The important, pressing question is, "What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" I really enjoy one of our mottos in EDM 310 that states, "Questions are more important than the answers." How true this is! Growing up, I was never one to ask a lot of questions in the classroom. I don't know if it was because I just knew it all or if I was just afraid, but if I had to guess, it was probably the latter. As I have gotten older, I realize the importance of asking questions. Without questions, there would be no answers. I think it's important for teachers to realize that it should never just be the students asking the questions. Teachers need to do some of the asking as well! Besides, teachers don't know everything.
I read a blog post by Ben Johnson titled The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom. In his post, he talks about how teachers are always asking the simple question of, "Does everybody understand?", after a lesson is taught. What is wrong with this question? In my opinion, it's a quick way out for the teachers. Mr. Johnson explains in his article that by asking this question, we are really telling the students that this is their last chance to speak up and if they don't, then we are moving on. Maybe the students think that they understand but they really don't. Maybe the students are afraid to speak up because they don't want to "slow down" everybody else. There are a number of things wrong with this question, including the fact that it is a close-ended question. I think it's important for teachers to ask questions that spark discussion and make the students explain how they understand. Ask specific questions that require more thought and more detail.
So yes, there is a right way to ask questions, but there is also a right way to respond to questions. In an article by the Washington University in St. Louis titled, Asking Questions to Improve Learning, it gives questioning strategies as well as tips on how to respond effectively. There were two tips that really stuck out to me with the first one being that teachers should wait for the students to think and give their responses. I think that a lot of times teachers are so concerned with fitting everything into one day and getting everything done, rather than focusing on making sure that each student understands the lessons so that they can apply what they learned. If teachers give the students time to think, then maybe more students will be eager to answer. The second tip that I think could be useful is for teachers to show that they are interested in the students' answer, whether it is right or wrong. If student's are at least trying then it's a good thing. There has to be plenty of room for mistakes in the classroom.
Take a moment to look at this video that I found called, What Questions Did You Ask Today?, and always remember to ask great questions everyday. Questions are at the heart of learning!