Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blog Post # 6

What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?

                      "Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much."

                                                                                        ~ Francis Bacon

As a student in school, I remember being terrified at the thought of answering a question or even asking question. I always thought that my
question was trivial or that it would make me look less intelligent. I felt that way in a lot of my classes, even though I knew my peers probably felt the same way. In some of my classes I remember teachers asking if anyone had a question, most of the time no one would ask a question. The teacher would then move on to whatever was next in the lesson plan. In other classes, some of my teachers would have a class discussion and everyone would be involved. I always felt comfortable asking a question when there was an actual discussion going on. I think the class discussions made everyone loosen up and feel comfortable. It did not feel like all eyes were you and that everyone is waiting for you to make a mistake. I think when all of the students feel comfortable and there is open communication going on, the students excel and learn more.

  In Ben Johnson's article, "The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom" , He discusses how teachers can improve their questions so that they actually benefit the students. Johnson explains that most teachers ask the generic question, "Does everybody understand?" Even though the
"Good Teaching is more a giving of Right Questions than a giving of right answers", Josel Abners
students do not respond or they do not understand. By asking that question, it comes across as this is your last chance to ask something or the lesson will move on. The teachers feel that they have reached their obligation and if the students do not ask a question, then it is not their problem if the students do not ask a question. Many teachers feel this way when it comes to asking their students questions. This method of questioning may be faster, but it is not effective and the students are not learning. Johnson then goes on to explain how teachers can ask engaging questions. The first solution is stop asking yes or no questions. These questions have no depth and they are not helpful to a student who is already confused. A simple, effective  approach to asking a good question is to use questioning strategies. The first strategy has been researched by Mary Budd Rowe. The strategy includes asking a question to the class and then pausing for three seconds before calling on a student to answer. By completing this strategy, all of the students will naturally be thinking of an answer, because they want to be prepared if the teacher calls on them. I think the strategy is a good one. This allows the teacher to ask questions that engage the students and it requires the students to prepare mentally and think of a question. The students do not know within the three seconds,  if the teacher is going to call on them or not, so they must be ready. I would defiantly use this questioning strategy with my students when it comes to getting them involved in the lesson. 

On the Teaching Center website, it includes a list of ways for teachers to ask questions that help improve student learning. The website explains that when a teacher asks questions to their students, that they are modeling a process for the students. Then students in turn can use this process themselves. The process includes some of these general strategies: keep in mind the course goals, avoid asking "lead in questions",
Students having a class discussion
do not ask more than one question at once, and  have a follow up question for a “yes-or- no” question. It is important to remember to keep the course goals in mind, whatever skills and concepts that the students must learn. The questions you ask should help the students practice these skills and communicate them clearly. It is best to avoid "lead in questions", because they are phrased in a way that suggests its own answer and this inhibits students from thinking on their own.It is also important to not ask more than one question at once. In the discussion students do not respond most of the time, because they do not know which question to answer first. It is always best to include a follow up question for a "yes-or- no" question for the students. For example, try following up with asking them why they answered the way they did and to provide an explanation and evidence.This also generates a discussion between the teacher and student and the students with each other. 



  1. Hi Briann,

    You did a very great job on Blog Post #6. I really related to your opening paragraph! I believe all students go through this at one point or another. Students idea of not looking the teacher in the eye when he or she is getting ready to ask a question is probably not a very effective way of avoiding the question. I thought about that when you stated that you would use the method of asking a question and waiting a few seconds before calling on the chosen students name. I can remember being a student that was praying, "Please don't let her call my name" instead of preparing my answer for the question. I hope that this method works well for you in your classroom. However, we will have to have a back up plan just in case!

    I only caught four spelling mistakes while reading through.

    I think the strategy is good one. (is a good one)

    By completing this strategy, all of the students will naturally be thinking of a answer, because they want to be prepared if the teacher calls on them. (of an answer)

    The teachers feel that they have reached they obligation and if the students do not ask a question, then it is not their problem if the students do not ask a question. (their obligation)

    Even though the student do (does) not respond or they do not understand,
    I would rearrange the sentence before or after this to make it a complete sentence.

    Great job!

    Shanda Thornton