Questioning PPT - Kelly Philbeck

Warm-up: The Best Question Ever
•Take a good look at the each photo
•If you could ask this person/people only one
question, what would it be?
•The goal is to learn as much as you possibly
can about who this person really is. Your
question should not be too broad, nor too
•Write your question.
Habits Are Hard to Break
A teacher with 20 years of experience
will have asked something like a half a
million questions in her career. And
when you’ve done something the same
way, half a million times, it’s quite
difficult to start doing it another way.
• On Average, a teacher asks 400 questions
a day (one third of their time)
• Most of the questions are answered in
less than one second (Hastings, 2003)
• 60% recall facts and 20% are procedural
(Hattie, 2012)
• Most answers are right or wrong
Why do we ask questions?
• To guide students toward understanding
when we introduce material
• To push students to do a greater share of
the thinking in the classroom
• To remediate an error
• To stretch students
• To check for understanding
“Quality questions create a quality life. Successful
people ask better questions, and as a result, they get
better answers.”
Anthony Robbins
Closed Questions
• Imply that teacher has a
predetermined correct
response in mind
• Recall of facts
• Simple comprehension
where answer has been
previously provided
Open Questions
• Allow for range of
• Encourage students to
think beyond literal
• Help teacher to assess
student’s understanding of
Strategies for Redeeming Closed
A Range of Answers
A Statement
Right and Wrong
Starting From the Answer/End
Opposing Standpoint
General Rules of Thumb
For Effective Questioning
One at a Time
• Have you ever done this?
– “Sarah, how is the rat’s house different from Mrs.
Frisby’s and which one do you think she would
rather live in?”
• Do you want Sarah to compare and contrast
specific details OR infer a character’s point of
view on an event?
• We are more tempted to do this when we are
excited or in a hurry.
• Consequences:
– Students aren’t sure which question to answer.
– Students skip the hard question.
– Teacher can’t plan follow-up questions.
Simple to Complex
• Simple questions engage student thinking,
and activate memory and opinions.
• Simple questions build a fact base
students can build on to argue more
complex questions.
• Correctly answering simple questions
builds student confidence and increases
the likelihood they will attempt harder
No Opt Out
• A sequence that begins with a student unable
to answer a question and should end with the
student answering that question
– 1. Teacher provides the answer; the student repeats
the answer.
– 2. Another student provides the answer; the initial
student repeats the answer.
– 3. You provide a cue; the student uses it to find the
– 4. Another student provides the cue; the initial
student uses it to find the answer.
(Video Clip 1)
Wait Time—
Think Time--Write Time--Talk Time
• When 3 or more seconds of Wait Time is given…
– …the length and correctness of student responses
– …the number of “I don’t know” and no answer
responses decreases.
– …the number of volunteered, correct answers
• When 3 or more seconds of Wait Time is given….
– …teacher questions are more varied and flexible
– …the quantity of questions decreases and the quality
– …teachers ask add on questions requiring higher-level
thinking and processing
(Video Clip 11)
Think Time
• 3 second minimum
• Instruct students to take a “thinking moment”
before you either open the floor for answers or,
better yet, you choose a student to respond.
• Write the question on the board, while students
are thinking, for visual learners
• Provides the students with a time of reflection
and rehearsal
Write Time
• “I don’t know what I think until I write it
down.” (Norman Mailer)
• Especially helpful for tactile/kinesthetic
• It’s not specifically the writing that helps the
– Writing is an active, rather than passive, task
– Writing involves more of the whole body in the
process of thinking
– Writing clarifies perspectives
Talk Time
• “If you have to talk, you have to think.”
• The importance of dialogic talk
– “ By the age of 4, the child of professional parents in
the US will have had nearly twice as many words
addressed to it as the working-class child, and over
four times as many as a child on welfare. For the
middle-class child, encouragement from parents
vastly outweighs discouragement; but for the child on
welfare the climate of adult reaction is an
overwhelmingly discouraging one. While talk is
essential for intellectual and social development, for
some children, the talk which they engage in at school
is nothing less than a lifeline.”
– (Robin Alexander, 2004)
Right is Right
• What’s the difference between pretty
good and 100% correct?
• How do you respond to “almost right”
Right is Right
• Many teachers respond to almost-correct
answers by “rounding up.” They affirm and
repeat the answer, adding the details to make it
fully correct.
• Most students stop processing when they hear
the word “right.”
• What does this communicate about the
standard of correctness in your classroom?
• Who’s doing the cognitive work?
(Video Clip 3)
How do you handle incorrect answers?
• Say No to No
• Why does Ms. Bannon focus on improving her
questioning rather than simply telling students that an
answer is not correct?
• How does her approach build confidence?
• My Favorite No
• How does this strategy allow for immediate re-teach
or intervention?
• How does this approach of discussing what is correct
and incorrect address both students' academic and
psychosocial needs?
Students asking Questions
• Teachers take up to two-thirds of the classroom
talk time. Students are “talk-deprived” (Alvermann
et al., 1996)
• Student discussion increases retention as much
as 50%. (Sousa, 2001)
Stretch It
• A sequence of questioning that doesn’t end with
the right answer.
• Right answers are rewarded with follow-up
questions that extend the knowledge and test for
Ask how or why
Ask for another way to answer
Ask for a better word
Ask for evidence
Ask students to integrate a related skill
Ask students to apply the same skill in a new setting
Format Matters
• “The complete sentence is the
battering ram that knocks down the
door to college”
• Two Components
–Correct grammar
–Complete sentence format
Format Matters
• Identify the error
– We was walking down the street
– We were…
• Provide the words to start the sentence
– How many dogs are there? Six “There are…”
Format Matters
• Provide a reminder of the question
– Who can tell me in a complete sentence how
many dogs are left?
• Provide a simple, direct prompt after the
– How many dogs are left? Six “Complete sentence
“Students in classrooms
around the world are
answering questions they
never asked.”
Visible Classroom Training
Engaging Students in Effective
Teachers cannot teach
(and students cannot learn)
everything there is to know.
(Brookhart, 2009)
Authentic Questions
• Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov
(Jossey-Bass Teacher)
• Active Learning Through formative
Assessment by Shirley Clarke (Hodder
• Advancing Formative Assessment in Every
Classroom by Moss and Brookhart
• Betsy Madison
[email protected]

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