Almost any teacher, if asked for an area of practice they would like to develop, would say that they find really effective whole class questioning a continuing challenge. At Five Islands, we know our individual students extremely well, and take every opportunity to have one to one discussions with them, where we can use individual questioning that is targeted for their specific strengths and needs. However, whole class questioning provides a range of different and very useful functions, as explored in this NSEAD Paper: http://www.nsead.org/downloads/Effective_Questioning&Talk.pdf
We all agree that questioning is useful, but it is also problematic. How do we ensure that our questions both check on learning and understanding and encourage innovative thinking? How do we make sure we do not always go to the same students, who will give useful, clear answers? How do we stretch our students’ thinking with open questions? How do we ensure that half the class is not snoozing through their classmates’ discussion? How do we challenge ourselves never to accept wrong answers because we are afraid of dampening a student’s enthusiasm?
Planning questions may take a number of forms, some needing more preparation, others less. Here are a few tried and tested methods we can use, as explored in our Personalisation Staff Training recently:
We are planning to set up new Learning Triads this summer, to enhance our collaborative professional development, and our first focus will be on questioning. Which new methods might you try? Which of your favourite methods will you model and share for others?
Please do explore these ideas in more depth in our shared Teaching and Learning Folder on the school’s Google Drive. We look forward to learning deeper questioning techniques from each other over the next few weeks this term!