Any questions??

Any questions?  Good question to ask?  Is it the right question to ask students?

I recently took a 2 day communications course at SAIT and we discussed effective questioning.  The same theme came up in a PIDP 3250 course forum and the answer is the same.

Whether in the classroom or elsewhere, asking yes or no questions is typically very ineffective.  Questions should be designed to be more engaging and should be worded to illicit a more thorough and in depth response.    It came down to close-ended questions (i.e. any questions?) and open-ended questions.  A discription of each type of question type is below.

Open-ended questions – questions that require more than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.  These questions can be:

  • Objective – Direct focus on getting facts. What…
  • Interpretive – Process information to come to a conclusion. How…
  • Reflective – Seek emotional connections.  How…
  • Integration – Search for outcomes. Who/where/when…
  • Value based – Assess Outcomes. Why…

Close-ended questions – questions require a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ response and are used to maintain control or gain commitment in a conversation.

Being aware of this and using open-ended questions is helpful not only for an instructor but also helpful for the student depending on who is speaking and who is listening.  Asking these questions as a listener shows that you hear what is being said.

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