Questions allow the Filipino teacher to guide the thinking process of the child. It is both a teaching and a learning tool. It can be used to enhance the cognitive process of students.
In fact, the art of questioning is one of the oldest tricks in the teaching book. Socrates used the method as his primary way of teaching as documented in Plato’s Dialogues (Theaetetus).
Jesus also used the art of questioning when imparting lessons to his apostles. He even goes as far as using questions to answer his apostles’ primary question.
Both great philosophers used the art of questioning as a tool for teaching philosophy. Questioning though, has been used to guide the thinking skills of students in many other areas of knowledge.
Using Questions in your Own Classroom:
A well-planned questioning session can awaken the thinking skills of the child. Here are some of the reasons why you may consider to use questioning in your own classroom:
1. To Enhance Critical Thinking
All teachers want their students to develop critical thinking. It is the skill of deliberately using organized and objective thoughts. It is used to create high quality conclusions or to solve problems.
To develop critical thinking, the teacher must make the students do their own thinking first. In most cases, this means not answering their questions directly. Instead, the teacher may choose to use a planned series of questions to lead the students toward the ideal conclusions.
2. To encourage metacognitive thoughts
Questions can also be used to open the student’s minds towards thought processes that are new to them. One such thought process is metacognition. Metacognition is the process of thinking about one’s own personal thought processes.
An easy way to introduce metacognition to a student is by letting them analyze their own emotions. Children tend to be controlled by their emotions when they are still very young. Adults, ideally, have more control of their own emotions. You, as the teacher, can help the students develop control of their emotions by using affective questions like:
“Why do you feel this way?”
“What events led you to feel this way?”
3. Questions as a better way to making corrections
Many of the students have the urge to be rebellious. The trait is a part of the developmental process. In fact, some may even argue that it is a necessary part of the road to an individual’s independence.
As a result, many students tend to be resistant to corrections. It is common for rebellious students to view corrections as a way of an authority to control them. This can be a hindrance to learning if the teacher does not know how to adapt to the situation.
You can use questions to prevent this from happening. Students who are resistant to direct corrective feedback are less likely to reject lessons if they participated in the learning process. Questions can be used as a way to do this. Instead of telling a student what to do or how to think, the teacher can use questions to lead the students to the correct way of doing something.
This method of correctional feedback is less confrontational. They may have a higher chance of getting through more stubborn students.
4. Questions as a way to encourage feedback
Feedback is important for teachers to hone their methods. Questions in class discussions, in the tests or even in daily class activities can be used as a way to subtly collect feedback from students about their learning experience.
This can be useful in schools that implement student evaluation methods to rate a teacher’s performance. The teacher can use questions that seek information about how students feel about their class. This may guide the teacher on the things that he or she may need to change in class to improve his or her student evaluation scores. In the process, the teacher may be able to significantly improve his teaching methods and techniques and enhance the overall learning experience for the students.
5. Questions as a way to keep the students involved
Students, especially teens, are more likely to enjoy classes wherein they have a role to play. Teens crave for acknowledgement from adults. It makes them feel like they are no longer treated as children.
Teachers can give this kind of acknowledgement to their students by using questions to keep students involved in the process. Instead of presenting a solution to every problem in class for instance, a teacher may ask questions like;
“What would you guys suggest we do to solve this problem?”
Questions like these not only make students more critical and independent thinkers but also keeps them involved in the problem solving process. These questions can be applied both in actual class discussions as well as in extra-curricular projects.
These five ways to use questioning in the classroom are only the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure that you can think of other reasons to use questions to enhance your students’ learning experience.
6. Questions as a way for teachers to track their own performance
While using questions on students is a time-tested teaching method, the teacher can also use this method on himself or herself in making day-to-day classroom decisions. A teacher can ask himself if his lesson is too long or if his test is too difficult. More importantly, he or she can also ask if his methods and chosen teaching techniques are aligned with the goals of the lesson.
How do you use questions in your own classroom?