Questions are used by both the teacher and the student, the former to teach, and the latter to learn. How should a teacher then handle questions and questioning?
Questioning requires skill. It often takes many years of classroom experience, professional reading, and self-evaluation for a teacher to be a proficient questioner. All the while the teacher must make a constant and persistent effort to improve his questioning ability and technique. Toward this end, the following techniques are suggested.
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Classroom Questioning Techniques
- Questions should be asked in a natural and well-modulated voice. Questions should not be asked hurriedly nor in a way that is likely to create nervous tension in the student and thereby block the student’s thinking.
- A teacher should ask the question first and then wait for the class to think about it before calling on a student to answer the questions. In this way, everyone has a chance to think before anyone tries to answer it. Students should be given enough time to formulate the answer. Furthermore, this technique will keep all the students alert. If students are apprised beforehand as to who is to answer the question, inattention will result.
- A sufficient number of questions should be asked to stimulate students to activity. There should not be too many questions to the extent that they require a minimum of thought and the giving of very short or one-word answers. Too many questions lead to too much teacher activity and not enough on the part of the students.
- A teacher should refrain from repeating questions. Attention is challenged when questions are not repeated. However, if for some legitimate reasons, the student does not hear nor understand the question, then, of course, one has to repeat the question. This technique also applies to repeating answers. Repeating answers merely waste time and encourages inattention.
- Questions should be evenly distributed so that the majority of the pupils can take part in the discussion. Difficult questions should be asked to bright questions. A teacher should encourage all students to share in the group thinking at all times.
- A teacher should avoid resorting to any mechanical system of fielding questions to the class, such as by alphabetical order, or row by row. Students catch on these devices, thus resulting in student inattention.
- A teacher should ask questions that are really interesting and though provoking. Leading questions, questions which give aways answers, one-word answer questions, and the likely may result in boredom on the part of the students.
Techniques in Handling Student Questions
The student, not just the teacher should ask questions. Student’s questions should be encouraged because they reflect their mental ability. A student will be likely to ask questions only if the teacher will create that type of classroom atmosphere.
How should a teacher handle student questioning so that they will be constantly encouraged to ask questions? The following are techniques suggested in handling students questions:
- Student questions should be welcomed by a teacher. If students know that their questions will be respected by the teacher, then a teacher expects more students to ask questions.
- A teacher should not answer a student question right away. He should first turn over the question to the class for other students to answer and probably discuss.
- Indiscriminate student questions should not be allowed. Trivial and insignificant questions should be dismissed by the teacher, not autocratically but in a brief way such that the student will realize why the question does not merit attention.
- A teacher should require students to frame grammatically correct questions.
- If a teacher is asked questions he cannot answer, as sometimes happens, he should promptly admit his inability. Perhaps a student in the class does know. If not, the teacher should help the students to look up the answer. After the class, he himself should look up the answer too.
What are your favorite question techniques?
Travers, Alfred W., Supervision, Techniques and New Dimensions, Manila: Rex Publishing Co., 1987.
Tangco, et al. Principles and Methods of Teaching. Quezon City: Phoenix Press Inc., 1991.
Basey I Central Elemetary School