Parents and teachers alike encourage students to ask a lot of questions in class, or at least, they should. In order to ask informed questions, a person has to understand the topic to some degree, think about that topic and the answer they want to know, and formulate a question that will lead to a response. Basically, the process involves a lot of cognitive reasoning.
Students' learning can benefit from being asked questions as well. Having to think about a subject requires students to form connections and process information. For this reason, the Common Core State Standards emphasize the use of questions to develop student understanding of course content.
Instances in which teachers ask questions
The Common Core notes that teachers should incorporate questions into lesson plans, especially when it comes to English/language arts courses. Students must read a text and use information therein to formulate responses to the questions teachers ask. This structure has students searching through the source material to find supported evidence. The same principles can be applied in other subjects as well. For example, students in a physics class may have to read through course material to find the proper Newtonian law that applies to a specific physics topic.
Types of questions
Teachers have a number of question types from which to choose. The structure and work created as a result of each kind varies. Here are three major types of questions Common Core teachers use:
1. Suggestive: These questions are meant to guide students while making them think. For instance, a teacher might ask, "What do you think the character will do next?" when reading a story. This gets the students thinking ahead without presenting too complex of a question. Their responses are likely simple and derived from context clues.
2. Closed: Closed questions elicit a simple, one-word or single-phrase response, such as "yes" or "no." A teacher might employ this question to help students get in the mind of the characters about whom they are reading. Sample questions include: "Do you think the character knew this outcome would happen?" "Do you think the character made the right decision in performing that action?"
3. Open: Open questions invite discussion. Students will respond with a long answer that requires consideration. Asking open questions allows students to think creatively and critically. Teachers might ask students how a story would play out from another character's point of view. Such questions could also become the basis of a report or essay.