Monday, September 23, 2013

Blog Post Six

So, “What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?” Well, after reading “The Right Way to Ask Questions” by Ben Johnson, a high school principal, I got some great insight on how teachers have been asking questions previously. I remember in high school my teachers always asking the same exact question, “does everybody understand?” Do you understandThe question Ben Johnson explains is a useless question that teachers constantly use, and I fully agree. This question does not benefit the student, nor does it show if they actually understand. I remember teachers asking this question, and students saying yes just so the teacher would move on to another topic. Some students said nothing at all in hopes for the same thing. How do the students understand? They cannot with these types of questions!

Therefore, in response to this idea, I have come up with the four key topics for educators to know about asking questions in order to be an effective teacher. These four topics are:

1. Prepared/Preserved Questions
2. Different/Specific Questions
3. Student’s Answers
4. Answer’s Response

1. The questions that we teachers ask must be prepared. By having questions prepared, we will have them ready for the right moment. I always have the “dang it” moment when I forget a great question I could have asked. If I prepared my questions, I would not have had to worry about forgetting about my questions at all. In addition, questions must be preserved. Write it down! Write student’s responses down! Write it all down! I can’t remember what I ate last week, never mind trying to remember what a student said in class or what I even said. We can use these preserved questions in later classes. “Asking Questions to Improve Learning” used the example, “While you think about your answers, let me share a student’s answer in a previous class.” This type of example gives the student just a little extra help in formulating an answer for themselves, because they get to hear about how another student answered the same question.

2. be specificThe questions we ask must also be specific if we want to teach effectively. We have to avoid leading questions that answer the question in itself. We can avoid leading questions with some techniques I saw in “Questioning Styles and Strategies”. We should ask probe questions, so after the student provides an answer, we ask “why” or “how?” As much as time allows, we should try to extend all questions. For example, we could ask, “anyone else have something they would like to add?” Then, pick a student to share their thoughts. In addition, educators should clarify questions. We can ask, “tell me what you mean” or “give me an example.” Teachers should also follow the normal “yes-and-no” question with an additional question that requires though. Furthermore, the questions asked by teachers must be asked in different ways. The questions can be closed, managerial, or open. A closed question usually has a specific answer and is useful to test for retention and comprehension. A managerial question is a question directed for if the student does not understand their assignment or have the necessary materials for a project. Open questions may not have a specific answer and is useful to encourage discussion and active learning.

3. When asking a question, an educator must give about five seconds for the students to collect their thoughts. After giving them this time, call on a random student. This way the whole class was thinking about the question, just in case you called on them. I think it is important that each student be called on at least once during the class. The more the students are used to thinking about questions and openly answering them, the better the chance they will become active learners.

4. be specificAs an educator, it is important that we value the student’s feedback whether it is a right or wrong answer. By showing your interest either way, you are helping the student want to answer more. That is not to say that you should say an answer is right when it is wrong. This goes with the ideas of successful peer editing. The key is to stay positive while providing meaningful feedback.

With these four key topics, any educator will know how to ask questions in order to be an effective teacher. Our classrooms must be fully engaging and thoughtful.


  1. Thoughtful. Thorough. Well done!

    Keep up your great work!


  2. I love your post! I had teachers that asked the same question every time too! And we all just stared at them tiredly, glancing at the clock every five minutes, bored out of our minds. Valuing a student's feedback, wrong or not, is also a point I made. Great post! :)