Saturday, February 7, 2015

Blog Post #4: Asking Questons: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?

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

three students sitting at a desk raising their handsAsking questions is a vital part of learning. Ben Johnson states in The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom that "we as teachers need to come to grips with the fact that we really do not know everything, and there is no reason for us to assume that the students know nothing." Which couldn't be more correct. I think we as teachers get in front of the class thinking we have all the answers and expect the students to not know anything at all, when in reality we probably learn just as much form them as they do from us. It is important for teachers to stress the importance of question asking in the classroom. I can remember back to when I was in elementary school where the majority of my teachers had a motto, and that was that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Now as a future educator myself I realize the importance of that. Question asking sets the stage for the type of student you will have. If teachers address children's questions in a positive way, then the student is going to think positive about asking questions. The Teaching Center has an article, Asking Questions to Improve Learning that gives several effective ways on how to respond to questions. One I found most important was "show that you are interested in students’ answers, whether right or wrong. Encourage students when they are offering answers by nodding, looking at them, and using facial expressions that show you are listening and engaged. Do not look down at your notes while they are speaking." I feel like this is the where most teachers go wrong. Children become disengaged in question asking because their teachers are not showing encouragement in their answers, regardless of the accuracy. As educators we need to focus more on making sure the children understand, instead of rushing to move on to the next lesson. Just because you ask if everyone understands and they all nod yes, doesn't necessarily mean that they all actually understand. Patience is key, make your classroom an environment where students aren't afraid of asking questions.


  1. Hi Johanna,
    Great post! I agree with you that teachers should approach their students questions with a positive attitude. I believe positivity would make them want to ask questions and answer questions more. I also agree that educators should focus more on if their students understand, that is very important while teaching. In my opinion, there should be a review after a lesson to see if they understand. Do you agree?


  2. Hi Johanna, great post! I love that motto about there being no stupid questions, and will definitely use that as a future educator. And yes positivism and patience are key. Showing positivism makes students that much more confident in asking teachers questions. Teachers also have to make sure they are asking meaningful questions to make sure students are understanding things. Did you find it interesting how so many teachers still ask students the question "Do you understand" while not really focusing on if the students truly understands?

  3. "Asking questions is a detrimental part of learning."
    Detrimental--tending to cause harm

    I don't think "detrimental" is the right word to use here! I think "important" or "instrumental" would work well, though!