When you prepare for class, office hours, and help sessions, compose specific questions that you will ask your students (or that you anticipate they will ask you). Doing so will help you increase student participation and encourage active learning. The strategies below will also help you formulate questions for exams and paper assignments.
Active learning extends beyond the classroom. When you ask questions in the classroom, you are modeling a process that students can and should use themselves; encourage your students to use the following questioning strategies to assess what they have learned, to develop their thinking skills, and to study for exams.
1. To assess learning.
2. To ask a student to clarify a vague comment.
3. To prompt students to explore attitudes, values, or feelings (when appropriate).
4. To prompt students to see a concept from another perspective.
5. To ask a student to refine a statement or idea.
6. To prompt students to support their assertions and interpretations.
7. To direct students to respond to one another.
8. To prompt students to investigate a thought process.
9. To ask students to predict possible outcomes.
10. To prompt students to connect and organize information.
11. To ask students to apply a principle or formula.
12. To ask students to illustrate a concept with an example.
Bloom, Benjamin (ed). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Vol. 1: Cognitive Domain. New York: McKay, 1956.
Davis, Barbara Gross. Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 1993.
“Questioning Strategies.” Center for Teaching Excellence. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. http://cte.illinois.edu/resources/topics/methods/strateg.html.
McKeachie, Wilbert, et al. McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers. 12th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
© 2009, The Teaching Center, Washington University in St. Louis