Throughout the course of my internship I’ve learned the importance of taking the time to make good preparation of questioning strategy in advance of lessons I teach.
At the beginning of my internship my fault was not sufficiently having thought through the questions I would ask for a lesson I was going to teach. I read through the bullet points of the lesson and studied the materials in advance to teaching it. But when it was time to teach it, I learned that lessons rarely work exactly as they are planned. So, as teachers we need to be better prepared with a variety of content and questions in order to engage students no matter what content a lesson will cover.
I found that if I am not prepared with a good set of questions that usually means I have not thought the lesson through very well. Some of my more uncomfortable teaching experiences occurred when I had not done the thinking before the teaching. For example, early on in my internship I taught a math lesson but realized halfway through the lesson that I had not sufficiently worked through the math required to solve the problems. As a result it was very difficult asking meaningful questions of the students. I realized I should have thought this lesson through better on the front end.
Having a good variety of questions is important to engage students and invoke learning. Convergent questions are typically more close-ended and are designed to lead students towards a particular point of understanding. They are usually more low-level and can be useful for reminding students of particular facts or information.
Divergent questions, however, are typically more open-ended and high-level can be used to generate multiple answers and encourage a greater participation of students. They don’t always spur the conversation to a predictable outcome, but they often lead to interesting discussions.
Although I have been scored at a 3 in my internship Performance Criteria for 2.1 Component 3b: Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques, I feel I still have great room for improvement. I have begun to realize that having a balanced array of convergent and divergent questions in my lessons will allow me to both stimulate higher level thinking while ensuring we cover the necessary material for the day. Being certain to take sufficient time, as it becomes available, to develop questions before a lesson will help me improve in this.
Dos, B., Bay, E., Aslansoy, C., Tiryaki, B., Ã‡etin, N., Duman, C. (2016). An analysis of teachers’ questioning strategies. Educational Research and Reviews, v11, n22, 2065-2078.