Answering Questions

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					                        Questions & Answers


                                    or
                       How to keep an open forum…


Gateway Engineering Education Coalition
                                          Topics
                 How to ask questions

                 How to elicit questions

                 How to answer questions

                 How to recover from questions you
                 can‟t answer

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                               Asking Questions

       Guideline #1:


            Questions should be formed to give
            students a framework for what is
            expected in an answer.


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                               Asking Questions

       For example…the question below is
        posed without a sufficient framework:


       “George Bush referred to Ronald
         Reagan‟s economic plan as what
         economics?”

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                               Asking Questions
       Now…that same question posed within a
        more complete framework:

      “George Bush felt Reagan‟s economic
        plan was more witchcraft than realistic
        plan. What name did Bush give to
        Reagan‟s plan?”

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                               Asking Questions
       Guideline #2:

       Give students a chance to answer the
        questions you pose, especially those
        you think are “easy”. A good guideline
        is to wait 10 seconds.



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                               Asking Questions
       For example, rather than saying…

              “What is the voltage across this
                 component?”

              (slight pause)

              “We can easily see that it‟s five volts.”
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                               Asking Questions
       You may want want to try…


              “What is the voltage across this
                 component?”

              And then wait for a response…


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                               Asking Questions
       If no answer is forthcoming, consider
          asking…

              “How could we determine the voltage?”

              Or even calling on someone directly



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                               Asking Questions
            This may also be the time that you ask
            the students to work with a neighbor to
            get the answer and then ask the
            question again. This allows the
            students to say “We determined the
            answer was ……” This takes the
            burden off the individual student.


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                               Asking Questions
       Remember…
          Don‟t be afraid of pauses in your
           lecture when you ask questions.
          When necessary, call on students
           but you may want to give them an
           opportunity to work in pairs or threes
           to get the response.

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                             Eliciting Questions
       Guideline #3:

       When eliciting questions from your class,
        phrase your requests as though
        questions are expected.




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                             Eliciting Questions
       For example, if you say…

              “Are there any questions?”

                                          OR

              “Does anyone have any questions?”

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                             Eliciting Questions
       Then…

       You intimate that you aren‟t expecting
        questions and students will be less
        likely to speak up.




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                             Eliciting Questions
       You may want to rephrase your request to
        make it clear that questions are
        expected.

       For example:

              “What questions do you have?”


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                        Answering Questions
       Guideline #4:


       Helping students arrive at answers on
        their own (by way of your prompting)
        helps them learn and remember better
        and results in a deeper understanding
        of the answer.


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                        Answering Questions
       For example, if asked…

            “How many volts is this battery?”

       Rather than simply replying…

            “1.5 Volts”


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                        Answering Questions
       You might want to suggest…

       “One way to determine the voltage is to
         measure it with a voltmeter. In addition,
         the voltage should be listed on the side
         of the battery. You can verify the listed
         voltage against the voltmeter
         measurement.”
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                Lack of Answer Recovery
       Guideline #5:

       Since you can‟t know the answer to every
         question, maintain the pace of the class
         by considering the question and
         responding in a timely fashion.



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                Lack of Answer Recovery
       For example, when asked…
       “Why are there no letters on the
         „1‟ digit on the phone?”

       Rather than saying….

       “Uhhh… I don‟t know. Uhh….
         Uhh….”
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                Lack of Answer Recovery
       Try using one of the techniques below:
       •         “I don‟t know, but I‟ll find out and get
                 back to you.”
       •         “Let me think about that a moment.”
       •         Offer the question to the other
                 students. With good students, you will
                 find that one may have the correct
                 answer which you will recognize.

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                                          Summarizing
           Frame your questions to better prompt students.
           Wait for the answer. Don‟t be afraid of silence.
           Consider small groups doing Think-Share-
           Compare if individuals are not responding.
           Ask for questions in a manner that makes it clear
           that questions are expected.
           Help students reason an answer rather than just
           handing the answer to them.
           Don‟t freeze when you don‟t know an answer to a
           student question; give a definitive answer even if
           it‟s that you don‟t know.

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