Asking and Answering Questions


Asking and answering questions is a form of active learning that has a place within any classroom format. Questions asked by the instructor can involve students more fully in a lecture, leading to deeper understanding of course material. Questions asked by students offer an opportunity to clarify material and they also provide feedback for the instructor. The first five resources below focus on the teacher’s questioning and response techniques; the last two links deal with developing students’ question-asking abilities.


General Resources

"Asking and Answering Questions" Deborah DeZure, Michigan State University (In Whys and Ways of Teaching, Eastern Michigan University, Faculty Center for Instructional Excellence, Vol. 7, No. 1, Sept. 1996).
This article describes factors that influence successful questioning: levels of questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, students’sociocultural backgrounds and intellectual development, learning style preferences, and what research tells us about questioning techniques. It then offers specific strategies for asking and answering questions and responding to students’ questions.

"Answering and Asking Questions," William E. Cashin, Kansas State University. IDEA PAPER No. 31, January, 1995.
Questioning techniques appropriate for lecture classes or small discussion groups, including ways to respond to students' questions.

Asking and Answering Questions (Library, University of Texas at Austin).
Additional methods for asking questions and responding to students' questions.

Teaching Tip #5 - Asking and Answering Questions (Lansing Community College, Center for Teaching Excellence).
Tips for effective questioning and for handling problematic questions asked by students.

Think-Pair-Share (Schreyer Institute, PennState).
Describes a questioning technique that has the entire class actively involved in responding to a question posed by the teacher.
"Emphasis on Teaching: The Importance of Questions," Marshall Brain.
This article contains specific ways to create a good question-asking environment that will encourage students to ask questions and foster their growth as question-askers.
IDEA Item #2: “Found ways to help students answer their own questions,” Nancy McClure (POD-IDEA Center Notes, July 2004).
Describes the teacher’s role in teaching students to ask questions appropriate for what they want to know and then guiding them to seek answers.

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