Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blog Post #4

    Teaching encompasses a wide range of duties. It is not just lecturing to students about a subject and expecting them to retain the information without assessing if they have learned anything. Three Ways to Ask a Better Questions in the Classroom by Maryellen Weimer, tells us that students, when a question has been answered with a one-word answer, that they no longer think about that question because the answer was answered correctly without any thought put into it. Consequently, most teachers ask students questions like this. Questions need to provoke students to use their mind and think a while to find the correct answer. In doing so, students are engaged and will be more likely retain and learn the information. Also, she says the leaving questions unanswered is a good strategy because the student can ponder the question in their own way. Without ever knowing the right answer, students are more likely to brainstorm on the question. Moreover, Andi Stix, author of the video Opened-Ended Questions, says that when teachers ask questions they should be open-ended and require students to think more. She also explains that close-ended questions are the type that yield less thinking and require short answers. On the other hand, Right Ways to Ask a Question by Ben Johnson informs his readers that asking specific, clear, and concise questions and waiting 3-5 seconds after the question without calling on any students, makes every student think about the question. He also says that asking questions to the shy students that seem to not understand the topic, allows them to learn even though they are scared to answer or ask questions. The bright students that understand the topic very well are usually eager to answer the question because they know it and know they will get it right. This does not allow the other students who are too scared to answer to engage in the classroom learning time. According to Teaching Secrets: Asking the Right Questions, asking students to recall facts is the not the best method for comprehension. Putting students in to groups and having them discuss the topic and monitoring the conversation allows the students to discuss what they do not understand. We as teachers should ask questions, then extend and elaborate on those questions to further provoke the child's thinking. For example, ask an open-ended comprehension question, then ask them to apply it to their own lives. Being an effective teacher is not just asking questions, it is asking the right ones. In the blog Getting to Know Students Starts with Asking the Right Questions, Dawn Casey-Rowe tells readers that she starts with asking students questions about themselves to get to know them better. For example she asks, what is their favorite subject and which subject they dislike. I think this could be a useful tool to get to know the personality of the student and know whether they will be the shy or outgoing student when questions are asked. The video, Questioning Styles and Strategies, puts all these ideas to use in a classroom setting. One thing that is video points out that I think is a very useful tool, also mentioned in some of the other texts, is the concept of random name calling. A general question is asked to the entire classroom and if no one responds or raises their hand, the teacher would then call on a student at random thus forcing the student to think and answer. Furthermore, when asking or generating questions it is important to keep in mind that all students are as eager to learn as others and teachers need to focus on these children also. If the student answers the question incorrectly, probe the student or ask questions that lead them in the direction of the right answer that way they feel the satisfaction of answering correctly and will be more likely to answer another question without being forced. Successful learning starts with successful teaching. Asking questions that allow for more comprehension on the subject can aid teachers in developing their students into successful individuals.
Image of a boy holding a piece of paper with the caption: Getting to know students starts with asking the right questions.


  1. Jesse, I agree with you about the scared students not actually having a chance to answer a question. It is better for the students to see the question and think about it quietly before actually answering it. Great blog post!

  2. Jesse, I agree with you. Questions should make student's minds think and develop a well thought out answer. This is a well-written blog post. Keep up the good work!