Have you ever asked a student a question, only to get a response that completely baffled you? You think, “Were they even listening?”
Sometimes the response we get, isn’t based on what we’re asking, but how we ask it. Changing the way you question your students will drastically impact the responses you get. Simple changes to phrasing can prompt students to think before they speak, or even help with student accountability.
- “Think for a moment about… and then I will call on a student.”
- “Be prepared to share with a partner about…”
- “I’m going to call on multiple students to explain the difference between…”
Even the standard, “Are there any questions?” can reduce engagement within the classroom. When you finish with directions, or teaching a new concept, it’s extremely easy to ask if there are any questions. What can happen is a student thinks, “Oh no, if I ask a question, the teacher will think I wasn’t paying attention.” In reality, we are trying to ensure that there are no misconceptions, or even allowing for students to make textual connections. Instead, try asking “What questions are there?” This subtle change insinuates that you expect there to be questions, and encourages students to ask those lingering questions that may be needed for clarification or even enrich the discussion.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog focusing on open and closed questions!