How To Get Your Students To Ask More Questions


How To Get Your Students To Ask More Questions

According to John Hattie:

  • Teachers talk 80% of the day
  • Ask 150-200 questions
  • Most are process based, requiring little analysis or relationships
  • Teachers allow approximately 3 seconds to respond

Hattie states that for effective learning to take place, students need to be discussing and asking more questions than the teacher. This requires a cultural shift in how teachers teach: teachers realising that they are no longer the font of all knowledge or the ‘sage on the stage’ but a facilitator of learning.


So how can you develop a culture of student lead questioning in your classroom?


1. Teach students about questions and the types of questions that are needed in various situations to get the most information.


2. Model risk taking. Young people are reticent to make mistakes or reveal what they don’t know. When you model and explicitly teach what to do when you don’t know, you give students life skills and build resilience.


3. Develop a climate of ‘have a go’. Encourage and reward students for attempts, progress, trying something new, as well as for success.


4. Think pair share. Allow students to discuss their ideas before speaking to the whole class. Think pair share is a powerful but underused strategy in classrooms, that reduces anxiety, assists students to share ideas and find common ground, develops social skills, promotes active listening and helps students learn to discuss and debate.



5. Task students with coming up with questions about a topic/unit/subject. Have them work individually, then in pairs or threes to make lists of questions they will then find the answers to or the teacher will guide them towards.


6. Students design question and answer cards for board or group game to review a topic.


7. Explicitly teach questioning techniques. What makes a good question? What are the different types of questions? Conduct a Q&A type panel with students and other teachers or bring experts from outside the school.


8. Allow processing time for students after front-loading information. During or after lesson content delivery, students write 2 questions that the information brings up for them.