Questioning Techniques

Forum Summary

Forum Analytics:

-Total postings: 49

-Five discussion threads and the welcome

 Welcome remarks – 5 postings (7% class participation)

 Why ask questions – 13 postings (40% class participation)

 How many questions? When? – 9 postings (27% participation)

 Wait-time and feedback – 8 postings (27% participation)

 The power of questions – 7 postings (33% participation)

 Types of questions – 7 postings (20% participation)

Key Themes and Points:

Welcome Remarks:

-Two thoughts resonated here

 To use open-ended, thought provoking and relevant questions to draw the learner in and keep engaged.

 That different topics and courses demand different types of questions, for e.g. questions used in communication course versus math course.

Why ask questions:

-Six thoughts resonated here

 To understand where in their learning process the learner is at.

 To gather information needed to be a more effective instructor.


 To ascertain what the learner wants to know and why they want to know it.

 To understand the learner’s knowledge level and drive their critical thinking.

 To re-check understanding.

 To encourage critical thinking, test comprehension, involve the class, allow opportunity to contribute, and to ensure that everyone is on the same page and communicating effectively.

How many questions? When?

-Four thoughts resonated here

 At the beginning to lead discussion in a certain direction. Midway to ensure that everyone is on track. At the end to assess, evaluate and reinforce.

 Important to ask the whole group not just the vocal ones.

 Instead of questions can do sentence completion exercise where students are asked to complete a sentence from a variety of choices like “the most crucial point in last week’s lecture was…”

 Can also do critical incident questionnaire to get the whole group involved.

Wait-time and feedback

-Four thoughts resonated here

 Stay away from ‘are there any questions’ as this shuts the brain off.

 Muddiest point, critical incident questionnaire, and similar exercises are more helpful.

 What, why, when, where questions engage students and get them thinking.

 There are two wait-times; one time between teacher’s question and student response, and the second wait-time is between student initial response and before the teacher answers. They both need to be about 3-5 seconds. The second wait-time allows for group discussion as others want to get involved in the conversation.

The power of questions

-Four thoughts resonated here

 Questions set the tone or direction of discussion. Initiating active thinking and response.

 A good question should create new insights that were not obviously visible.

 Questions are powerful but it’s the way they are approached, for e.g. eye contact and body language which gives the recipient the motivation to respond.

 They create dialogue. They engage the students, gives them a higher sense of self-worth, and creates a dynamic atmosphere.

Types of questions

-In this section the classmates just posted which types of questions they liked.

 Samantha liked the Kipling and Socratic because they take the discussion from surface to deep level learning, the clear questions because they elicit honest answers and encourages the person to express how they feel, and closed questions to get facts and check recalls.

 Julia liked the probing questions to create discussion.

 Gloria liked the empowering questions because it provokes one to think of possibilities, and Socratic questions because enhances ability to think critically.




Brookfield, S.D. The Skillful Teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2015. Print.



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