Student-centered discussion plays an important role in classroom learning, but teachers play the central role in discussion that takes students to a higher level of content understanding. After posing initial, fact-oriented questions that check for basic understanding, teachers should pose questions that ask “why,”” why not,”” how,” “what if” or “how does X compare with Y” to help student build a deeper understanding of content. As teachers in this video explain, crafting and posing more thought-provoking questions requires deliberate and thoughtful preplanning.
Our thanks to the Lakeside Union School District (Lakeside, CA) for its video Effective Questioning.
- You’ll see that teachers in this video use excellent techniques for questioning, including “cold calling” (rather than calling on volunteers) and allowing wait time for responses. Note that these techniques are separable from the strategy of asking questions that probe for understanding.
- Note the suggestion that students themselves can devise questions their teacher can ask of later classes.
For more on this strategy, see the Institute of Education Science’s Practice Guide Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Study Learning