This session outlined the principles of both Bloom’s Taxonomy for questioning and the Magenta Principles and looked at practical ways that these can be incorporated successfully and easily into lessons. Time was also spent putting ideas into practice.
This week’s questioning technique is stolen from Finham Park school’s newsletter “Spotlight on Teaching and Learning – February 2014 issue” which is full of strategies to enhance your questioning in lessons. Effective Questioning
Gains and benefits
Phrasing questions carefully to concentrate on Bloom’s Taxonomy higher challenge areas
Questions must be pre-planned, as very difficult to invent during a lesson. Focus questions to address analysis, synthesis, evaluation and creativity, based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Provides high challenge thinking, requiring more careful thought, perhaps collaborative thinking and certainly longer more detailed answers. For Able, Gifted and Talented.
Staging or sequencing: questions with increasing
levels of challenge
Increasing the level of challenge with each question, moving from low to higher-order questioning
Helps pupils to recognise the range of possible responses and to select appropriately.
The setting of a substantial and thought provoking question
Big questions cannot be easily answered by students when the question is posed. They are often set at the beginning of the lesson and can only be answered by the end of the lesson, using all of the thinking based on all of the contributions to the lesson.
These questions develop deeper and more profound thinking. Big Questions are often moral issues or speculative questions such as, Where are we from? How big is the universe? What is the meaning of life?
They require extended answers and usually rely on collaborative thinking and a personal interpretation of the information provided.
This will help students to answer bigger questions
When students struggle to answer bigger or more complex questioning, the teacher can model or lead the thinking by asking Focus questions to lead the student through the steps of the thinking.
Develops confidence and the sequencing of small steps in thinking and response. Allows students to reveal the stages in their thinking.
Seeking a minimum answer
Pupils are not allowed to answer a question using less than e.g. 15 words or using a particular word or phrase. They must give an extended answer or make a complete sentence/phrase.
Develops speaking and reasoning skills, the correct use of critical and technical language .
A traditional approach to Q&A asking everyday questions with a fixed or specific answer
In its simplest form, students can answer yes or no to a skinny question, or give a number or knowledge based response.
Challenge level is low in skinny questions that do not seek and extended answer or reasons for the answer. Mostly knowledge and comprehension based. Does not develop thinking or reasoning.
Providing signals to pupils about the kind of answer that would best fit the question being asked. Teacher responds to pupils attempt to answer, by signaling and guiding the answers.
The essence of purposeful questioning, moving pupils from existing knowledge or experience (often unsorted or unordered knowledge) to organized understanding, where patterns and meaning have been established.
Seek a partial answer:
In the context of asking difficult whole class questions, deliberately ask a pupil who will provide only a partly formed answer, to promote collective engagement.
Excellent for building understanding from pupil-based language. Can be used to lead into ‘Basketball questioning’. Develops self-esteem.
Gains and benefits
Consciously waiting for a pupil or class to think through an answer (before you break the silence) e.g 15-30secs
Provide time between setting the question and requiring an answer. Sometimes alerting pupils to the approach and the time available to develop an answer.
Prompts depth of thought and increases levels of challenge. Ensures all pupils have a view or opinion to share before an answer is sought.
No Hands Questioning:
Using the ‘no hands up’ rule
Ref. AfL publication – Working Inside the Black Box.
Pupils aware that those required to give an answer, will be selected by the teacher. Teachers alert them to this as questions are asked.
Linked to ‘thinking time’.
Improves engagement and challenges all pupils to think. When linked to Thinking Time, pupils share ideas and ‘position’ their own views in relation to others.
Move questions and discussions between pupils
Teacher establishes movement of ideas and responses around the class. Builds on other pupils’ ideas and comments. Accepts ‘half-formed’ ideas. NB not ‘ping-pong’
Engages more pupils. Stops teacher being focus for all questioning. Develops connected thinking and development of ideas.
Conscripts and Volunteers:
Using a planned mix of ‘conscripts’ and ‘volunteers’
Teacher selects answers from those who volunteer an answer and an equal amount of those who do not.
Enhances engagement and challenge for all.
Phone a friend:
Removes stress to enable those who cannot answer to participate
Those who cannot answer are allowed to nominate a fellow pupil to suggest an answer on their behalf, but they still have to provide their own answer, perhaps building on this.
Encourages whole-class listening and participation. Removes stress and builds self-esteem.
A pupil is placed in the ‘hot-seat’ to take several questions from the class and teacher.
Encourages listening for detail and provides challenge
Mantle of the expert:
A wears the cloak of the expert to answer questions from the class.
Builds self-esteem through opportunity to share detailed knowledge.
Previewing questions in advance
Questions are shared/displayed before being asked, or the start of the lesson.
Signals the big concepts and learning of the lesson
of an answer or a question
Pairs of pupils are able to discuss and agree responses to questions together.
Encourages interaction, engagement and depth
Deploying specific targeted questions
Listen in to group discussions and target specific questions to groups and individuals.
