When varied questioning approach is employed in the teaching and learning process, a deep and productive class interaction will be evident.
It is said that one of the most powerful and suitable strategies that a teacher can use is varied questioning strategy. This can take in many forms, and it does not mean to imply that this strategy is purely prescriptive and therefore one size fits all. First and foremost questions should be strategic and organized. They should also be flexible and personalized to students, to the concepts being discussed and to specific situations. Teachers should also employ their skills in questioning or the so called “Art of Questioning”. Creativity in questioning makes the classroom conversation and interaction more meaningful.
For many years, teachers never thought of how important and what a difference a question can make. Unconsciously, they sometimes throw questions to students that are badly asked. For various reasons: the question required minimal thinking; the question gave the answer away or simply the question was vague. Of course, teachers want to ask questions that are “productive”, the right questions. It is always a great idea to have questions planned in a lesson because it allows teachers to go back and think of what they were trying to achieve from asking the question. However, students should also be allowed to ask their own questions, and possibly have other student answer them. This would be a great way to measure both the students asking the questions and the students answering them. Simply by the questions and answers produced by the students. If the full authority over the questioning comes only from the teacher then it may be sound boring and disengaging because it may limit student’s voice in the classroom. Most students would reveal that they are fond of answering questions that make them think critically. If they are asked obvious questions then they would probably lose interest really fast. Other students would confess that they feel they do not need to listen to questions with obvious answers. Mostly, they appreciate questions that asked them to explore a problem as a class. Therefore, there has to be a balance between challenging and easy questions and questions that provide Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). This can be brought out by questions that answer the “how and why”. These are more valuable and interesting than those questions that only answer the “what, where and when”.
However, anything that is too hard or too easy students will shut down. It is really impossible to find the perfect questions for all students. You will never have everyone pleased, that is why varied questions work well. But this strategy must always depend on the type of learners you have because students have different learning orientations, preferences, capacities and levels. Creativity again comes in when you want to involve even those academically challenged students. Most of the time these students will make your way of teaching become more interesting in a sense that you will be forced to draw out from them what is on their minds. The way students think also varied. Some give their answers direct to the point and precise while others are not. Some needs follow up questions for them to better understand the latter. Hence, whatever type of learners you have in your class; it is still your task as a teacher to teach them all.
Let us therefore encourage all students to become conceptual and logical thinkers and let us not use the test instrument in a discriminating way. Instead, let us inspire our students to make judgments, to analyze critically what they read, to evaluate and construct arguments, to appreciate that learning involves more than learning mere scientific facts. In this way, teachers may be rest assured that delicate knowledge can be learned by the students along the way.