Questions about questioning: just how important is it?

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“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Nietzsche

It’s a little tiresome, but I feel I must preface this by saying that these are just my thoughts. I’m not claiming anyone is wrong (or right for that matter) just that it always pays to question anything that passes as conventional wisdom.

And what could be more conventionally wise that the assumption that teachers need to commit time and resources to improving their ability to ask questions of their pupils? The research suggests that teachers, traditionally, aren’t that great at asking questions. We often answer our own questions; we give less than a second for pupils to answer questions; we accept incorrect answers, and then ask, ‘Did you mean…?’ and we allow pupils to avoid participating by accepting the answer ‘I don’t know.’ All this being the case, surely it’s imperative to spend time instructing teachers on how to question better?

As ever, I need to confess that the importance of questioning is something I’d unquestioningly accepted (Oh the irony!) It wasn’t until I read this and this from Kris Boulton that I really started to think about why questioning has come to be so fetishised a facet of teaching.

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