Saturday, September 28, 2013
Blog Post #6
Asking Questions: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?
Asking questions is necessary when teaching because it deepens and extends the student's way of thinking. Questions allow educators to make sure their students are comprehending the material and that they are helping their learning experience. However, the biggest problem with questions is that most of the time they can do more harm than good because we are not using them the correct way. After really doing some reading I learned more about the correct techniques and how we should ask questions.
In Ben Johnson's The Right Way To Ask Questions in the Classroom, he explains what type of questions we should be avoiding. How many of you have heard the question "Does everybody understand?" You are most likely thinking in your head about the countless number of times you have been asked this pointless question. In fact, the majority of you probably even said yes to this question even though you did not understand at all. As teachers we feel that this question is letting students know this is their last chance to ask for help, but in reality it does not push the students into the higher-order-thinking stratosphere. Teachers need to ask more specific questions instead of throwing these general questions to the air in the course of a class period. If you tend to be more specific it helps avoid one worded responses and promotes "open" questions instead, which lead to more feedback from your students.
Another effective approach when asking questions is to prepare them ahead of time. In Maryellen Weimer's Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom she goes into depth about the importance of preparing before hand. Mary mentions an article by Bill Welty who said "When you write out a question, you can make it clearer...not just the wording, but clearer conceptually. Is it the question that needs to be asked? When is the best time to ask it?" These are just a few reasons why preparing questions is such a good idea. As teachers, it is very crucial that we work on our questioning techniques and ask good questions so that our students can see the importance of them.