Questioning INSET

How can we effectively create a ‘climate for questioning’ in our classrooms? What can we do to ensure our questions match the needs of all learners? How can we ensure questioning is actively engaging for all our students? These were just some of the questions we covered today as part of our INSET programme.

Katie led a reflection on the questioning common pitfalls followed by a discussion based on the thoughts of Alex Quigley, David Didau and the question formulation technique.

Staff then discussed the benefits and drawbacks of the following questioning practical strategies. Iain demonstrated how we can effectively use our Blooms question mats to generate questions based on visual stimuli (taken from the Reuters Photo of the Year website), before we broke into smaller groups to observe colleagues’ own questioning techniques from video.

The learning points from the morning are summarised below. Student response to questioning is enhanced where:

  • there is a classroom climate in which pupils feel safe and know they will not be criticised or ridiculed if they give a wrong answer;
  • prompts are provided to give pupils confidence to try an answer;
  • questions are planned and differentiated to provide appropriate stretch and challenge for all;
  • there is a combination of approaches to ensure all students are engaged in questioning – ‘no-hands’, ‘hands up’, ‘random selection’, ‘think pair share’, ‘mini-whiteboards’.
  • wait time’ is provided before an answer is required. The research suggests that 3 seconds is about the minimum time required for lower order questions. 10 seconds for higher.