Asking Questions: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?
The question Dr. Strange presented the class with is..."What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" This question makes me think of our class motto, "Questions are more important than the answers." Questions are very important when it comes to learning. As students, we sometimes have questions in our head, but too afraid to ask. We think the questions are stupid or the class will get mad at us for asking too many questions. Especially when you are younger, the class teases you for "holding the class up" and you don't want to be seen as the only one who doesn't understand. As future educators, we must encourage questions. We must learn how to ask questions in order to get the most participation and intellect from our students. Teachers should also keep in mind that they are learning too and do not know everything. So it is good for them to ask questions also.
In Ben Johnson's post titled "The Right Way to Ask Questions", he states the most useless question for any teacher to ask "Does everyone understand?" This question basically says now is your only time to speak or hold it in forever because I am moving on. I believe this is an easy out for teachers. Teachers are in such a hurry to move on that they don't try to push their students out of their comfort zone. Mr. Johnson explains that maybe the students "do not understand that they do not understand, and if they do not know what they do not know, there is no way that they can ask a question about it." This is so true! Students may not know what question to ask. Another thing wrong with this question is that it can be answered with yes or no. Most questions should open-ended, not closed-ended. Open-ended questions produce more thinking preparation to answer them. When opening the instruction time to questions, ask specific, detailed questions. According to The Teaching Center posted by the Washington University in St. Louis, teachers should not ask more than one question at a time and should not ask "leading questions". The response teachers will get by doing these suggestions will be surprising overwhelming and instruction time will be more interactive.
In order to accomplish this goal, future teachers must devise a strategy. In the blog post, Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom by Maryellen Weimer, PhD., she gives ways to help with the strategy to improve interaction in instruction time and how to improve the quality of the answers from students. The three ways are:
1. Prepare Questions - Dr. Weimer explains that teachers must come to class with questions already written down. All questions must be clear and detailed. This is a great method to establish early in a career. While you are preparing the content, think of questions that the students may ask or what points you as a teacher want to make sure the students understand.
2. Play with Questions - When you play with a question, you asked it and then leave it unanswered for a short period, roughly five seconds. This gives students the chance to think about the question. Dr. Weimer states that if teachers have students answer the question quickly, other students will take the first answer the teacher deems correct and not think about that question anymore.
3. Preserve Good Questions - All good questions should be saved for future references. Teachers must save the questions that really make the students journey outside the box. These types of questions will encourage them to think beyond the surface and look into the subject deeper.
As a future educator, I have learned from these sources that it is my job to ensure that my students are excited about class and even more passionate about asking questions. I believe if teachers adhere to these suggestions, they will have a more collaborating style classroom. The students will be more interactive with the teacher and the teacher will be more dedicated to teach the students. Students should know that questions are the backbone to learning! In the words of Albert Einstein, "The important thing is not to stop questioning!"