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Bespoke CPD strategies to enhance teacher questioning

For every teacher, there’s more to a question than a simple answer. Your questioning has the power to push pupils beyond their current ability and into their potential, support pupils to understand a piece of learning or task and promote student-teacher bonding. Enhance your teacher questioning skills with our range of bespoke Questioning CPD strategies, with all 13 courses carefully sculpted to help you improve your classroom interactions and aid student progression.

What is teacher questioning?

Confronted with a learning group of any kind, a teacher’s remit is primarily one of care-taking and knowledge-giving. Within this, one of the most fundamental tasks they face when dealing with students is to dissect and diagnose their learning progress. But this isn’t always straightforward, when some children play their cards close to their chest, while others can let the whole deck spill out. To strike this balance between communication styles and help steer every child in the right direction, it’s important to have versatile techniques at hand. This is where teacher questioning comes in. 

Questioning is the method that every teacher employs to try and work out what students have understood, where their knowledge gaps lie and what underlying problems are preventing them from reaching their learning goals. It can take a wide variety of forms, from targeted, to open and closed and fast-paced, but what each questioning technique has in common is the potential to more accurately plan, process and evaluate a student’s capability to succeed. 

Why is questioning in teaching important?

However, that does not mean to say that questioning in teaching can always be effective. Or, at least, as effective as it could be. Many teachers stick to a simple back-and-forth approach and ask questions that have only notional value - for instance, when asking children to recall pieces of information that they can retrieve at little effort. This is by no means a detriment to the teacher at hand; it merely suggests that they may not have been made aware of the power of teacher questioning in and out of the classroom. Just some of the benefits, for teachers and students alike, of efficient teacher questioning include:
  • Self-confidence - by engaging in more productive interactions with their teacher, students can become more likely to take risks, analyse their errors and become more receptive to new experiences. In the process, the more reward the students get, teachers may become more confident themselves, asking different types of questions and experimenting with their own unique ways to get the best out of students. 
  • Low-order to high-order learning - one of the crucial steps that any child takes in their academic development is when they begin to move on from simply recounting information and begin the process of analysis and evaluation. Good questioning facilitates this. However, it’s important to remember that higher-order learning should not be exclusive. After all, there is little point in asking high-order questions if the basic terminology and facts have not been established. 
  • Immediate and reflective feedback - half of the battle for learners trying to navigate a tricky piece of subject content is the temptation to become disassociated from the matter at hand. Solid, targeted teacher questioning can help these students receive meaningful second-hand feedback more immediately and prompt them to reflect on their own work more.
  • More productive interactions - concentrated and focused questions cut to the heart of the curricular matter more swiftly. This has a two-fold positive effect: making teaching time more efficient for the teacher, while helping the learner to identify their knowledge gaps earlier, giving them more time to rectify. 

The modern classroom has so many different aspects to consider for any teacher. You’ll know as well as anyone that the holy grail of teaching today is finding a way to reduce time, pressure and wasted energy. The benefits outlined here suggest that honing your questioning techniques can help to do just that, and more.
Luckily, since the introduction of our fantastic Questioning CPD courses, this mission has never been easier. 

Make every question count with OneStep CPD

Here at OneStep, we treat personal and professional development as equally imperative pursuits. We recognise that a well-rounded teacher equates to high-quality teaching, and that any tool that makes a gain in either area, no matter how marginal, should be utilised. 

As we’ve shown, improving your teacher questioning techniques will undoubtedly make that gain. So when we crafted our range of bespoke Questioning CPD courses, we knew they had to be easy to apply, versatile and free, while bearing in mind our commitment to comprehensive personal and professional development. That’s why each one will give you plenty of inspiration for which direction of questioning to take, run you through case examples of what real teachers have found useful, and give you advice on how to navigate uncooperative behaviour. Here are just four of the many ways you can approach teacher questioning from a different perspective using our strategies:

  1. Give them time to think: in order to give you the correct answers you need to aid learning, students need the time to organise thought processes. With this strategy, you’ll be able to judge the right times to let them ponder your questions, and increase whole-class participation in the process. 
  2. Stop saying ‘do you understand?’: gaining accurate data on your students is of paramount importance when guiding progression. Our strategy can help you do this by helping you to ask pertinent questions that will prompt an answer that you can gain insight from, as opposed to the rhetorical questions that have little value in reality. 
  3. Stretch right answers: once students have found the right answer, their learning should not stop. This strategy will help you take the next step and be able to reinforce and expand student’s knowledge simply by asking the right follow-up questions.
  4. Only accept right answers: this strategy encourages teachers to only hold out for an answer which is as correct as possible, and not settle for anything less. It has been proven that doing this holds students, and teachers, to the high standards that will enable strong progression, as well as bolster learning connections within children.

OneStep CPD is a trading name of Twinkl Ltd. Twinkl Ltd. is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 07201458 at Wards Exchange, 197 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, England, S11 8HW