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ffective Questioning and

eacting Techniques
(Rowena M. Tivoli)
Children go to school as question marks and leave
school as periods. Neil Postman

Focus Question:
For a highly interactive class, what are the
various types of questions asked?
What are some questioning skills that
How can a teacher improve his/her
questioning skills?
What are some effective reacting techniques?

A study was once conducted to find out
how teachers ask questions. This was
observed in a Grade 6 science class. A tape
recorder was hidden under the demonstration
table. She conducted a discussion of the
lesson for forty minutes. She was able to ask
29 questions, all of which are of the what
type. Maybe they were all answered. They
were simple recall. But has the teacher
helped develop the pupils thinking skills?

The kind of questions we ask determine

the level of thinking we develop. Low level
questions demand low level responses.
They require responses of the simple recall
or memory type of answers.
Examples: What was
range yesterday? What
dengue fever? What part
as its factory?

the temperature
insect transmits
of a plant serves

High level questions call for higher-coder

thinking ability. Why and how questions
conclusions is arrived at after weighing
evidence or establishing a pattern out of a
recorded tabulation of data.
continue to rise from early morning till
about noontime? How does the hydrologic
cycle occur? A question is taken as a
request for information. It is simply an
inquiry about something.

In teaching, it takes the form of a

problem at the start of a n investigation or
query about a current issue such as time or
classroom management. It is a statement that
demands an explanation, a purpose or an
argument. A daily lesson seldom without even
a single question. It is the question, stated in
any form that unlocks thinking. Hence, it is
integral in the teaching practice.


The kind of question we ask varies

according to purpose. Here are some:

For Assessing Cognition

This type of question is used to determined
ones knowledge in understanding. They
promote high level thinking. Divergent
questions and open-ended inquiries call for
analysis and evaluation. Example: what is
likely to happen if the ozone layer of the
atmosphere continues to deteriorate sound
heard louder when under water than out of it.

For Verification
It determines the exactness or accuracy
of the result of an activity or performance.
Example: was the weight of liquid displace
exactly the same as the weight of the
object immersed in it? Why is lightning
seen before the thunder is heard?

For Creative Thinking

It probes into ones originality. Example:
how will you present the layers of the earth to
your class? Simulate the eruption of Mt.
Mayon. The question may ask for pupils own
ideas or new ways of doing things. Example:
how can you demonstrate soil-less gardening?

For Evaluating
It elicit responses that include judgment,
value and choice. It also asks personal opinion
about an event, a policy or a person. Example:
your teachers slide presentation well

For Productive Thinking

It includes cognitive reasoning. It analyses
facts, recognizes patterns or trends and
invokes memory and recall. Example: why was
our fourth secretary of the department of
landowners? How can we apply the law of
conservation of energy?

For Motivating
Before discussing the lessons, a number of
questions about the topic can serve to arouse
their interest and focus attention. In attempts
to put students in the right mood. Example:
would you like to know how your favorite flower
can remain fresh longer? Did you ever train a

For Instructing
The questions asks for useful information. It
directs, guides and advise on what and how to
do an activity. Example: what are the steps in
performing an experiment?

As to level, question can either below

or higher level.

Low level Questions

They include memory questions or those that
require simple recall. Example: Define energy.
State the first Law of Motion.

High Level Questions

These questions call for a respondents
ability to analyze, evaluate and solve problems.
Examples: What is the relation between the
distance of a planet and its period of
revolution? Why does temperature rise towards

Divergent Questions
They require the respondent to think in
different directions, to think of alternative
actions or to arrive at own decision. There are
several possible answers. Example: Why are
you voting for him? What will happen if you
leave it under direct sunlight for a week?

Questioning Skills
Class interaction is dependent on
questioning skills. What skills should
acquire to generate interaction among


Varying type of question ask convergent,

Convergent questions Convergent questions
have only one acceptable correct answer. An
example is what
is the process of food
manucfacture that takes place in plant
called? Divergent question are open and
may have more than acceptable answer.
Example: how can the government
effectively enforce law against water
pollution? an evaluate question requires
judgement concerning the subject focus.
Example: What is your evaluation of our
manner of election in the country?

Asking non directing question - Pose the

question first, then call on a student to
answer. Dont direct
your question to just
one students. Direct the question to all.


in non-volunteers Dont just call on

who raise their hands.

Rephrasing - if you sense a question

was not understood, simplify it or ask it
in another way.

Sequencing logically- it is asking related

questions one from simple to complex one

Requiring abstract thinking- This means
beyond simple recall questions.
Examples of
questions that require abstract
thinking is
What meaning can you derive
from the data presented in the graph? What
generalization can you draw from the data

Asking open-ended questions- this
means asking divergent questions to develop
higher- order thinking skills.

Allowing for sufficient wait time- Wait

refers to the pause needed by the
teachers after asking a question. This is
the time when she waits for an answer. A
number of things to consider are: a.) the
level of difficulty of the questions, b.) the
type of response
required, c.) the
respondents and d.) the intellectual
ability of the respondents.

An average of 2 to 5 seconds is sufficient

for what questions and about 5 to 10
seconds for why and how questions.
Usually there is a need to revise or
improve the questions of it proves difficult at
the moment. This is a second wait time. A
long pause would encourage the second wait
time. A longer pause would encourage the
students to continue thinking, In most cases
they are able to think of the best answer. The
follow-up questions can lead to extended
ideas instead of short memory questions.

Providing sufficient wait time can achieve the

*Motivates slow thinking students to
*Improves the quality of the responses
*Decreases the amount of guessing or

*Leads the teacher to vary her questions

*Provides the time for the teachers to
evaluate the answers given.
*Encourages the students to ask their own
questions. Give students enough time to
think about the answers.

Assessing comprehension- ask questions
to test comprehension. Now and then find out
if your students are with you.

Involving as many as possibledistribute your questions to as many

students. Widen participation. Dont just
call on students on students who raise
their hands. By their facial expressions,
you can sense who among your students
would like to recite.

w to improve Questioning Technique

The following are some points to consider to
improve ones questioning technique.

Know your own style of questioning

Request a colleague to critique your own style as
to: a.) kind of questions often
asked, b.) the type of responses required. Knowing
your errors in questioning would make it easy to
effect the necessary changes. Too many what
questions will be avoided.
Increase your own repertoire of type questions.
Training on employing divergent, high level and openended
technique. Fully aware of the instructional objectives
set for a particular lesson, you would be able to
frame more interesting and thought-provoking
questions rather than the memory type.

Consider the individual abilities and interest of the
students. Experiencing success in giving corrects
answers promotes a feeling of confidence among them.
Select the brighter ones to respond to high level
questions. An approving nod, a smile or praise for an
answer given will encourage them to volunteer own
Spend time reflecting on the type of questions you
ask. Improve on them.

Children are by nature curious. They think

question about almost anything they see and
hear around them. They ask casual, intelligent
and even funny questions. Neil Postman said,
they come to school as question marks but
unfortunately leave school as periods.

The teachers reaction to their inquisitiveness can

motivate or discourage them from asking more
question. Some may give honest answer, others may
instantly stop them from attempting to ask more.
How can we encourage children to ask question?
Here are some tips:
1) The teachers questioning technique is the
key in encouraging students to ask correct,
relevant and high level question. Her
question can serve as a good examples.
2) Attend to their question. Avoid dismissing
irrelevant questions. Assist in clarifying or
refocusing in order to solicit correct

3) Praise the correctly formulated questions. It

develops confidence and makes knowledge
search easy and satisfying.
4) Allot an appropriate time slot for open
questioning. This will encourage the slow
thinker to participate freely.