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Three Ways to Ask Better Questions

Original Content Publication Date: 06/27/2012

Summary

Professor Maryellen Weimer highlights 3 ways to get the most out of your questions in the classroom. While these suggestions seem simple, it's something that many professors don't do. Her specific suggestions are.

  1. Prepare questions: While some good questions will come naturally through in class discussion, many questions don't inspire near as much learning as they could. The best way to change this is simply putting a focus on what questions you will ask, and how you will ask them during your preparation time.
  2. Playing with questions: Not only should you reword your questions in preparation, but the idea of playing with your questions also includes how you deliver them in class. Dr. Weimer suggests that there is great value in asking more difficult questions that require deeper thinking. Then, in class you must allow for the silence that comes as students think through the solutions.
  3. Preserve good questions: Make not of what questions worked especially well. These questions can be used in subsequent classes. You can also review what made a specific question so successful in class in order to improve other questions.

Key Points

  • Don't underestimate the value of preparing questions prior to class
  • Be courageous in asking thought provoking questions, then leave time for students to think through them
  • There is value in continuously improving your questions.
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