Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom

One straightforward method of engaging students in academic conversation is to offer a question, give them some time to think about it, and then call on a student.

Did you ever stop to consider how ludicrous some professors can become? We introduce ourselves as experts, and then, after speaking with students, we begin asking them questions about their work. It’s no surprise that pupils are perplexed!


More seriously, teachers must face the truth that they do not know everything and that pupils may not know everything as well as they think they do. “What can a teacher ask a class?” is maybe the most crucial question to consider.

There are numerous variables to consider in this case. Some teachers may respond that asking questions helps students understand what they’re learning. This is more beneficial to both the teacher and the student than it is to the student alone. If we have already taught a notion or principle, we can inquire as to whether or not everyone has grasped the concept or principle. We are all aware that kids may be unable to provide an answer to the question, or may even respond in the negative. However, we continue to ask this question. Consider how many times this question is asked during a typical teaching day.

What do we end up saying to kids when we ask them this type of inquiry is a matter of debate. “All right, this is your final opportunity. In the absence of questions, you will be able to comprehend the entire presentation and go on to the next topic. You are welcome to raise this reasonable inquiry and to allow me to respond.

Because of this way of thinking, it is possible to slip into the trap of believing that kids don’t grasp what they don’t understand. It is hard for them to ask inquiries about something if they do not understand what they do not understand.

In addition, it is a yes-or-no question, and we all know how easy it is to anticipate what the teacher wants to hear. This question does not challenge students to think in a higher-order manner, and instead encourages them to think in a more basic manner.

How can we then determine whether or not we have grasped the message?

We are asking the appropriate questions! You could think that’s fantastic, but how exactly do we go about accomplishing this?

These are the types of questions that are frequently posed to the class. They are enticing delicacies that all enthusiastic pupils want to snag as soon as they can. The reality, on the other hand, is completely different.


Students can tell who is brilliant and who isn’t in less than a week if they are paying attention. Even worse, research indicates that students are more conscious of how they are seen by others after fourth grade, and they are better able to play their roles appropriately as a result. Let me give you an example of one of those questions that float about the classroom with a hook in it: “Classes, if you could stretch threads from here to the Moon, how many balls would you need?”

Students who are not intelligent will not fall for the ruse. The only ones who are concerned about the answer are the bright kids. In most cases, they have an answer ready very immediately after the query is finished. For the other two categories of youngsters, this practice is perfectly acceptable. They will most likely think to themselves, “Let them answer all the questions so that I don’t have to,” and they will be correct in this.

The teacher may argue that the student who answers the question will benefit the entire class as a result of his or her response. If all of the pupils were paying attention, this may be true. As an example, if a student notices that their teacher is walking around the room with a question in his or her mouth and realizes that the inquiry is accessible to everyone, he or she is likely to continue daydreaming or doodling.

During the day, I was a first, second, third, fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth-grade student. These kids served as my tour guides for their respective classes. The fact that some pupils might go full days, sometimes even weeks or months without responding to a single inquiry vocally astounds me to this day.

During class sessions, I wonder if we are even aware of how many general questions we are posing to one another. If we just asked each student to keep track of how many of these questions they asked throughout class sessions, the results would be surprising. It is difficult to break old habits, but students are eager to lend a hand.

Consider the following scenario: we identify a problem and decide to repair it: “Jeffry. Is there anything in common between John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog?” Several hands move away from Jeffry while he is being observed. Jeffry is the subject of some attention. When their names were not called, the remainder of the kids breathed a sigh of relief as a group. They are not the source of the problem.

One teacher might speculate that Jeffry is contemplating the answer while the rest of his students are working on it. That would be fantastic. Students are still looking for an answer to the question, according to some estimates. The remainder of the group is relieved that it isn’t them.

What is the best way for teachers to ask the proper question?


For the most part, we are all familiar with Mary Budd Rowe’s questioning techniques. Teachers might simply pose the question, “What do you call it when an inversion kills itself?” to their students. After a minimum of three seconds of silence, say “Sally” to a student in the class. This will cause all students to automatically think about the solution as soon as they hear it. They will only feel relieved when the name of another child has been called and their name has not been spoken.

An additional method, which assures that every child randomly answers questions, is used in conjunction with this technique. If they do not randomly respond to the question, they will believe that they have answered all of their questions and will consider themselves finished.

We should at the very least pose a question, wait three seconds, and then state the name of a student to get the most out of the questions if we do not intend to use total physical response (TPR) to have students answer questions simultaneously. If we are content with the number of children who are paying attention and learning in our classrooms, we may continue with business as usual.

Do you have any questions?

What are some of your creative approaches to ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to ask questions and receive responses?