Questioning in the Mixed Ability Classroom
teachers are unaware of their patterns of questioning in the
classroom. Effective questioning encourages higher response
opportunities, active engagement, critical thinking and student
step to effective questioning is explicitly teaching your
student the following guidelines, skills and behaviors.
on the topic/subject.
prepared (complete required reading) and be ready to participate.
references and defend ideas from the text.
is all right to pass.
for clarification when confused.
with statements such as, “I agree… but I want
to add….” “I disagree because…”
The teacher also has to be prepared to follow explicit guidelines:
a specific opening question and give students a proscribed
amount of time to discuss in small groups (pairs, triads,
quartets) before beginning the large group discussion.
wait time of at least 5-7 seconds for replies, then follow
with a clarifying question.
a question if not understood.
the students to be more specific or elaborate.
reasons for responses.
and encourage discussion of differences; reasons for implications.
open –ended questions that have many possible answers.
refocusing back to the text.
students to paraphrase other students’ responses.
a record of who has participated.
students to speak up.
to students who pass.
closure by having students summarize a few points during
for some questions that can be used for a variety of curricula:
what ways are … and … alike/different?
would you say/do if you were …?
you find an example in the text to illustrate your point?
if … happened instead of…..?
well-known people are like…..? Do you know anyone
would you say/do if you were ……?
would…(another character, historical figure) view
this? Why/why not?
techniques can lead to more engaging discussions that include
more students and can lead the teacher to become aware of
the depth of each students’ understanding.
and Heimburge, How to Reach and Teach All Students
in the Inclusive Classroom, The Center for Applied
Research in Education, 1996.
If you have a question or suggestion,
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