Notes From the Coach
Why Is Questioning Important?
- A teacher’s questioning can set the pace of the lesson
- Questioning provides the teacher an understanding of students interests and opinions
- It provides the teacher a type of formative assessment in an informal way
- Using questioning effectively shifts the focus on the student rather than the teacher
- Questions force students to think about the content and apply it to new situations
What Does the Research Say?
#2: Most teacher questions are at the lowest cognitive level (fact, recall or knowledge). Just 20% of the questions posed in classroom require higher-level thinking.
#3: Not all students are accountable to respond to all questions. Target students (those students teachers call on most frequently) answer 3 times as often as their classmates. As a result, target students tend to do better on achievement tests. Furthermore, 25% of students do not participate at all.
#4: Teachers typically wait less than 1 second after asking a question before calling on a student to answer. They wait even less time (usually 0 seconds) before speaking after a student has answered. Studies indicate that teachers wait for more than 3 seconds after posing a question less than 12% of the time.
#5: Teachers often accept incorrect answers without probing; they frequently answer their own questions. Studies show that nearly half of students’ responses are at a different cognitive level than the question, yet teachers rarely probe for more information.
#6: Students ask very few content-related questions. Teachers tend to spend little time teaching students how to formulate good questions related to content.
Levels of Questioning
- Literal Level Questions: Answered directly from text; usually one correct answer
- Interpretive/Inferential Questions: Involve piecing information together; making connections and inferences
- Applied or Evaluative: Involve going beyond text or content; give opinions or make judgments
Questioning Methods to Incorporate Throughout Your Daily Lessons
- Classroom Debate
- Socratic Seminar
- Cooperative Learning Structures (Jigsaw, Carousel Brainstorm, Inside/ Outside Circle, Give One Get One, etc.)
- Talking Chips (Each student receives a certain number of chips (opportunities to talk)
Classroom Set Up; Some Things to Think About
Consider the method you will use to call on students? Will you only call on students who raise their hands? Will you have a method of randomly selecting students? Consider the established norms in your classroom. Do students listen to you when you are talking? How about when other students are talking?
5 Powerful Questions To Use In Any Content Area
2. Why do you think that?
3. How do you know this?
4. Can you tell me more?
5. What questions do you still have?