Effective Questioning Strategies
1 Use open questions. (Effective teachers have been found to ask more open questions
than less effective teachers’ - Daniel Muijs and David Reynold.)
2 Provide wait time - students need time to think through their answers before replying.
(According to Muijs and Reynold , ‘For open-ended, higher-level questions a longer
wait time (up to 15 seconds] is required’.)
3 Provide thinking time by giving an advance warning, such as ‘In two minutes I am
going to ask you ...‘, or ‘At the end of the lesson I am going to ask you...’
4 Allow students to explore and articulate their thinking by giving them two minutes to
discuss their response in pairs or groups. Group responses are reassuring — it is
easier to say ‘Our group thinks ..‘ or We think .‘ than it is to say ‘I think ...‘
5 Ensure students fully understand the question by asking them to re-word it for
someone three years younger than they are.
6 Extend and deepen thinking by asking follow-up question(s) to the same student.
7 Help students to think about their thinking by asking follow-up questions such as
‘What made you think that?’
8 Students often give the first answer that comes into their heads without really thinking
it through. Ask students to identify three possible answers and then select the best
9 Provide, or get the students to generate, ten possible answers by ‘snowballing’.
(‘Think of three reasons; now work in pairs to see ii you can get five; now work as a
group of six and get eight ... now select the best answer.’)
10 Scaffold thinking and answering - for example:
• ‘In two minutes I’m going to ask you X, but before I do, I’d like you to think of (or
talk about) A. Now I’d like you to think about B. Finally, I’d like you to think about
C. Now, how do you respond to the original question (X)?
• ‘In two minutes I’m going to ask you X. Normally I would ask you to consider
three things before answering. Which three things do you think I’ll highlight on
How frequently do I/we use/observe each of the strategies above?
1: frequently 2 sometimes 3 rarely 4: never
Taken from Hughes and Potter 2002:110