I chose to focus on how the use of questioning strategies in a whole class setting improves student understanding of conic sections because I struggle with using open-ended questioning. I see how “yes” and “no” questions do not usually cause students to think, since the answer to the question is often in the question. However, from my own experience as a teacher, simply asking an open-ended question about a new topic can cause frustration. If the students do not have any idea of how to answer the question, they simply stare and look confused. Even so, I do believe that open-ended questions can be very beneficial as an aid to learning if they are asked properly.
How does the use of questioning strategies in a whole class setting improve student understanding of conic sections?
There are many different types of questions. The questioning strategy the teacher adopts will depend on the subject, topic, student comprehension and foreknowledge, and the goal of the lesson. The teacher’s questioning strategy can help students obtain understanding and see connections as they work toward solutions to problems. (Inspire, 2011)
“One of the most striking aspects of teaching is that the teacher’s speech consists of questions” (Manouchehri & Lapp, 2003, p.563). Each question the teacher asks should be strategic toward the goal of student learning. The teacher must determine beforehand what student response is desired and structure the questioning accordingly. Questioning can also aid the educator by assessing the students’ comprehension and understanding, thereby allowing the modification of instruction if necessary (Chappell & Thompson, 1999).
The form, content, and purpose of the question are all very important in this regard. (Manouchehri & Lapp, 2003). For example, if the teacher needs the students to give a certain answer, a closed form question is appropriate, such as, “What is the square root of 4?” However, if the teacher wants the students to describe their own methods for solving a problem, an open-ended question such as, “How can you find the solution to this system of equations?” might be asked.
“The question content determines the type of information that a teacher obtains about students’ thinking” (Manouchehri & Lapp, 2003, p.564), and, of course, the purpose of the question must align with the learning goals. It is important to note that “Small modifications in the questions asked of students can furnish insights into students’ conceptual understanding of the computations and processes . . .” (Chappell & Thompson, 1999, p.470). For instance, asking why an answer is correct gives more information about the student’s understanding than merely asking what the correct answer is.
Using effective questioning is a skill developed over time and with experience. The more the teacher practices strategic questioning, the better the teacher will become at this skill. Before asking a question the...