Questioning Techniques

The Pedagogy of Questions developed by Freire involves posing questions to learners and listening to learners' questions. Which seems simple enough, right? Wrong.

We tend to forget the fundamental structure of questions that stimulate answers – the verb. Our questions (through eliciting, concept checking, etc.) should force and challenge learners to think critically.

By focusing on the verbs we use in our questions, and aligning them with Blooms Taxonomy as much as possible, we make every minute of our lessons count.

More information on the Pedagogy of Questions can be found at:
Using Precise Verbs to Encourage Thinking
Instead of Saying:
'Let's look at these two pictures.'
'Let's compare the two pictures'
'What do you think will happen when ...'
'What do you predict will happen when ...'
'What do you think of this story?'
'What can you conclude about this story?'
'How can you explain ...?'
'What evidence do you have to support ...?'
'Let's work this problem.'
'Let's analyze this problem.'
Questioning Learners to Think Again
When Learners Say:
Teachers Say:
'The verdict is, guilty as charged.'
'Describe the steps you took to arrive at that answer.'
'I don't know how to solve this question.'
'What can you do to get started?'
'I am ready to begin.'
'Describe your plan of action.'
'I like the large one the best.'
'What criteria are you using to make your choice?'
'I am finished.'
'How do you know you're correct?'
Modified from Creative and Critical Thinking in Language Classrooms by Muhammad Kamarul Kabilan 
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 6, June 2000

As a TESOL instructor, I feel that Instruction Checking Questions (ICQs) and Concept Checking Questions (CCQs) are crucial when teaching new language teachers. They can make or break a lesson if not formulated well.

I am not very clear when setting instructions for a task, so when I usually check the instructions it is no wonder why my ICQs go unanswered. The same can be said for checking understanding of a concept I have just spent time on in class. I find that the fall back question "do you understand?" is not so effective.

I have spent time researching questioning techniques because I want to improve. Here are some materials I have compiled from BBC, TESOL and for
checking understanding
setting instructions
checking instructions


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