Richard Lander School

CRITICAL QUESTIONING STRATEGIES
Compiled by Pete Crawley from research by other wiser minds.

Critical Thinking Questioning Strategies

Questioning can.....
arouse curiosity • stimulate interest in the topic • clarify concepts • emphasize key points • enhance problem-solving ability Level Level Attributes Level 1• exhibits previously learned material by recalling facts, terms, Knowledge basic • concepts and answers. •

• • •

encourage students to think at higher cognitive levels motivate student to search for new information ascertain students’ knowledge level to aid in modifying instruction Questions
What is ...? How is ...? Where is ...? When did _______ happen? How did ______ happen? How would you explain ...? Why did ...? How would you describe ...? When did ...? Can you recall ...? How would you show ...? Can you select ...? Who were the main ...? Can you list three ...? Which one ...? Who was ...? How would you classify the type of ...? How would you compare ...? contrast ...? Will you state or interpret in your own words ...? How would you rephrase the meaning ...? What facts or ideas show ...? What is the main idea of ...? Which statements support ...? Can you explain what is happening . . . what is meant . . .? What can you say about ...? Which is the best answer ...? How would you summarize ...? How would you use ...? What examples can you find to ...? How would you solve ____ using what you have learned ...? How would you organize ____ to show ...? How would you show your understanding of ...? What approach would you use to ...? How would you apply what you learned to develop ...? What other way would you plan to ...? What would result if ...? Can you make use of the facts to ...? What elements would you choose to change ...? What facts would you select to show ...? What questions would you ask in an interview with ...? What are the parts or features of ...? How is ____ related to ...? Why do you think ...? What is the theme ...? What motive is there ...? Can you list the parts ...? What inference can you make ...? What conclusions can you draw ...? How would you classify ...? How would you categorize ...? Can you identify the difference parts ...? What evidence can you find ...? What is the relationship between ...? Can you make a distinction between ...? What is the function of ...? What ideas justify ...?

Level 2 Comprehens ion

demonstrating understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions and stating main ideas.

Keywords • Key words: who, what, why, when, omit, where, which, choose, find, how, define, label, show, spell, list, match, name, relate, tell, recall, select • Key words: compare, contrast, demonstrate, describe, interpret, explain, extend, illustrate, infer, outline, relate, rephrase, translate, summarize, show, classify, infer

Level 3 Application

solving problems by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way.

Key words: apply, build, choose, construct, demonstrate, develop, draw, experiment with, illustrate, interview, make use of, model, organize, plan, select, solve, utilize, Key words: analyze, categorize, classify, compare, contrast, discover, divide, examine, group, inspect, sequence, simplify, distinguish, distinction, relationships, function, assume,

Level 4 – Analysis

examining and breaking information into parts by identifying motives or causes; making inferences and finding evidence to support generalizations.

conclude

Level Level 5 – Synthesis

Level Attributes • Compiling information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions.

Keywords • Key Words: combine, compile, compose, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, imagine, invent, make up, originate, plan, propose, solve, solution, suppose, discuss, modify, change, improve, adapt, minimize, maximize, delete, elaborate, improve

Questions
What changes would you make to solve ...? How would you improve ...? What would happen if ...? Can you elaborate on the reason ...? Can you propose an alternative ...? Can you invent ...? How would you adapt ________ to create a different ...? How could you change (modify) the plot (plan) ...? What could be done to minimize (maximize) ...? What way would you design ...? What could be combined to improve (change) ...? Suppose you could _______ what would you do ...? How would you test ...? Can you formulate a theory for ...? Can you predict the outcome if ...? How would you estimate the results for ...? What facts can you compile ...? Can you construct a model that would change ...? Can you think of an original way for the ...? Do you agree with the actions ...? with the outcomes ...? What is your opinion of ...? How would you prove ...? disprove ...? Can you assess the value or importance of ...? Would it be better if ...? Why did they (the character) choose ...? What would you recommend ...? How would you rate the ...? What would you cite to defend the actions ...? How would you evaluate ...? How could you determine ...? What choice would you have made ...? What would you select ...? How would you prioritize ...? What judgment would you make about ...? Based on what you know, how would you explain ...? What information would you use to support the view ...? How would you justify ...? What data was used to make the conclusion ...? Why was it better that ...? How would you prioritize the facts ...? How would you compare the ideas ...? people ...?

