Questions are very important in the teaching learning environment.Lets review the characteristics of questions,its essence in the classroom interactions , the cognitive level and how it implemented to enhace learning.
What is a Question? It is a statement aimed at solicitating or elisiting a response,for the purpose of teaching and learning.The emphasis is on the conception and not on the question mark.
The questioning technique is a socratic method which is of great importance in the classroom interaction.
Why Questistioning ? The socratic methods serve basically two purposes:
•To test previous knowledge and this purpose is associated with direct and factual questioning.Direct or factual questions are associated with interrogatives.Four interrogatives are what,where,when and whose.These are low order type of questions ,they are basically help learners to recall factual knowledge.
•To stimulate thought ,questions which serve this purpose are non factual.They deal with more weight factors .Two interrogatives that dominate are how and why.These questions help learners to demostrate high level reasoning.The questions are provocative and they stimulate thought forcibly.
Other Purposes of Questioning:
•clarifying students response
•diagnozing learning difficulties
•emphasizing major points
•establishing sound rapport
•giving learners in practice and self expression
•probing deeper into a learner's thinking
•capturing attention of wondering mind
•encouraging learners to talk constructively.
Types of Cognitive Questions there are seven levels of cognitive domains given by Bloom:
Memory and translation fall in the recall type of questions.
Interpretation and application can be called higher order questions .We lack precision in classification of question meaning at times ,different authors say different things about types of questions.In the recall questions there are like data input questions which involve information remembering and gathering.This focus on retrieving information in the memory which is solicited.
The first level /Lower order Questions:
The words associated with recall questions a are: complete,list,retell,state,recall,recite,select,observe,name,match,describe,define and count.
The second level /Middle Order Questions:
This is like the manufacturing where data processing takes place.The key words are:classify,compare ,conclude,contrast,predict,estimate,infer,summarise,apply,make use ,transfer,explain,group,plan ,distinguish etc
The focus is on drawing cause and effect.
Third level /Higher Order Questions:
In the manufacturing they are regarded as data output phase.They focus on evaluating in new situations .Learners are encouraged to think intuitively ,creatively ,hypothetically ,to imagine and make their own judgements.The key words associated with the high order level are:evaluate ,analyse,synthese,speculate,forecast,predict,hypothesize and generalise.
Guidelines for Using Questions:
Questioning skills are highly abused in the classroom situations .Brown and Wagg(1993:203)say ,"... knowledge of details is frequently overstressed in our schools.Too many questions that I asked in the classroom deal with details." This means they are showing concern with how questions ,one being abused .Research has also shown that learners who are exposed to low order questions tends to be passive ,docile and low thinkers.
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