We have all been in classrooms where it seemed like questions from the students were about as welcome as the plague. There are just certain educators that have an aura about them that the last thing they want to have is questions from the audience. On the other hand, there are teachers more than willing to field questions from the students, but yet nobody wants to raise their hand and ask any.
The bad news for educators is that if there are not questions being asked, then there is a very good chance you have lost your audience. They have all tuned you out and are currently in a nice daydream right about now instead. There are ways to encourage students to ask questions about the topic being covered that perhaps you have neglected recently. After all, it is your show. You are like the orchestra leader. Everything happens because of you in your classroom. Here are tips to help get questions flying back and forth during your presented lessons.
Be Open to Questions
It may seem simple, but you have to let your students know that they can ask questions at any point during your lesson presentation. There are other educators out there that will shoot an angry glance at a student if they are interrupted. Let your students realize that questions can be asked at any time. If the questions start to become a bit overwhelming, simply state that you will take all questions in a few minutes just so you can finish your thought.
Make Your Lesson Interesting Enough to Garner Questions
Nobody wants to ask questions during a boring presentation, students included. Think of all the teacher workshops you have attended and could barely keep your eyes open during their presentation. No one was asking questions because they more than likely wanted to get it all over and done with. You must make your lesson as interesting and exciting as possible. This might mean bringing in props, setting up experiments, or showing short video clips to inspire the students. If you are not receiving questions, do not think for a second that the students are understanding it all. They are just ready to get out of there, so give them a reason to want to know more.
Instruct Students to Write Down Three Questions About the Lesson
Perhaps some students are not asking questions aloud because they have trouble speaking in front of their classmates and are dealing with social anxiety. If this sounds like it could be the case with your class, instruct them to write down three questions on index cards during the lesson and then collect them at the end of it. You can then answer all of these questions as you go through the index cards without having to use students’ names or single out the particular student if that is a problem.
Praise All the Questions Asked
You remember all of those times when you were a student where the teacher said there was not such a thing as a dumb question and then the very first question that gets asked is poked fun of by the educator? I must say that happened to me on more than one occasion growing up. You must praise all questions asked if you want more questions coming from your students in the future. Do not make fun of any question being asked unless it is by the student that is asking to go to the bathroom in the middle of your presentation.
Ask Questions to Your Students and Have Them Ask One in Return
This is the strategy to get the students to have more of a conversation with you rather than being strictly student asking question and teacher answering it. Instigate the questions by asking specific ones to your students and then require them to ask you one in return. Once you have conducted your class this way for a while, they will automatically keep up with it without having to be reminded.
Every teacher has encountered a class where getting the students to participate is like pulling teeth. You may have to use many strategies at once to even get a little bit of a reaction. Don’t take it personally. Students have short attention spans nowadays. Keep everything lively and try your best to be entertaining and educational along the way. The questions are bound to come your way if you consistently maintain these tips throughout every class.
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