The routine of lecturing and then questioning students is an obvious steeple in teaching but, I wanted to take a closer look at the theories about questions in the classroom. Has questioning students become an obsolete form of classroom assessment? What can students and teachers ultimately gain from eradicating the use of classroom questionnaires? Is there a way to balance questions with more interactive approaches for comprehension evaluation?
The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom
by Ben Johnson
There is no real reason or benefit to asking a class room if they understand what's being taught during a lesson. For the most part, educators attempt to use general questions for assessment. In most classes there is at least one student or group of students always willing to answer these questions, they essentially keep the class moving. Even when the rest of the class isn't comprehending. So how do you get around this problem? Make your classroom more interactive. Ask questions that engage the entire class, or change from the method you would usually use. Propose a question; then wait before choosing a student. That way all students have to think of what the answer could be. Another way would be to implement Total Physical Response (TPR), a teaching technique originally designed to teach people a second language. This creative style of teaching targets the whole class, certain incentives prompt a physical response instead of a verbal one. This video explains TPR and gives a great demonstration.
Asking Questions to Improve Learning
by Wilbert McKeachie
This source emphasizes the theory that asking questions to produce and measure results can be done effectively with proper planning. You want to give students the opportunity to think for themselves and by doing so, allowing discussion to flourish between students. As a teacher you want to show students that you're interested in their answer, and that you want them to explore their answers deeply. The real goal is to prompt students to support their assertions and interpretation. Varying the type of questions you ask could help guide your class to this goal. Try to avoid leading questions, simple yes or no questions, and make questions direct and specific. Questions not only assess the classroom they also help to structure the lesson. When building your lesson plan you should make notes of where and what questions you want to ask. How to respond to student answers is just as important you posing the question. There will be times when a student answers incorrectly or their answer is not sufficient. At those times its important to respond in a way that wont stifle the students desire to answer anymore questions.
So to answer the question, "What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" We need to know that we as teachers do not know everything and that our students won't know comprehend or know all that we know. It's good to know what questions you want to ask and to ask questions that give room for discussion. You want to make your classroom interactive and engage all of your students, not just that group of smart kids. You should also try varying the type of questions that you ask.