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The Importance of Asking Questions in a Classroom- Understanding the WHY, HOW, and WHAT of Questioning Skills

‘I think, therefore I am.’
~ Rene Descartes, French philosopher and mathematician.

The intricate process of thinking has its roots firmly entrenched in the earliest years of our childhood. This is the time when you will find your little one asking you plenty of questions. Questions pertaining to the sun, moon and stars – the list is endless.

The early childhood years mark the period when knowledge is acquired by hungry minds craving for knowledge. It thus becomes imperative that the Culture of Questioning be encouraged in schools. After all, a healthy learning process necessitates students being empowered to ask as many questions as they possibly can.

The importance of communication in education is a must when it comes to stimulating curious minds. Firstly, look at the answer to the question, ‘What is the Importance of Questioning?’

The Importance of Questioning

Want to know why Questioning is important for every child in the classroom? Here are some of the top reasons children need to ask more questions.

  1. It helps them develop interest in what they are learning.
  2. Of course, children have to be sufficiently motivated to learn actively in the classroom. Fostering a constant sense of questioning, allows them to do just that.

  3. It enhances their critical thinking skills.
  4. Children who ask questions, engage in a deeper analysis of the information that is presented to them. This act of questioning promotes their critical thinking skills, and ultimately improves the entire learning experience.

  5. It fosters an increased sense of engagement.
  6. There’s no fun in learning if the teacher is the only one doing the talking! Apart from invoking a sense of curiosity, asking questions helps students break the monotony of classroom learning.

  7. It boosts their confidence.
  8. It might seem a bit intimidating to students in the beginning, when it comes to raising their hand to ask questions. However, over time, as they start getting invaluable answers to their questions, it increases their confidence by leaps and bounds.

  9. It provides space for more questions.
  10. Every time a student asks a question, it only makes space for more questions to follow, thus paving the way for an enhanced atmosphere of information-sharing and discussion.

Types of Questions in Teaching

Now that we have seen why asking questions in class is important, let’s take a peek at some types of questions in teaching, to get a better sense of how that ‘Questioning Culture’ is developed in the classroom.

Rhetoric Questions

This is one of those types of questions in teaching, that imparts education to children in a most unique manner. For instance, the teacher might ask children, ‘A certain amount of fat in our diets is good for health, right?’ Although not a question in the classic sense of the term, kids get the feeling that their teacher is trying to convey something important to them.

Closed Questions

These are the questions asked to children that have a fixed answer to them. For instance, a teacher might ask her students, ‘What are clouds in the sky made of?’

Note: Closed questions are asked when students already know the answer to them. They can be used as a method of practicing recall, and even possibly uncovering some misconceptions that can be duly addressed.

Probing Questions

‘God is in the details’, they say. These are the types of questions that ask for more information on a particular subject. For example, when teaching literature, the teacher might ask a student, ‘What was the exact response of Rose when Jack proposed to her?’

Convergent Questions

The title ‘Convergent Questions’ was coined by a gentleman named J.P. Guildford, in the 1950s. Convergent questions, in essence, necessitate bringing together knowledge and ideas from two or more fields, and synthesise them to generate a logical solution. An example of a convergent question would be, ‘What is the common theme here?’

Multiple Choice Questions

As the name suggests, the student is given a list of options for answering the question.

Strategies for Students to Hone their Questioning Skills

No matter how many questions one asks, there is plenty of space for more. The importance of communication in education is integral to helping nurture the questioning skills of students. Here are some great strategies that will help kids foster their questioning skills, with a view to learning more about the world around them.

Learning Wall

Also known as the Wonder Wall, this is a space in the classroom where kids can post their burning questions. Teachers can effectively employ this strategy before, after and even during class. This is a particularly great strategy, because it promotes active learning and participation.

Asking ‘real’ questions, even though they might seem simple

Teachers might feel that they need to continually avoid stock questions, to make it harder for students to find answers. In fact, when interesting questions directly related to course content are asked to children, it helps drive any previously dwindling levels of engagement.

Building upon Wrong answers

Did you know that a lot of ‘wrong’ answers often contain an element of truth in them? The last thing a teacher needs to do is discourage a student who has put up their hand for the first time. They might do well to ask them, ‘You seem to have got something of the answer right, but you haven’t quite nailed it. Do you know what you might be missing?’

Follow Up Questioning

One of the best things a teacher could do, is to gauge how well a student has actually understood what has been taught to them. For instance, you might ask them a question like ‘When did Jack decide to divorce Mary?’ You might want to follow up with a meaningful question, like ‘What was the cementing factor in his deciding to leave Mary?’

You can rest assured that at EuroKids, our teachers ask students plenty of questions to children, to keep their attention and reinforce their participation. Apart from children learning better, effective questioning also provides our teachers with information about the children they teach.

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