Current Issues

What questions should teachers ask?

Now we move on to defining specific questions that challenge us in the learning process. This is a big topic, so I will first provide you with some resources for further study. There are 3 concepts of particular value: Socratic Dialogue, Critical Thinking and strategies for asking questions.

As I stated in my last post, one key to asking good questions of our students is to ask the same questions of ourselves. Here are a few examples of questions we should be using on a daily basis in our own thinking and then model for our students as they observe good questioning techniques…

  • What is my purpose? 
  • What question am I trying to answer? 
  • What data or information do I need? 
  • What conclusions or inferences can I make (based on this information)? 
  • If I come to these conclusions, what will the implications and consequences be? 
  • What is the key concept (theory, principle, axiom) I am working with? 
  • What assumptions am I making? 
  • What is my point of view?

These questions help us to clarify the purpose of our inquiry, the mode of inquiry, interpretations, implications and our assumptions or perspectives based on previous study or experience. Our students must be in the habit of using these questions in order to improve their own approach to learning as well as filter the huge amount of information that they may access on a daily basis. This habit of asking good questions provides value for learning and insures that they are evaluating and applying what they learn.

Acts 17:11 tells us that the Jews in Berea examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. We don’t know their methods of examination, but this gives us a wonderful example of where our questioning should begin. As we approach any issue, we can first examine what God’s Word has to say and compare and contrast Truth with the conclusions and inferences others make or that we might make. But be careful to always examine the Scripture in its context and in light of the overarching principles and themes of Scripture. We can also ask “What does God say about this?” and “How can I reflect His Truth and His desires for mankind through how I think and act on this topic?”

What questions do you ask on a regular basis in the classroom? Are there new questions that you would like to use in the future? How has it changed (or might it change) how you or your students approach learning?

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