Use questions as a way to make quick, formative assessments, break up the monotony of lecturing, and encourage student engagement.
Tips and Strategies
- Be patient. The recommended amount of wait time after asking a question is ten seconds. This will seem like an uncomfortable eternity, but it is important processing time for students. Try counting silently to yourself, before offering a hint or rephrasing the question.
- Move from closed to open-ended questions. Starting with simple yes or no questions, or questions that draw on experience rather than knowledge, can help students become comfortable and more willing to take a risk on a deeper question later in the class.
- Consider using repetition with questions, asking the same thing throughout class and building upon the answer as instruction progresses.
- If students are reluctant to speak, you can ask for a show of hands as response.
- Use questions to clarify instructions or summarize a point.
- Try to avoid asking, "Does everyone understand?" or "Is that clear?" Students will typically not speak out in a group when they are confused. Instead, try asking something more open, like "what questions do we have about that?"
- Experiment with asking questions using Google Forms or Poll Everywhere.
Teaching from Incorrect Responses
It takes courage to answer a question in a group, and you never know what type of response you will get. Avoid labeling a student's answer as wrong, and use inaccurate responses as teachable moments.
- Acknowledge any part of the answer that is correct: "You're right about X, great job, let's talk a little bit more about Y."
- Try finding out more about their thought process: "That's interesting, what makes you think that?".
- If the student's answer represents a common misconception, point that out and clarify: "Thanks for bringing that up, a lot of people think that. Let's talk about why that might not be the case."
- Thank the student for their answer, invite more responses, and piece together a correct answer: "Thanks for sharing that. Does anyone else have thoughts on this question?"