How important is questioning?

Questioning plays an important part in how our students respond to us. If we get our questioning right we may elicit responses from a wide variety of students with detailed answers, get it wrong and we can be met with blank stares and silence.

To help understand the powerful impact our phrasing of questions can have watch this great video sourced from Twitter (retweeted by @Towny47).

So what is good questioning and what makes a good questioning environment (this is not an exhaustive list)?

  • Selecting the appropriate question type (open, closed or multiple choice) depending on what you are seeking from the student. Open inquiry questions will elicit deeper thinking.
  • Use a scaffold (like Blooms) to develop a range of question starters that allow students of different abilities entry points into a concept.
  • Use wait time. Give students the chance to think. Let students know they have time to think. Research suggests 3-5 seconds before any speaks leads to students answering better (we need to put up with the awkward silence).
  • Not all questions have one right answer (respecting student answers and the thinking behind them).
  • Follow up questions that allow students to think deeper about their original answers.
  • Have a system of questioning that allows for the random selection of students i.e. names on popsticks.
  • Have class norms that develop a culture of “its ok to answer questions”.


How Can Quality Questioning Transform Classrooms? Questioning to Advance Thinking, Learning, and Achievement

The skill of questioning

Engaging students through effective questions





How do you use Technology?

SAMR Model for IT use.




Technology allows for creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable Use of iBooks Author to create media rich ePub books


Technology allows for significant task redesign Camera function to record oral retells, recording of reading


Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement Basic functions of eBooks are used such as Read To Me and dictionary definitions


Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change eBooks are used in reading groups

 SAMR: Puentedura, R. R., Ph.D., SAMR model.

 Should we be using technology to replace things that we have always done i.e. online worksheets v photocopied worksheets? Or should we be using the technology to allow our students to do things that have previously been extremely difficult or impossible because the technology was not up to it or available?

Above is a model for teachers to use when considering the use of technology in the classroom. At the bottom of the model is Enhancement. Enhancement refers to using IT to enhance things that we already do. The example given at the Substitution level is using eBooks on an iPad as opposed to using traditional books in reading groups. This may enhance the activity slightly through added sounds and activities within the book but essentially it is the same activity. If you follow this example all the way through to Redefinition the use of eBooks becomes about being an author and publishing for a wider audience (online publishing). This is something that without the technology could not be done before.

The model is about moving towards using tech to redefine (enhancement) student learning and not just using tech to do the same tasks but in a different way i.e. reading an eBook instead of a traditional book. This is not to say it cannot be used as a substitution or to augment but it is not the most powerful way to use technology.

For teachers at PBAS I have one question:

Is this model something that could be added to our Professional Development Foundation document in terms of guiding teachers to use technology at a more involved level?

I think it should go into our professional development document because:

1. With the introduction of iPads at PBAS it is timely to consider a model like this.

2. It is a simple model/concept which is easy for teachers to grasp.

3. If a teacher wants to focus on developing ICT use in their classroom we currently have nothing to guide them at PBAS. This gives us clear guide providing us a common language and reference point as teachers at PBAS.

4. This is a widely used model in the education community.


PBAS 14 Day Twitter Challenge

Twitter app

Before starting this post I must thank Jarrod Robinson (@mrrobbo) who posted a PE teacher 14 Day Twitter Challenge on his website A perfect example of how Twitter directed me to something that then resulted in an idea that could be used to encourage staff at PBAS to learn a new skill that potentially could change the way they view professional development and teaching.

Thanks to all the staff willing to have a go a the 14 Day Twitter Challenge. I hope that everyone finds it worth while. Below are copies of the 14 Day Challenge graphic. I have also added a follow up video to the first session where we created our Twitter accounts in case anyone wanted to get a refresher on some of the things we talked about on Day 1 of the challenge.


Links to TfEL and The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

TfEL 1.3 Participate in professional learning communities and networks.

TfEL 1.5 Discuss educational purpose and policy.

Australian Teacher Standards 6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice.

Australian Teacher Standards 6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice.


The 14 Day Twitter Challenge instructions

14 Day Twitter Challenge









PBAS Twitter Basics