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Quality questioning

As teachers, we must be critically aware of the nature and quality of our own questions. Using the following questions can help us facilitate student engagement in discussion.

 

Asking productive questions

 

Keeping focused

  • What is it that puzzles you?
  • What did you find interesting?
  • Why do you agree or disagree with X?

Information gathering

  • What do you know about that?

Reasons

  • Why did you say that?
  • What reasons do you have?

Distinctions

  • How is that different from what X said?

Connections

  • How does that fit with what X said?

Consistency

  • Is that the same as what you said earlier?
  • Does that agree with what was said earlier?

Assumptions

  • How do you know that?
  • What have you based that on?

Relevance

  • How does that help?

Implications

  • What can we work out from that?
  • What does that tell us?
  • What follows from what X said?

Speculation

  • Can anyone think of how that might have happened?

Examples

  • Can anyone give me an example of that?

Summarising

  • What have we found out?
  • Where have we established concise understanding?

Counterexamples

  • Can you think of a case or a time when that wouldn’t work?

Clarification

  • What do you mean by that?
  • Can anyone help X explain that more clearly?

Testing

  • How could you work out if that was true?

Alternatives

  • How else could we think about that?
  • What if someone said … ?
  • There are some people who think that …

Source: Lynch, S and Leaney, G (2008) Strategies for a Thinking Classroom, E:Update 003, PETAA, Sydney, page 9.