Our last blog focused on specific phrasing to get a desired answer, as opposed to the blank stare or unrelated response you’re getting.
Questions are such an important part of what we do as teachers! They allow us to clarify, assess level of mastery, as well as encourage a deeper understanding of material. Think about the questions you are asking your students – are you getting one word responses? This could be caused by asking “closed questions.” Closed questions provide limited responses that often include one to two word answers, such as “yes” or “no.” Although there is a time and place for these types of questions, they don’t allow students’ to delve deeper into material.
“Open questions,” which require time to process and develop, allow for richer discussions and increased cognitive lift from your students. With the current focus on rigor and engagement, questioning addresses both of those. Open ended questions provide gradual scaffolding to bring students from recall to application and evaluation. You can use the grid below to take any material to a deeper level of understanding.
- What is a main character?
- Where did Mr. Gatsby live?
- When can a main character change or evolve into a minor character?
- Why could the main character be feeling the way s/he is?
- How might the story change based on the choices the main character makes?
I encourage you to identify the types of questions you are using within your classroom and reflect on the responses you are getting – are they what you want or expect? Build off of your closed-ended questions to dig deeper and garner a high level of understanding for your students.