It is no exaggeration to say that if teachers are unable to use question and answer effectively in their teaching they are unlikely to succeed at the job. Teachers ask many questions throughout the day, most of them concerned with eliciting responses from pupils, reminding them of key facts and issues, or simply acting as a spur to participation. Informal questions are commonly used as teachers enquire about events in pupils’ lives or seek to resolve their concerns. When a question is asked, it is reasonable to assume that an answer is sought, but adults in school occasionally ask questions to take the form of barely concealed cautions or rebukes.
Purpose of Questions
The key purpose for asking questions is to promote learning, either through introducing new concepts and skills or, more commonly, revising old ones. When teachers employ a question-and-answer strategy, it tends to be used for one or more of five purposes:
· To involve students in the lessons;
· To discover whether students possess specified forms of knowledge;
· To encourage pupils to think deeply about an issue;
· To open up fresh areas of a theme or topic for discovery;
· To inspire creativity and imagination.
The typology that follows includes a large number of questions forms that serve, to a greater or lesser extent, as means of extending thinking and promoting learning of students. These questions helps in promoting high order thinking among the students.
§ OVERT- directs questions that demand a single answer, for example: ‘Which tower is taller?’
§ RECALL- questions that require pupils to draw from their existing knowledge and experience, for example: ‘Can anyone remember the different methods we used to work out this subtraction?’
§ INCITING- a question that invites elaboration, for example: ‘Can you explain why you believe that?’
§ POLAR- questions that require yes or no, true or false, for example: ‘Do you want to choose this one?’
§ BRANCHING- questions that offers alternatives, so that pupils have to make choices, for example: ‘Shall we use this shape or that shape first?’
§ CONFRONTATION- question that challenge the validity of a statement, for example: ‘Is it really true that taller people are always stronger than shorter people?’
§ CRITICAL- questions that open up issues, sometimes by being provocative, for example: ‘Would it be better if girls and boys had separate playgrounds?’
§ DEDUCTIVE- question in which the pupil answering has to provide evidence to support the statement, for example: ‘What makes you say that motor bikes are dangerous?’
§ INDUCTIVE- questions in which the pupils have to summarize a series of related and accepted facts and widen the scope of enquiry, for example: ‘What makes a story or a person into a legend?’
§ HEURISTICS- questions that guide pupils to discover answers for themselves, for example: ‘What will happen if we fill these bottles with water or sand before rolling them down the slope?’
§ PRODUCTIVE- questions that lead pupils into new areas of inquiry, for example: ‘Can you think of a way to paint the picture without using brushes?’
§ LIBERATING- questions in which the adults make it clear that there is no single correct answer, for example: ‘How many different ways can we think of to organize the books?’
§ HYPOTHETICAL- questions that encourage imaginative replies, for example: ‘What sort of questions would visitors from Mars want to ask about life in school?’
§ DIVERGENT- questions that invite a range of concrete and abstract answers, for example: ‘What would happen if all the teachers got bad throats and could not talk for a week?’
§ RESEARCH- questions that invite pupils to look for solutions, for examples: ‘How can we reduce the amount of litter in the playground?’
§ ENACTIVE- questions that drive the pupils into further thought, for example: ‘If we continue to damage the equipment, what will be the result?’
§ SOCIAL- a question that reminds pupils of their responsibilities towards one another, for example: ‘How can we show someone that we want to be his or her friend?’
§ RHETORICAL- questions designed to affect the emotions but not necessarily to provide answers, for example: ‘I wonder what would happen if we all behaved as selfishly as the man in the story?’
§ REFLECTIVE- questions that necessitates periods of time and for deliberation before answering, for example: ‘How did it feel on your first day in school?’
§ ILLUMINATING- questions that clarify a pupil’s previous answer, for example: ‘Are you saying that every triangle has three sides?’
§ SYNOPSIS- questions that assist pupils in crystallizing their thinking, for example: ‘So if we want to run faster, what skills must we develop?’
§ ELABORATING- questions that encourage pupils to embellish a bald statement, for example the pupil says: ‘The note gets higher and then lower’; the teacher asks: ‘Are you saying that as we tighten the string, the pitch of the note is raised, and as we loosen the string, the pitch falls?’ Note that this type of question involves a subtle form of direct teaching.
§ REVIEWING- questions that invite pupils to retrace their steps in learning, for example: ‘What did you have to find out before you could complete the chart?’
§ EVALUATING- questions that invite pupils to examine their work critically, for example: ‘Can you think of other adverbs that you might have used to make the description more graphic?’
§ LEADING- questions that prompt the desired answer, for example, to work out the answer to 10 add 12, a teacher might say, ‘So if 10 add 10 is 20, then 10 add 10 add 2 equals what?’
Some questions types are often less helpful in promoting learning. These are:
§ SERIALISED- questions fired off rapidly that requires immediate answers and allow no thinking time (though this form of questioning can be considerable fun for pupils if the learning climate is relaxed)
§ MARATHON- long and involved questions
§ AMBIGOUS- questions that lead to uncertainty in the pupils’ mind.
§ RESTRICTIVE- questions in which unhelpful alternatives are offered.
§ PROMPTING- questions accompanied by heavy clues
§ CONTRAPUNTAL- questions that are confused by unnecessary additional comment
§ LEGITIMIZING- questions that require respondents to justify their position.
§ PROFOUND- deep seated theological questions.
§ JUDGEMNETAL- questions asked by an adult as someone with authority, in which pupil’s response are spontaneously evaluated.