College Teaching Tip of the Week – Vol. 1 Issue 2

How to Ask Students Good Questions

Here are ten strategies an effective college instructor should use:

    1. Prepare questions in advance, ones that will promote student learning.
    2. Don’t be too rigid.  Improvise.  Adapt to your students’ responses.
    3. Avoid yes/no questions, especially ones like, “Did everybody understand that?” and the totally useless “Are there any questions?”
    4. Use technology such as online threaded discussions and clickers.
    5. Use questioning techniques that engage your students but don’t intimidate or criticize them.
    6. Use questions to find out what your students know, not ones that embarrass or punish them for what they don’t know.
    7. Reflect on your questioning after each class. Decide what worked and what didn’t work.  Make adjustments for the next class.
    8. Work on your technique.  Questioning is a skill and an art.
    9. Practice your art.  Questioning must be a habit.  You need to make good questioning your habit.
    10. Ask one of the most important questions of all:  How am I doing?

      The list below is provided courtesy of Adjunct Assistance and is taken from an article entitled How College Faculty Should Ask Their Students Questions.

      Relative to the 10th item on the list, you may find these other two articles helpful – The One-Minute Paper and Student Evaluations.

      © 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

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