In his book 'Teach Like a Champion', author Doug Lemov discusses how targeted questioning encourages teachers to plan their questions in advance and to ask them at critical transition points in the lesson.
What is this strategy about?
Ask a series of open-ended questions to ensure that your students get the answer right before you move on to save time circling back to review later on. We've put together this strategy to help you with actions you can take as a teacher to gather valuable and actionable data to guide your instruction and gauge the level of understanding your students have with the material. The aim is to ensure that all students are understanding the most important aspects of a lesson, and are able to act upon it.
How can you ensure you ask the best questions to your class?
Plan your questions so you don’t have to think of them on the spot. This way you have more time to think of targeted questions to really assess your students' understanding of teaching.
You can clearly see the difference between asking broad and difficult questions like: “Does everyone understand the parts of speech?”
Compare it to a targeted question:
“Who can tell me which word in this sentence is the noun…. Jack?”
“Who can identify the verb in the sentence, The dog ran in circles. … Sarah?”
“Who can give me two examples of adjectives … Felix?”
Notice in the examples above how teachers should call out a student’s name at the end of each question, after a pause to allow students to think. This is because a range of students should be selected when questioning - one or two that you suspect may struggle, a few more in the middle ability range, and possibly one advanced student. Lemov also suggests that 'cold calling' should be a part of targeted questioning in that students are called upon without volunteering.
What is targeted questioning?
Targeted questions are a series of carefully chosen questions at a particular group of pupils in a short period of time (usually a minute or less). Make sure your pupils understand before you move on. Engaging children this way is instantly effective. You've already devised your questions and at what point you're going to ask them; who you're going to ask, and why. This kind of strategy is beneficial for a number of reasons, both for you and your class. Sign up to this targeted questioning strategy to find out more.Click here to learn more about Quality Questioning.