Teaching Students to Ask Good Questions

When students learn to ask good questions, they are more empowered to lead discussions; this skill also has the potential to help students become more personally invested in course topics. After all, when students take responsibility for guiding conversations, they are better able to explore ideas that interest them personally.

Resources/Ideas

Considerations

  • Evaluation: Students need guidance. Provide students with clear feedback on their questions so that they can make distinctions between bad questions (“what do you think”?) and more meaningful questions that can be used to facilitate interesting discussions.
  • Scaffolding: Try posting exemplar questions created by other students or by the teacher; collaboratively examine a series of questions and asking students to decide what questions are more interesting and why.
  • Space: Provide multiple opportunities for students to create (and use) their own discussion questions.
  • Progress monitoring: Help students monitor their own progress by saving student-created discussion questions at the start, middle and end of the semester. Ask students to reflect on their ability to facilitate discussions: How they’ve improved and where they still need some work.
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