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Above Image: An array of arms raised to ask questions © Rawpixel , iStockphoto.com

Definition: The skill of questioning allows students to pursue their ideas and explore the world around them. Being able to ask rich questions about who, what, where, when, why, and how, enables students to construct their knowledge and develop an understanding of concepts and experiences.

Questioning is important because…

  • it is a fundamental skill across all disciplines
  • it allows students to capitalize on their interest in, and curiosity about, objects and events in their surrounding environment
  • it helps in the development of higher order thinking skills
  • it can lead to further investigations of interest to the students
  • it is interconnected with skills such as predicting, observing, and making connections

Teaching and Learning Questioning:

Students

Educators

Understand what questions are.

Model the process of asking questions.

Understand that there are different kinds of questions for different purposes.

Expose students to different types of questions through modeling. Demonstrate and have students practice composing different types of questions (e.g., simple yes or no questions that are asked for clarification versus “fat” questions or probing questions that require longer and more thoughtful or factual answers, etc.)

Engage in meaningful conversations that allow them to ask and respond to questions.

Create a classroom environment that supports and encourages the asking of questions. Provide opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations that stimulate ideas and offer opportunities for them to ask and respond to questions.

Ask questions to clarify their knowledge and understanding.

Provide students the opportunity to ask questions to clarify their knowledge and understanding.

Ask questions to pursue their ideas, based on their experiences, interests, or topics of study.

Provide students the opportunity to ask and investigate their questions.

Pose a variety of different questions before and during investigations.

Provide students the opportunity to participate in explorations and investigations that generate questions and answers to a variety of different questions, such as “why…?”, “how...?”, and “should...?”.

Begin to recognize the difference between a testable and non-testable question.

Provide students the opportunity to explore the difference between testable and non-testable questions.

 See Asking Testable Questions and Testable Questions Toss-up

Develop testable questions for experimentation and inquiry.

Provide students the opportunity to conduct explorations and investigations using the testable questions they have developed.

See Testable Questions Toss-up

See: My Questions Round Robin, (Five W’s and an H)2 and Question-Answer Relationship.