Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blog Post 4: Asking Questions: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?

Question Marks

According to Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom by Maryellen Weimer, PhD

      It is extremely important for a teacher to spend time preparing questions. The author said, "...I never prepared questions. I just asked whatever came to me at the moment. Not surprisingly, I asked a mixed bag of questions—some stimulating and provocative; some mundane and not especially clear." After the author had been motivated by an article to start preparing questions, the author stated, "... it made a world of difference." I completely agree! I believe a teacher should have prepared questions. When a teacher doesn't fully prepare his or her questions, the questions can seem to have no true meaning. They don't lead to any particular point, and sometimes time will be wasted by rewording the question a couple times. Not to mention, random questions will make students feel like they are just being tossed about the brain of their teacher.

According to Asking Questions to Improve Learning by The Teaching Center

      This source was extremely informative! In this source, you find out that it is not only important to ask the right questions, but it is important to prepare for questions you think your students will ask and respond effectively. I am going to talk about the all of subtopics in this source. However, I will not be covering all of the information from each section, and there is a lot of interesting information here! Check it out if you want to know more!

Asking Questions: Basic Rules

   - Avoid asking questions that suggest the answer. Would you answer a question that was already answered?
   - "Yes-or-No" questions need to be followed with an question that builds off of the student's answer. It is very important to try to get the students to delve deeper into their thought process.
   - Don't ask one question that has many layers. Instead, ask a series of questions that delve into the layers. This can generate a lot more information than just asking one big question.
   - Only ask one question at a time. If you ask 2-3 questions at once, how will the students know which one you want them to answer. Not to mention, their brains will be trying to focus on too many things at once. We all know that multitasking is not effective.

Responding Effectively

   - Give the students' time to think about the question. Students need to be able to process the question and figure out what the answer is.
   - Don't interrupt. Not only is it rude, but it can break the student's train of thought and stop them from delving deeper.
   - Always show interest in what the students are saying, even if they are wrong. Most answers are somewhat related, so try to get them on the right track by positively reinforcing them and directing them.
   - Respond in a way that keeps the students' thinking. Urge them to keep thinking deeper.

Asking Questions: Why Open-Ended?

   - To elaborate on vague answers or comments
   - To show something from a different perspective
   - To provide reasons for conclusions
   - To start class discussion
   - To link information together

Bloom's Taxonomy: Level of Questions Complexity with Definitions

   - Knowledge: Memorization
   - Comprehension: Interpretation
   - Application: Problem Solving
   - Analysis: Determining Motives
   - Synthesis: Combining Ideas
   - Evaluation: Judgment

According to The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom by Ben Johnson

      I think that this source approaches the topic from a unique perspective. A lot of teachers ask questions to make sure that the students understand what the teacher is saying, but does the teacher think about what this is actually doing for the students? After all, teaching is all about the students. It is important to ask questions with substance to determine their understanding. The questions that simply check understanding have many flaws. Here are a few:
   - The students know what the teacher wants to hear.
   - Some students will not want to speak up and feel like they are the ones holding back the rest of the class.
   - A student may think they understand, but they really don't.

Thanks for reading my blog,
Jennifer L. Cole


  1. You are welcome! Thoughtful. Interesting. Well done.

    1. Thank you for your compliments! I do try to put a lot of thought into my posts as well as keep them interesting!