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The Art of

Questioning

The unexamined life is not worth


living the most important
thing is to ask question.

Socrates
()

"I know you won't believe


me, but the highest form
of Human Excellence is
to question oneself and
others."

SOCRATIC METHOD
dialectic

method of inquiry or method of


"elenchus,"
to solve a problem, it would be broken down
into a series of questions
the answers to which gradually distill the
answer you seek.

6 types of
questions that
Socrates asked

Conceptual clarification
questions
-Why are you saying that?
-What exactly does this mean?
-How does this relate to what we have been
talking about?

More
What is the nature of ...?
-What do we already know about this?
-Can you give me an example?
-Are you saying ... or ... ?
-Can you rephrase that, please?

Probing assumptions
What else could we assume?
You seem to be assuming ... ?
How did you choose those assumptions?
Please explain why/how ... ?
How can you verify or disprove that assumption?
What would happen if ... ?
Do you agree or disagree with ... ?

Probing rationale, reasons and


Why is that happening?
evidence
How

do you know this?


Show me ... ?
Can you give me an example of that?
What do you think causes ... ?
What is the nature of this?
Are these reasons good enough?

More..
Would

it stand up in court?
How might it be refuted?
How can I be sure of what you are
saying?
Why is ... happening?

And more
Why?

(keep asking it -- you'll never get


past a few times)
What evidence is there to support what
you are saying?
On what authority are you basing your
argument?

Questioning viewpoints and


perspectives
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...?

More
Why

is it better than ...?


What are the strengths and weaknesses of...?
How are ... and ... similar?
What would ... say about it?
What if you compared ... and ... ?
How could you look another way at this?

Probe implications and


consequences
Then

what would happen?


What are the consequences of that
assumption?
How could ... be used to ... ?

More
What

are the implications of ... ?


How does ... affect ... ?
How does ... fit with what we learned
before?
Why is ... important?
What is the best ... ? Why?

Questions about the question


What

was the point of asking that


question?
Why do you think I asked this
question?
What does that mean?

The art of questioning


Questioning

is an integral part of an
inquiry centered classroom.
It is a learners thinking tool to carry out
investigation about a subject matter.

The

power to question is vested


with the teacher who uses this
tool to either approve or
disapprove of childrens
knowledge thus empowering or
disempowering them.

GENERAL GUIDELINES
1.
2.
3.
4.

Distribute questions so that all, including nonvolunteers, are involved.


Balance factual and thought-provoking
questions.
Ask both simple and exacting questions
Encourage lengthy responses and sustained
answers.

GENERAL GUIDELINES
5. Stimulate critical thinking
6. Use the overhead technique: 1) question, 2)
pause, 3) name.
7. Insure audibility, then refuse to repeat questions
or answers
8. If a student asks a question, don't answer it until
you've asked the class

GENERAL GUIDELINES
8. Personalize questions
10. Suggest partnership by inquiring

Levels of thinking skills


Low

level thinking
High level thinking

Lower Level Thinking Skills


APPLICATION
UNDERSTANDING
KNOWLEDGE

Upper /Higher Level Thinking Skill


EVALUATION
SYNTHESIS
ANALYSIS

Critical Thinking Wheel


Students

need to learn how to


process information rather
than merely memorize
information.

Whats in a question, you


ask?

Answer
Everything. It is a way of evoking
stimulating response or stultifying
inquiry. It is, in essence, the very core
of teaching.
John Dewey (1933)

Learning has two sides:


Knowledge/Information
Questioning/Yearning

FIVE BASIC TYPES OF


QUESTIONS

Factual
Convergent
Divergent
Evaluative
Combination

Questioning technique
The teacher should begin by obtaining
attention of the students before the
the
question is asked.
The question should be addressed to
the entire class before a specific
student is asked to respond.

Questioning technique
Calls for responses should be distributed
among
volunteers and non-volunteers, and

the teacher should encourage students to


speak to the whole class when responding.
However, the teacher must be sensitive to
each student's willingness to speak publicly
and never put a student on the spot

1. Factual
Soliciting reasonably simple, straight

Soliciting

reasonably simple, straight


forward answers based on obvious facts
or awareness.
The lowest level of cognitive or affective
processes and answers are frequently
either right or wrong.

Example
What

is the former name of


Jakarta?
Answer: Batavia

More example
Name

the Shakespeare play


about the Prince of Denmark
Answer: Hamlet

2. Convergent

Answers

to these types of questions are


usually within a very finite range of
acceptable accuracy
These may be at several different levels of
cognition

3. Divergent
These

questions allow students to explore


different avenues and create many
different variations and alternative
answers or scenarios

Example
In

the love relationship of Hamlet and


Ophelia, what might have happened to
their relationship and their lives if Hamlet
had not been so obsessed with the
revenge of his father's death?

More example
Like

many authors throughout time,


Shakespeare dwells partly on the pain of
love in Hamlet. Why is painful love so
often intertwined with good literature.
What is its never ending appeal to
readers?

4. Evaluative
These

types of questions
usually require sophisticated
levels of cognitive and/or
emotional judgment.

Examples
a.

What are the similarities and differences


between the deaths of Ophelia when
compared to that of Juliet?
b. What are the similarities and differences
between Roman gladiatorial games and
modern football?

More example
c.

Why and how might the concept of


Piagetian schema be related to the
concepts presented in Jungian personality
theory, and why might this be important to
consider in teaching and learning?

Example
On

reflecting over the entirety of the play


Hamlet, what were the main reasons why
Ophelia went mad?
( This is not specifically stated in one direct
statement in the text of Hamlet. Here the
reader must make simple inferences as to
why she committed suicide.)

5. Combinations
These

are questions that blend any


combination of the above.

Figure 1. Categories of Questions


Category 1

Category 2

Factual
Closed
Convergent

Higher cognitive
Open
Divergent
Higher level
High order
High inquiry

Lower level
Low order
Low inquiry

some tips on questioning techniques to


enhance active learning:
1. Ask Challenging Questions
2. Ask Well-Crafted, Open-Ended
Questions
3. Ask Uncluttered Questions
4. Learn to Wait
5. Presentation