Maybe we make things too complicated when we ask questions in our classrooms. Maybe we should keep it simple.
Over the few years, I have struggled more and more with students who seemingly are unable/unable to make decisions for themselves. If the answer or next step is not overtly obvious, then they don’t make the next move. I have become more deliberate in providing very clear directions and asking them questions to get them thinking for themselves. One of the most powerful questions I have started asking is, “Is that a reasonable step/response/thought?”
Here are some things I found online about questions.
#1. What do you think?
This question interrupts us from telling too much. There is a place for direct instruction where we give students information yet we need to always strive to balance this with plenty of opportunities for students to make sense of and apply that new information using their schemata and understanding.
#2. Why do you think that?
After students share what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking.
#3. How do you know this?
When this question is asked, students can make connections to their ideas and thoughts with things they’ve experienced, read, and have seen.
#4. Can you tell me more?
This question can inspire students to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas.
#5. What questions do you still have?
This allows students to offer up questions they have about the information, ideas or the evidence.
Our words can be very powerful in encouraging students; however, they can also be counterproductive. Sometimes we say things to students that provide send messages that we don’t mean to send. Check out this list of 25 Ways to Encourage because these can clarify our messages to students.