Level 6 – Evaluation

presenting and defending opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria.

Key Words: award, choose, defend, determine, evaluate, judge, justify, measure, compare, mark, rate, recommend, rule on, select, agree, appraise, prioritize, support, prove, disprove, assess, influence, value

QUESTIONING STRATEGIES Questions should play an important role in every classroom--both student questions and teacher questions. Teachers can create an active learning environment by encouraging students to ask and answer questions. STUDENT QUESTIONS • • • • • Make it easy for students to ask questions Make time for questions Wait for students to formulate questions Ask other students to answer Have students formulate questions prior to class TEACHER QUESTIONS • • • • • • • • Plan some questions as you prepare Ask clear, specific questions Use vocabulary students can understand Ask questions in an evenly-paced, easily identifiable order Ask questions from all levels of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives Use questions to help students connect important concepts Use questions to give you feedback Allow sufficient time for students to answer

Rephrase questions

Teacher Questions PLAN SOME QUESTIONS AS YOU PREPARE your lesson plan. ASK CLEAR, SPECIFIC QUESTIONS that require more than a yes or no answer. Avoid ambiguous or vague questions such as "What did you think of the short story? USE VOCABULARY THAT STUDENTS CAN UNDERSTAND. ASK QUESTIONS IN AN EVENLYPACED, EASILY IDENTIFIABLE ORDER. ASK QUESTIONS FROM ALL LEVELS of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. USE QUESTIONS TO HELP STUDENTS CONNECT IMPORTANT CONCEPTS. USE QUESTIONS TO GIVE YOU FEEDBACK on whether students have understood the material. ALLOW SUFFICIENT TIME STUDENTS TO ANSWER questions (10-15 seconds). FOR your Think your learning objectives and outcomes and emphasize questions that reinforce them. The questions you ask will help students see what topics you consider important. If a student does give you a yes/no or short answer, ask a follow up question that will encourage him/her to expand, clarify, or justify the answer. Students cannot respond well to a question that contains unfamiliar terms. Students might be confused by random, rapid-fire questions. Use questions to signal a change of topic or direction in the lecture. Mixing more difficult questions that require synthesis and evaluation with simple questions that require memory and comprehension keeps students actively switching gears. (e.g., Now that we've learned about conservation of energy, how does this knowledge help us relate the kinetic and potential energy of an object?) (e.g., "Which part of the experiment was most difficult for you and why?").

REPHRASE QUESTIONS POSE THE QUESTION FIRST , before asking a student to respond.

ESTABLISH A SAFE ATMOSPHERE for risk taking by guiding students in the process of learning from their mistakes.

Students need time to think and organize an answer before responding. Learn to wait until you get a student response. The silence can be uncomfortable sometimes, but it is necessary in order for students to know that you are serious about wanting an answer to your question. You can ask students to write down their response to a question, then call on several students to read their answers. This technique requires all students to become actively involved in thinking about your question. When students do not respond in the manner you expected. Admit that your original question might have been confusing. When you call on a student before posing the question, the rest of the class is less likely to listen to the question, much less formulate a response. Posing the question before identifying someone to respond lets students know they will be held accountable and should be prepared to answer every question. ALWAYS "dignify" incorrect responses by saying something positive about students' efforts; public embarrassment only confirms apprehensions about class participation. When students make mistakes, build their confidence and trust by asking follow-up questions designed to help them self-correct and achieve success. Admit your own mistakes and "think aloud" examples of a reflection process that demonstrates increased awareness, new insights, concept clarification, etc.

Questioning Techniques: Chunking questions Chunk up and down for more or less detail. Chunking Down - getting a big picture before you dive into detail. Getting more detail by probing for more information about the high-level information you already have. The goal is to find out more, fill in the empty gaps in your picture

Chunk down by asking questions such as: • • • • • • How did you that? Why did that happen? What happened about...? What, specifically,... Tell me more about... What is the root cause of all this?

Chunking Up - the opposite of chunking down - looking for a more generalized understanding. Chunk up by asking questions such as: • • • • What does this mean? Let's look at the bigger picture... How does that relate to...? What are we trying to achieve here?

