In an Inservice-training, one of my colleagues remarked” How can I encourage students to raise questions? They seem very timid to ask insightful questions whenever I ask them if they have clarifications regarding the lesson presented.”
Well, it’s a very common classroom scenario that requires great skills from the learning facilitator. Ultimately, this needs your encouragement as a teacher.
Learning should be communicative. Thus, students should get more encouraged to communicate their thoughts and ideas by raising perceptive questions aside from answering your questions. They should be taught how to craft sensible questions in order to foster learning. It begins with curiosity and flourishes in asking and learning.
“Do you have any questions”, we usually find ourselves wrapping-up our discussions this way. It’s all right. However, our students should understand the importance of asking questions and why they should develop an inquisitive mind.
Do you encounter the same scenario in your classroom?
Internalize the Essence of Why Students Should Raise Questions
Honestly, I do have students who feel shy to ask questions and I know you do, too. But, I was able to unlock my students’ inquisitive minds and made them raise questions constructively. As to how I do it, this article is created. My students are able to develop their skills in asking questions because I allow them to. That’s it. Let me expound on the ways and perhaps you can apply this with your students.
As teachers, we aim to have interactive discussions and we can’t do it when we monopolize the discussions and just proceed lecturing and presenting. For me, the involvement of our students is a must. Remember, the learning environment is not about us, it’s about our students. Therefore, we should teach our students how to ask productive questions.
By nature kids are very inquisitive. However, the whole thing changes as they grow up. The scenario in a kindergarten classroom is a lot more different than in a classroom full of grown-ups. Grown-ups tend to be conscious of the way they talk and act.
Part of our responsibilities as teachers is to hone our students’ critical thinking skills, so they have to be encouraged to ask questions. It will deepen their learning and magnify their comprehension. Hence, I find it very necessary for student development.
However, some students find asking questions very challenging. Let’s help our students overcome this challenge by getting great and constructive ways on how to encourage them to raise questions. Read on and reflect.
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5 Ways On How Can I Encourage Students to Raise Questions
1. Use Cooperative Learning
How does cooperative learning work in your classroom?
You must have used cooperative learning in your classroom. How was it? Were you able to encourage your students to raise questions?
When students work and brainstorm together to discover concepts, it is expected that there is a creative interaction where they exchange thoughts and ideas. And this involves questioning. Doing this process will increase students’ participation which is needed to achieve a productive learning environment.
As you encourage students and allow them to work in groups, you are actually giving them great ways to become independent learners which is very important in shaping your learning environment. Moreover, this teaching strategy also boosts students’ confidence and motivates them to participate and be part of the group’s output.
As they help one another to discover new concepts and create meaningful outputs, members in the group are expected to ask questions and while others answer intelligently. So, cooperative learning helps you keep your students on task. Plus, when you have this strategy in action, your students will feel their responsibility as active learners in the classroom rather than mere spectators.
2. Establish a Creative Seating Arrangement
This requires careful planning and keen observation right at the opening of classes. You should consider a seating arrangement that accommodates student participation and active engagement. Aside from making students sit comfortably, a well-thought seating arrangement can encourage student movement that allows them to interact and socialize with their peers.
The students should be arranged and seated in a way that they could interact with their peers. They should be able to see you too. Remember, our gestures and facial expressions when we deliver our lessons can also ignite students’ interests and deepen student’s comprehension.
Having the ‘U’ seating arrangement, for example, will allow your students to perform activities because they are facing their classmates and they’ll have a clear picture of what transpires during the period. This style increases the rate of participation and permits your students to socialize and deal with one another in the learning process. This way doesn’t only encourage your students to participate and get involved but also helps them create a community in the classroom.
3. Exhibit an Accommodating Attitude
After my student read the selection, I asked happily, “What else can you tell me about it?”.
Your accommodating personality as a teacher is a great starter for students to be more confident in raising questions. It’s equally important to display welcoming gestures such as a thumbs-up, nodding, and smiling to make students feel that their questions are appreciated and not judged.
When your students feel comfortable with you, they won’t hesitate to participate and raise questions. Your accommodating attitude should be visible so your students don’t get intimidated to raise queries and pursue answers.
Some students tend to be so quiet and passive because they’re afraid that they will be ridiculed if they raise their concerns. You should eliminate such impression by showing to them how much you appreciate their inquisitive minds. Initiate a lively discussion with your students by allowing them to explore by answering and asking questions.
Let them write their questions. By giving them time to craft their questions, you are giving them the opportunity to articulate their thoughts accurately. It is a great practice too.
4. Orient Students with Your Expectations on Participation
If graded recitation plays an important part in the student performance in your classroom set up, then your students should be aware of it. On the first day of classes, your students should be oriented on how they are graded. Although improving their skills and abilities is our main concern, still it’s good if students know how they are graded.
Your students should have a clear notion of what is expected of them right from the beginning. Additionally, this will give students feedback on their performance. Moreover, your expectations of student participation should encompass how your students raise questions.
If your students have a full grasp of this orientation on participation, they will be conscious of it and so they will strive hard to participate. This will also help you design your future teaching strategies and decisions.
5. Make Lesson Presentations Interesting and Ask Open-ended Questions
When students are interested in our presentations, it arouses their curiosity and makes them pursue learning, delving more and deciphering concepts. The more you do it, the more you sustain students’ interests to learn more. Furthermore, asking open-ended questions in the process will enhance students creative and critical thinking skills. More open-ended questions, more student participation.
Meanwhile, tapping into your art of questioning expertise will also encourage students to ask thought-provoking questions. By simply asking, ‘What do you think?” “What should be done?” “What would happen if…” will help them explore their thoughts and aim to answer.
And they have to raise questions. As they feel compelled to know more about something, they will ask questions. One way to hit this mark is by making our lesson presentations very interesting. It should begin with the motivation part. Your motivational technique should spark curiosity. This gives an extra push for your students.
The lesson preliminaries should ignite student curiosity about what to transpire. Their anticipation and curiosity makes them more curious. Hence, they pursue to learn more and to get more inquisitive.
Why should we encourage students to ask questions? Learn its value and watch this video.
Initiating a creative interaction in the classroom is one of your great concerns as a teacher. It makes sense if your students develop their critical thinking skills. I know that formulating insightful questions is a skill that all students can develop and you can do a lot to help them become critical thinkers.
Your exciting ways of presenting the lesson ignite curiosity. Hence, students ask and they are excited to learn and try out new ideas. In short, raising questions helps students have a full grasp of concepts. As long as the raised questions are with the utmost relevance to the topic at hand, let the student shoot his/her answers. If not, guide the student properly and never get annoyed.
Remember, an active mind is always probing and discovering, so we should be glad if a student raises a hand. It should not infuriate us but rather make us feel good because our presentation interests the learners. Hence, our strategy works!
How can you encourage your students to raise questions? Perhaps you’ve got something to share. Feel free to comment below.