The Art of Questioning Creating Reflective, Thought

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Transcript The Art of Questioning Creating Reflective, Thought

The Art & Science of Questioning

But Why???

 As we all know, young children are full of questions.

 Sadly, by fifth grade, questions almost disappear.

  Schools tend to not foster questions.

Let’s change this!

The Art & Science of Questioning  “If only I could ask the right question”

Albert Einstein

 “I have no answers, only questions”

Socrates c. 300 BC

Questions Help Us To…

 Construct meaning  Enhance understanding  Find answers  Solve problems  Find specific information  Acquire a body of information  Discover new information  Propel research efforts  Clarify confusion

How do students feel about questions?

 Generally fear them, which stops learning  We usually only ask a 2 nd question when the first response was wrong = students have an aversion to the 2 nd question  If redirection/probing are vague or critical (“That’s not right; try again”; “Where did you get an idea like that?”) students may not continue to respond and achievement does not improve.

Hook their interest! Make questions an “itch”, not a “scratch”

          Odd fact, anomaly, counterintuitive example Provocative entry question Mystery Challenge Problem or issue Experiment —predict outcome Role-play or simulation Personal experiences Emotional connection Humor

Give them firm ground to stand on… Question their background knowledge first!

      Guide students from the


to the


Use cues, questions, and organizers to set the stage for learning Before new knowledge can be incorporated into student’s existing schema, the schema must be activated Start by asking what students already know Focus on content that is most important, not on what students will find most interesting (hopefully you can make important content interesting!) You can discover and clear up misconceptions by taking time to ask questions before you begin a unit of study!

Applying Bloom’s

Bloom’s Taxonomy gives a six-fold model to comprehension.

Here is an example of questions used with a simple source; a nursery rhyme….

Little Boy Blue

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn, The sheep’s in the meadow, and the cow’s in the corn, Where’s the little boy who looks after the sheep?

He’s under the haystack, fast asleep.

Questioning with Little Boy Blue

 Knowledge (Remembering):

What is the color of the boy’s coat?

 Comprehension (Understanding):

Can you describe his coat in your own words?

 Application (Solving):

Do you know someone like Little Boy Blue?

 Analysis (Reasoning):

Why might he have fallen asleep?

 Synthesis (Creating):

I wonder how he will explain to the farmer how the cow got into the corn?

 Evaluation (Judging):

Does it matter if he falls asleep if no one ever finds out?

Explicitly teach the language of critical thinking-the verbs!

    Let’s compare these …... (instead of look) What do you predict will happen when……? (instead of think) How can you classify……? (instead of group) Let’s analyze this problem. (instead of work this problem)  What conclusions can you draw? (instead of what did you think)

Questioning Do’s and Don’ts

1. Pose the question first, before asking the student to respond.

2. Allow plenty of think time by waiting at least 5 seconds.

3. Make sure you give all students the opportunity to respond rather than relying on volunteers. Create a system to help you keep track of who you call on. 4. Hold students accountable by expecting and facilitating their participation and contributions. 5. Never answer your own questions. Do not accept “I Don’t Know”.

6. Establish a safe environment for risk taking by guiding students in the process of learning from their mistakes. Always dignify incorrect responses by saying something positive. 7. After asking the question, the instructor would remove himself from the center of attention. 8. When a student asks the instructor a question the instructor should redirect the question to the class.

Kai Zen



questions be “Fat”?

 “Skinny” question more effective when teacher wants to give factual knowledge   and help students commit those facts to memory If using “skinny” question, level of difficulty should elicit correct responses A mix of “fat” and “skinny” questions is superior to exclusive use of one or the other.

Wait-time Advantages

For Teachers:  Increases flexibility of teacher responses (teachers listen more and engage students in more discussions)  Increases expectations for students usually perceived as slow  Expands the variety of questions asked  Increases number of higher cognitive questions asked

Wait-time Advantages

For Students:  Improves retention  Increases number of higher cognitive responses  Increases length of responses  Increases number of unsolicited responses     Decreases no response Expands variety of responses Increases student-to student interactions Increases number of questions posed by students

How to respond to student answers:

 Use student responses to form your next question and narrow the focus of the discussion  Probing questions help you know how deeply the student is thinking  Teacher redirection and probing help student achievement when they focus on clarity, accuracy, plausibility of student responses.

Your response to their answers will determine whether or not they continue to answer!

 Acknowledge correct responses  Listen carefully to student responses!

 Praise of student responses should be sincere and credible and should be used sparingly.  Establish community where all answers are accepted as a gift – model this for your students

Don’t Forget:

       Ask questions that focus on most important elements of the lesson Ask questions before and after material is read and studied Scaffold lower ability students: ask lower cognitive questions, gradually transitioning to higher cognitive questions. Ensure student success during questioning experiences.

Teach students strategies for making inferences.

3 seconds for lower cognitive questions More than 3 seconds for higher cognitive questions Allow generous wait time for lower ability students