Clear questions Columbo technique

Funnel questioning

• Who is this for? What do they really want? That are simple and unambiguous. Non leading questions; non emotional questions; avoid jargon and complex language. Asking stupid questions that get the answers you want. Columbo uses two steps to his method: (a) Get them talking, and then (b) Slip in the real question; a)starts with casual open questions, just to put the other person at ease and get them freely talking. b) when the audience is relaxed, slip in a question about what you really want to know. Seeks further information either that goes into more specific detail or becomes more general.
<== Decreasing detail More information about more topics. \ Less information about specific topics

==

/ Increasing detail ==>

More information about fewer topics. Less information about more topics.

Kipling questions Rudyard Kipling wrote a short poem outlining a powerful set of questions: I keep six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.

Rudyard Kipling's six servants. Whenever in doubt as to what to ask, just dip into these questions. 'What?' often asks for noun responses, seeking things that are or will be. They may also seek verbs when they seek actions. Asking 'why' seeks cause-and-effect. If you know the reason why people have done something, then you gain a deeper understanding of them. If you know how the world works, then you may be able to affect how it changes in the future. 'When' seeks location in time and can imply two different types of time. 'How' seeks verbs of process. They thus are good for probing into deeper detail of what has happened or what will happen. 'Where' seeks to locate an action or event in three-dimensional space. This can be simple space, such as on, above, under, below. It can be regional

space, such as next door or in the other building. It can be geographic space, such as New York, London or Paris. 'Who' brings people into the frame, connecting them with actions and things. The 'Who' of many situations includes 'stakeholders', who are all the people who have an interest in the action. Key people to identify are those who will pay for and receive the benefits of the action. Solving problems - A simple framework for solving problems may be defined by combining What, Why and How, as follows: 1. What is the problem? 2. Why is it happening? 3. How can you fix it? 4. – Fix it! – 5. Why did it work or not work? 6. What next?

Open and questions

Closed

yes/no or long answer. • Closed questions have the following characteristics: They give you facts. They are easy to answer. They are quick to answer. They keep control of the conversation with the questioner. • Open questions have the following characteristics: They ask the respondent to think and reflect. They will give you opinions and feelings. They hand control of the conversation to the respondent. Specific questions for finding detail. Clarification - Could you tell me more about YY? Purpose - What were you thinking about when you said XX? Relevance - Is that relevant to the main question? Completeness and accuracy - Is that all? Is there anything you have missed out? Extension - Could you tell me more about that, please? Evaluation - How good would you say it is? What are the pros and cons of this situation? Emotional - And how did you feel about that?

Probing questions

Socratic questioning Conceptual clarification questions

Socrates' method of questioning in order to elicit learning. Get them to think more about what exactly they are asking or thinking about. Prove the concepts behind their argument. Basic 'tell me more' questions that get them to go deeper. Why are you saying that? What exactly does this mean? How does this relate to what we have been talking about? What do we already know about this? Can you give me an example? Are you saying ... or ... ? Can you rephrase that, please? Probing of assumptions makes them think about the presuppositions and unquestioned beliefs on which they are founding their argument. This is shaking the bedrock and should get them really going! What else could we assume? You seem to be assuming ... ? Please explain why/how ... ? What would happen if ... ? Do you agree or disagree with ... ? When they give a rationale for their arguments, dig into that reasoning rather than assuming it is a given. People often use un-thought-through or weakly understood supports for their arguments. Why is that happening? How do you know this? Show me ... ? Can you give me an example of that? What do you think causes ... ? Are these reasons good enough? Why is ... happening? Why? (keep asking it -- you'll never get past a few times) What evidence is there to support what you are saying?

Probing assumptions

Probing rationale, reasons and evidence

Questioning viewpoints and perspectives

Most arguments are given from a particular position. So attack the position. Show that there are other, equally valid, viewpoints. Another way of looking at this is ..., does this seem reasonable? What alternative ways of looking at this are there? Why it is ... necessary? Who benefits from this? What is the difference between... and...? Why is it better than ...? What are the strengths and weaknesses of...? How are ... and ... similar? How could you look another way at this?

Probe implications and consequences

The argument that they give may have logical implications that can be forecast. Do these make sense? Are they desirable? Then what would happen? What are the consequences of that? What are the implications of ... ? How does ... affect ... ? How does ... fit with what we learned before? Why is ... important? What is the best ... ? Why? And you can also get reflexive about the whole thing, turning the question in

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