Facilitates informed differentiation.
Modeling simple exploratory questions to gather information
Teacher models the use of Who, What, Where, When and Why to set out a simple information gathering response based on the information provided.
Encourages students to rehearse enquiry and comprehension, can extend into reasoning and hypothesis.
Creates an inquisitive disposition and a thinking/self reflective approach to learning.
This week’s questioning technique is taken from Gererd Dixie’s book The Ultimate Teaching Manual and is about thinking aloud.
Why is it important?
By verbalising their inner speech (silent dialogue) as they think their way through a problem, teachers model how expert thinkers solve problems. As a result, as students think out loud with teachers and with one another, they gradually internalise this dialogue; it becomes their inner speech: they learn how to learn and develop into reflective and independent learners.
“What am I going to say/write/do now? Why have I stopped? What is my problem? What sort of problem is this? Where have I seen this before? Who can help me? What do I need? What is the next step? Is there a better way? What alternatives are there?”
Get pupils to ‘think aloud’ when they are preparing to offer their responses. Doing this raises the status of the ‘thinking process’ rather than just focusing pupils’ attention on their final answer.
On Wednesday we hosted our second TeachMeet CPD, which was based around questioning. Once again the session was “inspiring”, full of “brilliant ideas” and had a lovely atmosphere. If you want to know why you should attend the next one (and steal some of these ideas!), then read below!
“Teachers use questioning and discussion to assess the effectiveness of their teaching and promote pupils’ learning” (Ofsted, School inspection handbook from September 2012) –> using questions to promote learning and stimulate thinking Questioning Ofsted
Chris – think/pair/share after question has been asked & routines to encourage students to use all other resources available before answering a question (books, peers, display etc) as a way of building up quality answers.
Faye – “Get Nosey”: Display visual stimulus on board and ask students to write down any questions they can think of in relation to the photo/image on post-it notes. At the end of the lesson, look at questions again & discuss which questions students now have answers to and which ones remain unanswered. Get Nosey
– Timed quiz: pairs/individual students (or teacher) design a question to assess understanding of topic/learning objective. They also provide 3 answers – Red, Amber, Green – (1 correct answer & 2 wrong answers). All questions are then collated and put into a quiz. As the question is displayed, pupils must show up the card that matches the colour of the correct answer – in the time allocated! Great for whole class AfL too! Timed quiz
Amy – Millionaire questioning: provide students with 3 lifelines (50/50, ask the audience, phone a friend) as a way of supporting students during questioning Millionaire
Pat – Q/A match up Questioning biology
•Half the group were given questions relevant to what they need to know
•The other half were given the answers – on large pieces of paper
•The girls with the answers had to stand in a row holding their answers up
•In silence the girls had to match up with their ‘partners’
•The pairs then sat together and, in turn, chose someone else in the class to ask their question to
Tracey – silent questioning (questions displayed on board, students “discuss” it in writing). Other options possible, 1/ students swap “silent discussions” and read peers’ answers 2/ colour code questions on board so students can decide what difficulty level they want to attempt.
– use of questioning at the very start of a lesson to establish students’ prior knowledge and to encourage student talk. Use of questions in History
Jo – What, What, How format so that students start thinking and making progress even before any teacher input. What what how
1/ WHAT difference do you notice? 2/ WHAT does it mean? 3/ HOW would you explain it to someone else?
– Quiz, Quiz, Trade Quiz quiz trade
1. Create Questions Provide each student with a flash cards about the current unit of study. One side of the card has a question or vocabulary term and the other side provides the answer or definition.
2. Pair Up Use the stand up/hands up/pair up method for students to find a partner. Partner A holds up the flash card to show Partner B the question. Partner B answers. Partner A praises if correct or coaches if incorrect. They switch roles and Partner B asks Partner A the next question.
3. Hands Up After thanking each other and switching cards, Partners A and B raise their hands to find a new partner and repeat the process for an allotted amount of time.
Student-Created Quiz, Quiz, Trade Have students create their own flashcards with questions and answers. You might want to review the cards before allowing students to play so you can be sure that the students’ answers are accurate.
Sakiko – Display visual stimulus on the board with key question words around it (Who, Why, When, What, Where, How etc). Pupils write questions using the question prompts. Pupils swap questions and answer each other’s. This works well in a language lesson to practise sentence building but could also be applied to any subject to practise creative writing or assess subject knowledge.
Matt – Four Corners: 4 words on the board, one in each corner. Students make a sentence with it. For example in maths
A huge thank you to our colleagues who shared some of their fantastic activities & resources!
This time, as Easter is approaching, the raffle winners left with some colour inkpads (to sue with our brand new 2 stars and a wish stamper) and some fillable eggs, which could be used for extension questions/tasks or with a question inside to review the learning (could be colour-coded and/or differentiated). Please let us know how you are using your prizes.
Thank you to all staff who presented and attended!