During my observation regarding effective questioning, I realized that the students responded to a series of questions more enthusiastically. Questioning them provided them with an opportunity to think, ponder upon the subject and figure out the answers on their own. This widened their understanding regarding the topic of the lesson. The teacher used a range of questions including both open and closed. * Closed Questions: Implies that the teacher has a predetermined correct response in mind. The answer is limited within a certain range. * Open Questions: These allow a range of responses and make progressive demand on children. They encourage children to think beyond. When putting forth any question in front of children, I realized that it was very necessary that we give them some time to think and respond. An effective questioning strategy which enables children to become more powerful in controlling their learning is to simply repeat back their answer in a neutral tone, thereby handing it back to them. The child will then either verify the answer, or will be able to say whether they are sure or not. In many cases, children look at their answer again in response to this strategy and tell you the right answer. For instance: Teacher: ‘So it’s 42?’ pause, then: Child: ‘Oh, no – it can’t be. I need to do it again.’
This technique is also very effective when working with the whole class. Let the mistake or wrong answer go on to the flip chart or board and wait to see what happens. Invariably, children spot the error. If we jump in to correct immediately, children realize that they don’t need to do any active checking or thinking. Of course, the neutral stance has to be maintained for right as well as wrong answers, or children soon realize that it is only when answers are wrong that it is handed back to them!
In one of the mathematics lesson, the range of questions that I came across can be listed as follows:
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