The art of asking the right questions

The art of asking the  right questions

Generally in classes, the most frequently asked and pondered upon questions are “Will the book be sufficient to cover the syllabus?,” “Where can we get extra notes from?,” “Can we use Google for research?” and so on.

Rarely are teachers posed questions that generate interest of the class. The art of asking questions involves a dynamic conversation that can arouse curiosity, encourage multiple point of views, draw on personal perspectives and most importantly foster collaborative learning.

What to do?

Credible questions promote thinking, thinking opens the doors of many young minds and this in turn, leads to a healthy discussion.

So, how do teachers ensure that they keep such healthy discussions going? Here are some methods that can be adopted in order to fortify the conversation and inspire the application of knowledge:

Firstly, there is a need for the mentor to prepare thought-provoking questions. This can include interpretative, subjective or evaluative ones that encourage thinking and challenge the students mentalities.

These questions could be analytical or those which propel group discussions. Sadly, most teachers rely on the obvious questions, rather than difficult ones that would actually stir the interest of the students.

Secondly, questions can be played with and asked in a more intriguing manner. They should be asked in such intervals where the mind can actually understand, think and respond with activeness.

The teacher could do this by starting the class with the question to arouse curiosity or end the class with the question where the students feel they can interpret the input provided and add to the discussion.

Thirdly, the good questions can be preserved for a time when the interest of the class may be falling, or when there is a necessity to catch the attention of the drifting minds.

Ignite the minds

The fourth way of asking a question in an interesting manner is by posing questions you don’t know the answers to. Students have a general belief that teachers have all the answers.

However, by asking questions whose answers you don’t know  gives students a greater comfort around you to voice their thoughts and also gives you an opportunity to learn and evolve.

We have to remember that asking pure theoretical questions is of no help. Always pose questions that force students to apply the concepts they have learnt. This brings forth multiple ways of looking at the same problem.

Open-ended questions that have definite answers do not add anything to the learning process. This is because students vehemently believe that such questions have definitive answers and stop questioning the concepts and just accept the answers given.

Asking questions is an art through which the purpose of the study should be understood. These questions should not only provide guidelines to what is important and what is not, but should also help accomplish the goal of fostering collaborative learning and understanding amongst the students.

A lot can change if the kinds of questions that are asked in a classroom are changed and this can pave the way for knowledgeable citizens of tomorrow.

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