3 Types of Questions
Teachers Ask in Lessons

3 Types of Questions Teachers Ask in Lessons

3 Types of Questions Teachers Ask in Lessons

In 2017, Paramore, identified an imbalance in the types of questions teachers ask in lessons. 

He found that there was an over reliance on closed questions and that teachers asked too many poor-quality questions.  

The questions that teachers ask in lessons can be broadly categorised into three types:

  1. Questions to check existing knowledge 
  2. Questions to promote new thinking 
  3. Questions to management the learning environment

1. Questions to Check Existing Knowledge

This type of question is typically asked as a closed, factual question which requires students to recall knowledge and information they already know.

These are important questions to ask as they allow the teacher and student to check learning and progress, and inform future learning activities.

2. Questions to Promote New Thinking

This type of question is  typically asked as an open question which encourages students to think about new ideas and perspectives.

These are also important questions as they provide new opportunities for learning and thinking beyond what students already know. 

3. Questions to Manage the Learning Environment

This type of question is used to manage students and their behaviour and actions during the learning process.

Examples of this type of question may include, “Are you ready to start?”; “Do you have everything you need?”; “Who doesn’t have a partner yet?”; etc. 

Which Type of Questions to Teachers Use The Most?

Percentage usage of each question type varies between studies but general reported patterns typically identify the following:

50% – Questions to manage the learning environment

40% – Questions to check existing knowledge

10% – Questions to promote new learning.

How Can Teachers Ask Better Questions in Lessons?

It is therefore clearly apparent that teachers need to ask questions that promote opportunities for new learning and new thinking.

Teachers need to reduce their excessive focus on ‘reproductive’ thinking (recalling prior knowledge) and enhance their focus on ‘productive’ thinking (new thinking and ideas).

By asking better questions which increase opportunities for students to engage in new thinking, teachers will enable their students to progress their knowledge and think more critically using more higher order thinking skills. 

What Types Of Questions Do Teachers Ask In Lessons?

READ THIS NEXT...

18 Types of Questions 
Teachers Can Ask In Lessons

If you would like to explore other types of questions teachers can ask in lessons I recommend that you read the article above.

Author: Jonathan Sandling