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Are there any hints and tips about using questioning effectively during instruction?

On the surface of things, it might seem that using questions to create classroom learning is rather simple, since we all use questions every day. However, it's a lot more complicated than one might think. Here are a few things to consider so as to avoid some of the common pitfalls associated with using questioning improperly.

  • start questioning with friendly toned, easily answered questions, and remember that questions can be used as aggressive and intimidating verbal tools
  • plan some of the questions ahead of time.
  • in addition to planning questions ahead of time, think about and anticipate possible answers and direction of discussions, so you will be prepared for them. You can also plan followup questions for common answers to your initial questions.
  • have a clear purpose and direction for your questions. Remember you are not using them to have a chat, but to achieve specific instructional objectives.
  • get a sense of partnership and mutual respect, and remember that questions can also be used as putdowns.
  • use more open ended types of questions and match question type to purpose.
  • do not use or allow others to use questions that are too personal or may be distracting from the purpose of the instructional interaction.
  • do not use questions to punish, and do not ask questions to people you feel cannot answer
  • allow people time to think before answering. The most common and biggest error teachers and instructors make is to jump in too fast if they do not get an immediate response to a question. Wait them out even if the silence feels uncomfortable to you.
  • only answer fquestions yourself as a last resort

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