Four Things Educators Should Know About Effective Questions

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I had an intensive week learning about effective questioning techniques in the discussion forum facilitated by my colleague Marla Becking in PIDP3250. In this post, I will provide a summary of what I learned and I will focus on what I consider the four most important basic things every educators should be thinking of before posing questions.

Let me start with by a description rather than definition for effective questions and their types, they are meaningful and understandable inquiries given to students to accomplish teacher’s purposes. They should always correspond to the level of student’s comprehension, challenge them to think deeply but not too difficult.  There are various types of questions but I will stick to the typical types.

  • Closed-ended questions: in many articles they refer as dead ends as they requires one answer may be useful for educators when they need to quickly check comprehension.
  • Open-ended questions: requires students to think deeply, very effective for discussions
  • Convergent questions: have one correct right answer, students are required to find answers using evidence based research
  • Divergent questions: have multiple possible answers, allow students to learn from a variety of perspectives.

Second, let’s list some of the key reasons why as educators we need to ask questions. they can help diagnose students’ understanding , an engaging technique to keep students’ attention and allow them to participate, they are means to develop student’s creative and critical thinking, and to improve students’ questioning skills or ability. The later might sound odd to some educators but I believe that if students must be learn to pose good questions to get better answers.

Third, there are good tools or aids that can help educators to design effective questions. For instance, they can utilize Bloom’s Taxonomy that provides a framework in form of a hierarchy of learning levels, and each level is associate with keywords that can assist them to craft the appropriate question to the learning level. Other frameworks suggested were ORID (Objective- Reflective- Interpretive- Decisional) and F.I.R.E (Factual-Insightful- Rational- Evaluative) both are well known focused conversation models that help students to reply in a more constructive way and reduce getting trapped into useless discussions that lead to nowhere.

One final point, educators must consider “seven habits of highly effective questioners “every time they plan using questioning technique. They are “asking fewer questions, using wait time, differentiating questions, selecting students, questioning for depth, giving useful feedback, and questioning for breadth” (Cooper et al., 2014).

References:

Cooper, J.,M.(2014).Classroom Teaching Skills(10th ed.).[Google Books]. Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/
 

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