Happy New Year to all readers!
I am sure you will have guessed that this post is going to focus on one of the topics for our January seminar session, i.e., teacher talk strategies to make content comprehensible for students. Undoubtedly, effective questioning is one of those strategies because it enables the teacher to keep students' attention and increases learners' engagement in the class. I wrote a previous post about this topic a few years ago. You can read it here.
Below these lines, I would like to share my personal decalogue on Do's and Don'ts regarding effective questionning in any content area:
1. Provide students with enough time to answer your question: not every learner processes thinking at the same speed. (This was demonstrated in the early 1970s through deep research conducted by a giant in the field of Education: Mary Budd Rowe. You can access it here. )
2.Try to include "fat" questions as often as possible. They will increase students' thinking skills and make room for discussion and debate among students. Do you need ideas on how to create them? I hope this list I have written will be useful.
3. Do plan your questions in advance. Needless to say that you will always have to improvise some of your questions depending on the students' responses but you know that one crucial ingredient of effective teaching is planning.
4. Avoid the "hands-up" approach as much as possible. What can you do instead? At least, I can think of the following :
- Ask students to prepare their answers in pairs or small groups after having given the question some thought.
- Ask a question, pause for some seconds for all students to think of an answer and then call a student's name at random.
5. Encourage students' questions and replies to each other's questions and responses.
6. Give positive feedback even if students' answers are not on the right track. Try giving some clues or examples so that the student realizes his answer was not accurate and starts a self-correcting process.
7. Avoid excessive praise since this may discourage other students who are not so skillful at answering.
8. Focus on one question at a time. Thus, you will be able to offer the specific language support they need for their responses.
9. Create a trustworthy learning environment so that students do not feel anxiety if they do not provide you with the right answer.
10. Show that you are interested in students' responses. Your facial expressions and non-verbal language in general are bound to be helpful for learners to gain trust and improve their reponse while they keep on talking.
I said I would offer my personal decalogue so my post should finish here.
Looking forward to knowing about your questioning strategies in our seminar session on January 18th.