Basic human activities of using and accessing information through various sources with a typical approach of utilising your interpersonal skills such as questioning for instance is a healthy way of gathering useful insights.
Questioning is a good way to engage into conversations. Effective communication involves understanding of the information being transferred. This means effectively utilising the emotions and intentions behind a message and gaining a useful meaning out of it. It is the utilisation of your skills where you use questioning tactics to avoid stressful situations for instance; need to calm down during a conversation, avoiding jerking in bodily gestures and off-putting nonverbal signals as well. It is good to engage yourself in listening rather than talking unnecessarily and asserting yourself in a respectful way.
Questioning can be used for well-defined goals. An instructor can aim for questioning to stimulate the thinking process of students or to use the thinking skills aimed at development. Engaging in higher order thinking questioning is an important feature of classrooms. Useful questions can lead to a good relationship building between the students and teachers. A lacking with this approach is the time given to the students or the respondents in general to answer. There is no defined time limit for a question or an expiry date for the answer, the logic is to enhance learning practices and outcomes in a significant manner which aids learning and development.
Some of the purposes of questioning in classrooms can be listed as;
- To show engagement of individuals and create a challenging environment;
- To keep a check on the knowledge and understanding;
- To focus on key issues and create a discussion based activity;
- To promote the exercise of reasoning, problem solving, assessment and evaluation;
- To become more analytical and have a judgement for situations;
- Also, to create a new perspective in terms of understanding and meaning.
Student responses to questions are grouped into 3 types generally; either the student responds to the question, ask questions in return or don’t respond at all.
When students respond to the question asked by the instructor, they should be reinforced to encourage future participation by the teachers. Reinforcement can be made by giving positive gestures and statements and is determined by assisting the student derive the correct answer themselves with some assistance. Students who don’t respond frequently are encouraged and rewarded more than the ones who are active in participating to enhance their abilities.
Dealing with students can somehow become a challenge, especially when they respond to your questions with another question. The strategy is to listen to their question and carry on with some steps;
- You can redirect the question to the class or you answer it yourself when you have time remaining.
- You can also ask the student to wait for the answer if it is connected to some future discussion topic.
- Group discussions can be utilised for such question to make it a habit to share a point of view.
The purpose is to never fake an answer because it is misleading for the student who is only here to learn. It may hinder their thought process and cause much more issues for you. You can conveniently ask volunteers to answer the question or suggest a reading material to the whole class for reference.
Moreover, when students don’t respond to questioning at all the teacher can ask another student to answer the same question without pointing finger to the one who wasn’t able to answer. A teacher has a very sensitive and responsible role to play in the confidence building and upbringing of the students. Rephrasing can always help to make them understand a question otherwise there is no limit to answer a question, students can take their time and think about the answer too.
Questioning is a very healthy exercise for the brain, it builds up an activity and makes use of our mental abilities to derive an answer. Even asking questions is of great help, it shows how well your analytical skills are developed to evaluate and explain a given situation.