What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?
In Ben Johnson's blog post,"The Right Way to ask Questions in the Classroom" he makes some really great points. Many times, teachers present themeslves as if they know everything when in all reality, no one knows all there is to know. We should also assume that the students know some too and allow them to express their thoughts and feelings. This can be done as long as questions are presented in the correct way.
With this being said, he states that we should be asking ourselves the question,"What does a teacher asking questions of a class expect the class to learn from the questioning process?"
The thing that teachers are looking for most is understanding.
Mr.Johnson states that many times in a classroom teachers ask students if they understand, but never really take the time to make sure they do.
The wrong way to ask if students understand: "Does everyone understand? Good, okay, moving on."
The correct way: Ask specific questions pertaining to the topic at hand.
Teachers are also ineffective on how they allow students to answer the questions given to them. Many times in the classroom a teacher will ask a question, and the same people will give the answer. This allows the other students to zone out and not even attempt to answer the question because they are not expected to answer. Mary Budd Rowe presents that teachers simply ask a question, such as "What do you call it when an insect kills itself?" pause for at least three seconds, and then say a student's name: "Sally." By doing this, all the students will automatically be thinking about an answer and only after another child's name is said will they sigh in relief because they were not chosen.
Maryellen Weimer gives us three great ways to ask better questions in the classroom in her post, "Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom."
She states to first prepare questions. Actually take the time to write out the questions that you are going to ask the class so that not only the wording is clear, but you can also be sure that the questions are not repetitive or boring.
Secondly, play with the questions. Playing with the question means leaving it unanswered for a while and using some strategies that encourage students to think about it.
Lastly should preserve good questions. Keep your questions, change them up some, and use them again. You can never use a good question too much.
Using methods like this, along with many others available in todays teaching world, effectively questions students is possible.