Monday, November 3, 2008

Effective Questions

10 Principles of Effective Questions (based on Taba’s Teaching Strategies) that can be applied to all content areas, classroom and playground problems or situations, and all informal interactions between teachers and students:
1. Questions are focused
2. Questions are open-ended
3. Questions require the use of information
4. Proof-of-reasoning questions are asked
5. Wait-time is allowed
6. Discussion is appropriately paced
7. Individual student responses are accepted without teacher comment
8. Student responses are not repeated by the teacher
9. Variety of ideas and student interactions are sought
10. Clarification and extensions questions are asked as needed

(The first four principles apply to both written and oral questions, while the last six apply to oral questions, especially in the context of a guided discussion)

Hilda Taba Teaching Strategies
· Structured, generic methods in which the teacher leads students through a series of intellectual tasks by asking open-ended but focused questions
· The teacher needs to encourage participation by all students and ask open-ended questions that will permit and encourage a variety of answers.
· Teachers must avoid negative acts, such as (a) giving opinions or value judgments about students ideas, (b) rejecting, ignoring, or cutting off a student response, (c) doing the task students are supposed to do, and (d) editing or changing a student’s idea.

Questions calling for Variety:
· What else might happen?
· What are some completely different ways these items can be put together?
· What are some completely different things he or she could do?
Questions calling for Reasons or Support for Ideas:
· What are your reasons for grouping these items together?
· In what ways are these items alike?
· Why do you think these items go together?
· What are you thinking that makes you say that?
· What leads you to believe that?
· How do you know that _________ causes _____________?
· What makes you believe that ______________ would be an effect of __________?
· What from our discussion led you to that conclusion?
Focusing Questions:
Grouping Questions:
· Which items could you put together because they are alike in some way?
· Which items would you put together in a group because they are similar?
Causes and Prior Causes:
· What are some factors contributing to __________________?
· What do you think prevented ________________?
· How did ______________ happen?
Effects and Subsequent Effects:
· What do you think has happened because _______________?
· What do you think were the results of _____________?
· What do you think might have been some of the consequences of ___________?

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