Questioning In Class



How do the Georgia Performance Standards change the classroom dynamic?

Learning occurs through complex interactions in the classroom between the teacher and individual students and the teacher and the whole class. The content and process standards require the teacher to manage and participate in the classroom discussion using an exploration-based approach to learning in which students learn by exploring open-ended investigations. This approach encourages students to think deeply about the content to make sense of it. These videos demonstrate classroom questioning techniques and interactions designed to stimulate student thinking and learning.

While viewing these videos, focus on “Who’s Doing the Thinking?” How can classroom and one-on-one interactions between the teacher and students engage and challenge students to think, to explore and to expand their understanding of the content?

 GPS Addressed

    The GPS require instructional episodes in the classroom focused on content and process skills that cannot be addressed using traditional teaching methods.   The standards encourage students and teachers to engage in deeper understanding of the content.

    To enable students to:

    • problem solve in and beyond the classroom;
    • reason and evaluate their own work as well as the work of their peers;
    • communicate and make sense of the content; and
    • analyze and adapt their own learning strategies.

    Teachers should:

    • encourage multiple perspectives and problem solving methods;
    • probe to redirect or focus student thinking;
    • draw out student thinking;
    • identify misconceptions; and
    • encourage students to revise thinking.

 Video (duration: 7:52)

One-on-One Interactions

If the above video will not play, you need Apple QuickTime Player

In the first video, Mrs. Powell’s class is discussing ratio and proportion using orange juice. Watch as teacher and student interact and think about:

  1. How do the teacher’s body language and listening skills encourage the student’s reasoning and evaluation of his own work?
  2. How does the teacher encourage the student to think for himself?
  3. How does the teacher interject probing questions to focus or redirect the student’s thinking?
  4. How did the teacher draw the student’s attention to his misconception and encourage him to revise his thinking?
  5. Does this differ from how you interact with individual students? If so, what changes might you consider going forward?

Whole Class

  (duration: 13:50)

If the above video will not play, you need Apple QuickTime Player

In the second video, Mr. Meyers’ class is working with integers and Mrs. Powell’s class continues with ratios and proportions. Watch as a teacher interacts with the whole class and think about:

  1. How does the teacher gather information from many different students?
  2. How does the teacher capitalize on the different ideas of the class? How would this process help students understand multiple perspectives and multiple methods to problem solve?
  3. How does the teacher mix questioning, listening and content guidance to keep the class moving forward with the time constraints at hand?
  4. How does the teacher encourage participation and draw out student thinking and reasoning?
  5. How does this differ from how you interact with your class and what changes might you consider going forward?

 Materials for Further Reading

Here are some selected readings that can help teachers build their classroom interaction skills to support student learning:

  • Boaler, J., & Humphreys, C. (2005).  Connecting Mathematical Ideas. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Chuska, K.R. (1995). Improving Classroom Questions. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.
  • Lampert, M. (2001). Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press.
  • Schuster, L., & Anderson, N.C. (2005). Good Questions for Math Teaching: Why Ask Them and What to Ask, 5-8. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications.
  • Smith, J.P. (1996). Efficacy and Teaching Mathematics By Telling:  A Challenge For Reform.  Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 27(4), 387-402.