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EPD CPD Session Using Questions to Engage and Challenge. 28 February 2012. Session Objective. To identify ways to improve questioning technique and to develop questions in order to: - promote higher order thinking - engage and challenge students - impact upon student progress. Quotes.

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Presentation Transcript
session objective
Session Objective

To identify ways to improve questioning technique and to develop questions in order to:

- promote higher order thinking

- engage and challenge students

- impact upon student progress



defined teaching as ‘the art of asking questions’.

Guy Claxton

‘Good learning starts with questions, not answers’.

the importance of questioning
The importance of questioning

Why is questioning so important?

Purpose of questions?

make over of a question
Make-over of a question

Generate a question that you have used in the last week in your classroom.


Teachers ask 2 questions every minute, up to 400 a day, around 70,000 a year, 2-3 million in the course of a career.

Most questions are answered in between 1 and 3 seconds (Carole Dweck).

An average of 1 spontaneous question per lesson come from pupils – to do with procedure (Wragg)


Evaluation Schedule ‘Good’ Grade Descriptors

‘Teachers have high expectations of all pupils’.

‘Teachers regularly listen astutely to, carefully observe and skilfully question groups of pupils and individuals during lessons in order to reshape tasks and explanations to improve learning’

‘Teaching consistently deepens pupils’ knowledge and understanding’

unproductive lower order questions
Unproductive/lower order questions

Recall Questions – answers already known to you/student.

E.g. ‘Where/when did the event happen?’

Comprehension questions

Closed questions – can be answered ‘yes’, ‘no’ I can’

Rhetorical questions – answer within the question

E.g. ‘In what year was the War of 1812?’

Defensive questions – cause justification and resistance

E.g. ‘Why didn’t you complete your IL again?’

Agreement questions - seeking agreement with your opinion

E.g. ‘This is the best solution, isn’t it?’, ‘You all understand what you have got to do?’

higher order questions
Higher Order Questions

Bloom’s Taxonomy (1952) – a framework used to develop questions that progress from concrete thinking to abstract thinking.

Hierarchy of skills in thinking:

- Children know before

- they can apply before

- they can evaluate

questioning for challenge higher order questions
Questioning for challenge Higher Order Questions

Explicit reference to higher order thinking skills

E.g. ‘Do you think this is the best alternative?’


‘Evaluate these alternatives.’

higher order questions1
Higher Order Questions

Use Plurals

E.g. ‘What ideas do you have?

‘What are some of your goals?

higher order questions2
Higher Order Questions

Tentativeness – might, maybe, take a risk

‘What might be some factors that would cause…?

‘In what other ways could you solve this problem?’

higher order questions3
Higher Order Questions

Evaluation questions

Analytical questions

Synthesis questions

Examples of question stems– handouts

Develop/create a question to ask in a lesson tomorrow – apply to your subject area.

Reflect on why it is a higher order question.

extreme question make over
Extreme Question Make-over

Go back to question.

Re-phrase to add rigour, challenge, high expectations, encourage higher order skills-based thinking

from the beginning of lessons
From the beginning of lessons

Ask questions to prepare students’ mental and physical state for learning

Get them thinking!


What’s The Question?

Answer – In the park



A question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and helps you look at the world in a new way

If I lend you £1,000,000 does that make you a millionaire?

Does everything have an opposite?

If you want to fail and you succeed at failing, have you failed?



What ifs…?

Rubbish bins gave you £1 for every sack of rubbish?


Which is biggest, best, beautiful?


Would you rather…?

Have foil teeth


feather fingers?


5,3,1 most important?






other strategies for asking questions
Other strategies for asking questions

Mind map strategies you use in your classroom

other strategies for asking questions1
Other strategies for asking questions

Plenary cube

Deploy pause, prompt, probe routinely

Give ‘think time’

Think, pair, share

Encourage students to elaborate and reflect so they can demonstrate their thinking

Use non-verbal cues to signal you want more

Ask for evidence and reasoning behind an answer

Ask another student to answer a question raised by a student

‘No hands’ to encourage participation of all

Personalise/differentiate questions

Give the answer and ask students what the question is

Open up thinking/invite students to respond to others’ answers

Use ‘phone a friend’, pair rehearsal, ‘ask the audience’

Ask learning questions, open questions

Avoid gender bias


Record and share 2 strategies/key learning points to take away from session and try in the classroom.

Session evaluation: WWW/EBI