Teaching Students How to Ask Productive Questions
Jackie Walsh, a classroom educator and author, challenged the idea that students should respond to questions posed by their instructors rather than vice versa in a post that she wrote recently for MiddleWeb. According to what she has written, “Student-generated questions place learners in the driver’s seat.” “They increase learning while simultaneously increasing engagement.”
“many believe that asking questions might lead teachers to believe that they are not smart or suggest to their peers that they are not cool,” which is one of the natural barriers that stand in the way of shifting to an approach that is more student-centered. However, Walsh provides step-by-step instructions for addressing those concerns and cultivating an atmosphere that encourages questioning on the part of students.
According to Walsh, the first thing that has to be done is to explain why questions are so important to the learning process. It is important to provide students with clear rationales, such as “I use questions to comprehend other viewpoints and to engage in collaborative thinking and learning.” or “I ask myself questions to assess my thinking and learning.” When it comes to inspiring students, understanding the purpose of a question is critical. These sample question stems can serve as suggestions for students who require assistance in forming questions that are helpful.
Walsh has constructed a thorough metacognitive framework of questioning skills and matching prompts. This framework can be used as a reference. Students will benefit greatly from having a copy of the rubric, which clarifies the connection between critical thinking and questioning and also serves as an excellent handout for them.
Questioning skills document
In the end, though, the skill of question formulation is one that must be honed through practise, according to Walsh’s writing. She offers a strategy called “think time 1-2,” which places an emphasis on pausing for longer than is customary in order to ask questions and then digest them: After the teacher asks a question, there should be a pause of three to five seconds so that the students may figure out what the question is asking and whether or not they comprehend it. After a student responds to the question, there should be a second “think time” for the students. “provides the chance for students to analyse what a speaker has said and offer questions concerning the speaker’s comment or about the issue in general,” the second pause states. “[I]t is important for students to have this opportunity.”
Alternately, making some straightforward adjustments can hammer home the lesson. It is possible to convey to students that the mantle of leadership has been handed over to them by posing the question, “What types of questions do you have?” rather than the more common “Do you have any questions?” In addition to this, she suggests that instructors “implement a policy of ‘raise your hand to ask a question—not to answer the teacher’s question.'” Changing the expectation of a class from one in which the teacher offers questions to one in which the questions are posed by the students leads to increased engagement, increased comprehension, and increased critical thinking.