Questioning Tips and Tricks

Page 1 of 2

Asking good questions at the right time and in the right place is a learned skill—one that will require time and attention throughout your teaching career. Here are some tips and ideas that will help you make your classroom (or any subject you may teach) dynamic and intellectually stimulating.

Back and Forth

Thousands of teachers engage in a practice that I refer to as verbal ping-pong: the teacher asks a question; a student responds. The teacher asks a question; another student responds. The teacher asks a question; another student responds, etc.

Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it? But it happens all the time. When a student answers a question, there's absolutely no response from a teacher. Most teachers tend to accept student answers without praise, encouragement, criticism, or remediation. One educator refers to this as the “okay classroom”—one in which the teacher is nonresponsive and nonencouraging.

Students need specific feedback to understand what is expected of them, correct errors, and get help in improving their performance (see How Students Learn). If all we do after getting an answer to a question is mumble “Uh-huh” or “Okay,” our students are not getting any specific feedback. Equally important, this nonresponsiveness from the teacher tends to inhibit both the quality of responses as well as higher-level thinking abilities.

When you ask a question and get a response from a student, be sure to always give some kind of response to that student. The response should be one of four kinds:


Remediation is a teacher comment that helps students reach a more accurate or higher-level response.

  • Praise. “Congratulations, you're on the right track!”

  • Encouragement. “Hernando, I really liked how you pulled together all the information about Saturn into your answer.”

  • Criticism. “No, that's not correct. You forgot to carry the two.”

  • Remediation. “Sarah, your answer wasn't quite right. Think about how Sylvester felt when he was a rock.”

 Previous   1   2   Next 

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher © 2005 by Anthony D. Fredericks. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus


Happy Halloween! Students love this fall holiday; take advantage of it! You'll find everything from costume patterns and printable Halloween masks to counting activities and vocabulary lessons.

2016 Presidential Elections
Election season is here! Help your students understand the process of our national elections (held on Tuesday, November 8), from the President down to local representatives, with our election activities. Read short biographies of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), explore mock election ideas, create presidential trading cards, learn election vocabulary, play election bingo and more!

October Calendar of Events
October is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum! Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Chemistry Week (10/16-22), Make a Difference Day (10/22), Black Tuesday (10/29/1929), and Halloween (10/31). Plus, celebrate Bullying Prevention Month, Computer Learning Month, Diversity Awareness Month, Family History Month, Fire Prevention Month, International Dinosaur Month, Learning Disabilities Month, and School Safety Month all October long!