I’d wanted you to understand I’d have explained it better’


What did he mean by this?

Did he expect his players to literally work it out themselves on the pitch?

Did this empower his players (and win loads of games)?

How did his non-explanatory beliefs influence his coaching style, and future coaches?

Was he just not able to explain to players not blessed with his talent?

These questions started our session on questioning, and its’ fundamental importance for teachers and the learning process.

I borrowed extremely liberally from Tom Sherrington’s article on Questioning, to consider a number of objectives:

-Reviewing different questioning strategies

-Applying to different scenarios

-Creating a practical questioning bank to use in the classroom

Ultimately the aim was to develop a bank and variety of questioning strategies that enabled colleagues to

-Shows where the class and individuals are at, and how they can improve

-Helps us adapt and shape our teaching

-Allows questioning in depth, checking understanding and involves all learners

-Explores thinking processes and misconceptions

All of these are fundamental to the learning process.

The 7 strategies we looked at where lifted from the above article by Tom Sherrington:

  • Cold-Calling
  • No Opt-Out
  • Checking for Understanding
  • Probing
  • Say it Again Better
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Whole-Class Response

Pairs considered their strategy, clarified on when and how it might be used, then role-played it in action (aaargh).

For the rest of the week we will be sharing how we use these strategies with our classes, and their impact on the learning of the students.

Finally, what strategy would you use this for these questions:

Why don’t MacDonald’s sell hot dogs?

How can a 51-year old pull a muscle doing yoga in a CPD session?


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