Questioning in GeographyNick and John
ContentsQuestioning typesHistory of questioningEffective/ineffective questioningQuestions in a lesson structureWhat style of questioning is used in Geography?Conclusion Attributes to good questioning
Introduction Questioning is a vital teaching skill. They can be used to develop a class dialogue to incorporate the whole class. By asking questions and building on pupils responses, teachers can shape pupils thinking and learning (Cognitive development).
Open and closed questioningCLOSED usually only have one answer
OPEN a range of answers are possible
Two Dimensions of Questioning
Questioning types A CONTROL question involves questions to modify pupils behaviour rather than their learningDATA RECALL questions pupils remember facts, information without putting information to useA NAMING question ask pupils simply to name an event, process phenomena without sharing insight into how it is linked to other factorsAn OBSERVATION question ask pupils to describe what they see without attempting to explain
Questioning typesA PROBLEM SOLVING question ask pupils to construct ways of finding out answers to questions. A PSEUDO question constructed to appear that the teacher will accept more than one response but in fact has clearly made up their mind that this is not soA SPECULATIVE question ask pupils to speculate about outcome of an hypothetical action.A REASONING question ask pupils to give reasons why certain things do not happenAn EVALUATION question is one that makes a pupil weigh up pros/cons of a situation or argument
SocratesSocrates lived between 470399 BC.
He was born and lived in Athens
An ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy.
Due to his controversial questions, opinions about him were widely polarized, drawing very high praise or very severe ridicule.
Perhaps his most important contribution to western thought is his dialectic (answering a question with a question) method of inquiry, known as the SOCRATIC METHOD. Described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues.
SocratesIn this method, a series of questions are posed to extend knowledge. The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, Socrates once said, "I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others.
A Socratic Dialogue can happen at any time between two people when they seek to answer a question about something answerable by their own effort of reflection and thinking starting from the concrete asking all sorts of questions until the details of the example are fleshed out as a kind of platform for reaching more general judgments.
The term Socratic Questioning is used to describe this kind of questioning, with which an original question was responded to as though it were an answer. This in turn forces the first questioner to reformulate a new question in the light of the progress of the discourse.
Socratic instructionOpen-ended and closed questions are useful. Open-ended questions promote critical thinking, while closed questions can focus attention.Include clarifying questions, demands and statements. They are as valid as questions are. Students may need guidance as they sift through possible answers.Use questions from all levels of thinking. Help students to develop higher levels of critical thinking as well as the typical knowledge and comprehension levels.
Blooms taxonomyQuestioning techniques can explore the full range of blooms orders of thinking.
Effective questioningIncludes a range of types of question which encourage pupils to extend their thinkingEncourage creativity and speculationRequire extended responses, for example, open ended, higher order, probing questionsEncourages individuals or groups of pupils to formulate their own questions.The use of questioning may be related to hypothesis testing or setting, or to develop a line of investigation/enquiry.
Ineffective QuestioningQuestions which only have answering potential of Yes and No. These do not enhance understanding or use students knowledge.However they can be used to focus on certain pupils who are avoiding the question to be able to use the varying methods to try and engage the pupil.
Starters Often teachers will use SIMPLE QUESTIONING to focus pupils and quickly check on understanding in order to gauge what level to pitch the lesson from their lesson plan. This lower order questioning strategy require the recall and reporting of information and have answers which are clearly right or wrong.
Within the lessonMore complex and intellectually challenging questions can encourage speculation and deeper thinking.
Such higher order questions require pupils to think about, evaluate or apply information.
PlenaryAt the end of the lesson a teacher will use questioning to assess whether the objectives they set at the beginning of the lesson were met.Questioning is a critical aspect of teaching as it holds together the beginning middle and end of your lesson.
Recap or move onQuestioning is one of the most powerful tools in gauging when to move onto a new topic to see if pupils have understood and acquire the essential knowledge on a particular topic. It can also allow the teacher to see if they need to adjust seating positions to group learners together to enhance the learning potential of the group.
What style is used in Geography? To begin with most questions are closed. The teachers purpose is to construct and control how geographical knowledge and understanding is developed along a particular line of reasoning. Geography is full of technical terms. The pupils are being asked to tell the teacher what is already known.
What style is used in Geography?More open questions can encourage pupils to explore concepts and thinking. Answers are often tentative and the pupils responses can move away from the known and expected answer.Teachers need to be flexible (provide just enough rope for the pupil to stay afloat) and so be responsive to get the pupil back on track. But it is important for the teacher to listen and make sense of what the pupils are thinking, before contributing to consolidate the learning outcome desired.It is important the pupil uses his/her mind rather than guessing what is in the teachers mind. It is an important tool to gauge understanding or misunderstanding so the teacher can assess whether to move on do extra planning for that element causing concern.
Question and Answer waiting timeA critical aspect of questioningPeople are frightened of silence but for many people this time is related to thinking time.The use of judgement is essential at this time, e.g for example look at johns face when I ask him the following question.Remedy? Probing by the teacher or involving other pupils with the various questioning techniques is needed. Or in Johns case a teaching assistant on hand at all times
Socratic instructionSocratic questioning fosters critical thinking, evaluation, and knowledge application in students and should be used as frequently as possible in assignments and class discussions.Allow 'wait time' for thinking. Give students time to consider the question and their response before requesting them to answer.Avoid yes-no questions. They lead nowhere and do not promote thinking nor discussion.Be sure students have the needed background and resources to respond to the questions posed. It is unfair and detrimental to their progress to not accept their levels of knowledge and experience.
Attributes to good questioningAsking questions fluently and preciselyGauging questions to the students state of preparation / readinessInvolving a wide range of students in the question answer processFocussing questions on a wide range of intellectual skills and not just on recallAsking probing questions that require thoughtNot accepting each answer with equal validity (be sensitive)Redirect questions to allow the student to come up with accurate answersUsing both open-ended and closed questions so creativity and valued judgements are accepted
Data recall questions pupils remember facts, information without putting information to use A naming question ask pupils simply to name an event, process phenomena without sharing insight into how it is linked to other factors An observation question ask pupils to describe what they see without attempting to explain A control question involves questions to modify pupils' behaviour rather than their learning A pseudo question constructed to appear that the teacher will accept more than one response but in fact teacher has clearly made up her mind that this is not so A speculative question ask pupils to speculate about outcome of an hypothetical action. A reasoning question ask pupils to give reasons why certain things do not happenAn evaluation question is one that makes a pupil weigh up pros/cons of a situation or argument A problem solving question ask pupils to construct ways of finding out answers to questions.
'What happened when the soil was dried?''Imagine a world without trees, how would this affect our lives?''What motivates some people to live so near to a volcano?''Will you sit down John!''Is this an integrated railway network then?'What do we call the process of coastal deposition?''How strong is the case for a bypass around the village?''How can we measure the speed of the river here and compare it with lower down'.What are the main crops in this country?