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Asking Effective Questions

Original Content Publication Date: 10/15/2018


Asking questions may seem like a simple task, but it can also be one of the most powerful tools you possess as a teacher. This article from the Chicago Center for Teaching provides helpful tips about how you can better utilize the questions you ask in your classrooms. In order to be more effective with the questions you use, this article suggest taking four main steps.

Step 1: Perform a question-asking audit

In order to know where you can improve it is good to start with a baseline. The author specifically suggests having a fellow professor observe your teaching and document your questions. Another option is to record your teaching so you can watch the recording and document your own questions later

Step 2: Build a question-asking tool kit

As you audit the questions you ask, you will identify good questions, as well as missed opportunities. Take note of these and keep a tool kit of great questions. Included is a helpful example of a tool kit that categorizes questions based on different cognitive skills. The author suggests three tips for using your tool kit:

  1. Always keep your tool kit handy
  2. Use a lot of different tools
  3. Use the right tools for the job

Step 3: Cultivate your question-asking style

How you ask your questions can be just as impactful as the questions themselves. This article looks into specific aspects of your question asking style including; phrasing and word choice, non-verbal communication, and reaction time to student responses.

Step 4. Further refine your technique

As you continually work on improving your question-asking abilities,there are a few specific tips that the author suggests. The important thing to remember is that you can always work at refining your questions and how you deliver them.

Key Points

  • Asking good questions is one of your greatest tools as a professor
  • Taking an audit of where you are at currently will be necessary in order to improve your question-asking abilities.
  • A question-asking tool kit can be a great resource
  • How you ask a question can be just as important as the question itself
  • There is always room for improvement


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Strategies & Methods