Teacher Questioning Techniques


Teacher Questioning Techniques

The questions that a teacher asks in a classroom can be classified into one of two categories. Questions can either be closed-ended or open-ended. Let's take a minute to explore the differences between these two types of questions.

Closed-ended questions are questions that can usually be answered with one word or a short phrase.

  • Do you understand?
  • Does this article make sense?
  • Does anyone want to share what their group created?
  • Do you use a budget?

These questions are now closed-ended questions because they can all be answered with one word. In this case, students can answer these questions by simply saying Yes or No.

If we think about it, the purpose of asking students questions is to discover what they are thinking and to check for understanding. When we ask a closed-ended question, we can't acquire insight into a student's mind.

On the other hand, open-ended questions typically cannot be answered in one word. They require students to elaborate on their thinking. In most cases, closed-ended questions can be modified into open-ended questions.

For example, let's listen as the closed-ended questions from earlier are changed into open-ended questions.

  • How can I make this clearer?
  • What makes sense about this article?
  • Which group will share first?
  • How do you use a budget?

With some simple changes, our closed-ended questions became open-ended questions. By making those changes, we are able to gain greater insight into what our students are actually thinking.

In some instances, it's appropriate to ask a closed-ended question. However, if a closed-ended question is asked, it's important to follow up that question with an open-ended question.

  • Do you use a budget?
  • How do you use a budget?

The first question, "Do you use a budget?" represents lower-level thinking. However, by following it up with an open-ended question, we can help facilitate deeper thinking.

Last modified: Monday, 2 July 2012, 11:47 AM