Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Daily Assignment #83: Questions-Why do we ask the questions we do?

We pose questions to students for many reasons.  Some reasons might be:
  • to determine what students know and don't know
  • to develop critical and creative thinking skills
  • to provide a review of material and content
  • to prepare students for what is to be learned
  • to engage students in discussion
  • to teach students to ask questions
Sometimes we ask questions as an attention move, e.g. "Are you paying attention?", "Tim, are you with me on this?", "Maria, what are you doing?"  Some questions are to check for understanding /comprehension during a lesson.  A teacher might ask a question which requires a student to recall specific information.  These are the "who, what, when, where, how questions, e.g. "Who are the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird?, "What is the name of the Shakespeare play about the Prince of Denmark?",  "What are the names of the 5 food groups?", "When did the Cuban Missile Crisis happen?"

Here is a list of some other types of questions:
  • Rhetorical: used for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply.  EX: "Is the Pope Catholic?",  "How much longer must women suffer this injustice?"
  • Clarification: "Why do you say that?", "How does this relate to our conversation?"
  • Probing: "What could we assume instead?", "What would be an example?", "What generalizations can you make?"
  • Perspectives/Viewpoints/Open Ended:  "What is another way to look at this?", "Please explain why it might be beneficial?", "What might be the strengths and weaknesses of...?"
  • Closed: these questions require a yes or no answer.  EX:  "Is Athens the capital of Greece?", "Does the moon rotate around the earth?", "Did the Germans invade Norway?"
  • Hypothetical: "What would you do if...?"
  • Reflective:  "What might you do differently next time?", "What could you have done differently?"
  • Leading: used to gain acceptance of your view, "You agree with me, don't you?"
  • Inference:  "What might be the reasons Ophelia went mad in Hamlet?"
This list is certainly not complete.  There are lots of other types of questions but this will help you to begin your thinking about why you ask the questions you ask.

My next blog will take questioning to the next level by showing how to phrase/design higher level thinking questions using Bloom's Taxonomy.

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Best Effort,

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