Using Questions To Promote Student Learning

Teaching is the process of imparting knowledge, Understanding is the teacher’s reward. Socrates viewed teaching as the process of asking questions, understanding, on the other hand, can be looked at as the ability of a student to answer those questions. This makes student learning a product of good teaching and understanding. Questions can therefore be defined as the bridge between the teacher’s knowledge and the student’s understanding.

The Use Of Questions In Teaching.

Questions are the second teachers and most important tool in student learning after explanation. Teachers use questions up to one-third of all teaching time. Questions asked can be helpful to the student’s understanding or be detrimental if applied wrongly.

Here is how questions should be framed to compliment understanding.

1. The Question Structure.

Low-Order/Closed Questions.
They need a response time allowance of two to three second to work effectively. The closed question tests what a student remembers and they favor quick learners over slow learners. If applied independently, they make the rest of the students that do not know the answer feel rather stupid. This is why they should be followed by a higher order question/open ended question.

2. When To Use a Low-Order Question.

. When testing the retention level from the previous lessons.

. Low order questions can be used as a wake-up call for students.

. When looking for a better word to correct a partially wrong answer.

The open ended question calls for more thought time. For effective learning, a time span of 10 seconds and the above thought time should be allowed. These questions are aimed at allowing the students attach the ”HOW” and ”WHY” to their understanding.

When To Use A High-Order Question.

. To induce a debate that will involve all students.

. When you want the students to do more thinking.

. When the number of wrong responses is high.

How To Ask A Question.

Ask questions that encourage everyone to develop a response eve if they will not say it.

The answer to the question should benefit both quick and slow learners.

Knowledge seeking questions help a student retain more as compared to specific correct answer seeking questions.

The larger the number of respondents the higher the understanding,

Leading questions will not make students think harder, General questions may also cause wide response ranges.

Structuring the question as close as possible to general life application boosts the student’s understanding.

Handling The Response.

Dismissing a wrong answer should be gentle and accompanied with a clarification or help.

Getting the response from a few active students leave the rest of the class behind.

Listing down the answers and allowing the class to brainstorm offers the best understanding of the topic.

Asking students to explain themselves further and offer examples helps you know the reason for their response. This helps you align your own response.

Before giving your response, ensure that the student’s level of understanding is established. This is done by receiving as many answers as possible to evaluate the overall class understanding.

Before you narrow down to lengthy explanations, offering the students a chance to brainstorm on a topic boosts their understanding.

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