Teachers are always on the lookout for ways to foster questioning skills in students. They are skills that serve us in school and in everything beyond it. Curiosity and questioning are what keep us interested and engaged in life.
Questioning skills are important for many practical reasons, after all:
- We question to gather information, and it helps us to learn
- We communicate and understand others through questioning, as well as explore the world we live in
- We also test acquired knowledge with good questioning skills.
Let's take a look at how we can develop them with class resources like the ones that follow. Begin with The Essential Guide to Essential Questions from us here at Wabisabi Learning. It's full of wonderful tips and tools for building and assessing your very best essential questions.
Here are a few examples of questioning techniques you can use to get learners warmed up:
- Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce—The teacher will pose a question, pause for a long time to let the question sink in, then call on a random student (pounce) for the answer. Then the answer will be bounced to another student so they can expand upon the first student’s response.
- Here’s the answer, what’s the question?—It's just like Jeopardy. You say “1776,” and students have to ask a question that will have “1776” as the answer. Not surprisingly, there could be any number of questions that fit the bill, all of which could be correct.
Other Sites for Developing Questioning Skills
With these resources, you’ll be able to put a little fun into teaching questioning skills to your students. Explore the links below and have fun. A few of these are also available as apps for mobile devices.
- What If? takes impossible questions from readers and attempts to come up with a scientifically sound answer using physics. Check their archives for some great questions and answers.
- Thunks is the UK’s take on reader surveys that engage lateral thinking. They do this with thought-provoking questions that make people think differently about everyday things.
- 25 Essential Questions features a list that is randomly generated every day.
- Unstuck is a great tool for helping you with those stuck moments. It's a digital coach that shows you situations with fresh perspective. It uses provocative questions, tips, and action tools to move you forward.
- Mind Tools is a website that has an extensive toolkit for all kinds of thinking skills. Explore everything from decision-making to leadership to stress management and more.
- RQI is another cool website with resources for teaching students to ask their own questions.
- Makeuseof.com has a great list of other apps that help you make decisions collaboratively.