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Effective questioning requires teacher judgements to be made about which questions to ask, and when to ask them. But it is also about withholding the temptation to ask a battery of questions that fail to connect with what students need to explore in order to engage more deeply with text.

Equally, effective questioning is about helping students to formulate their own questions and to develop skills in knowing which questions are likely to lead to more interesting and pertinent answers.

A series of predetermined questions, even questions that are designed to cover all the educational objectives of Bloom’s taxonomy or any other classification system, is not effective questioning. Such models can usefully alert educators to the range of thinking that is available, but the questions on which dialogue is built have to be more subtly employed. They must be responsive to what students know and understand, and to misconception, as well as where the enquiry might lead.

Furthermore, the model of questioning currently used to test comprehension should not be confused with the effective questioning needed to support the development of reading comprehension.  The pedagogy of reading should not merely imitate the structure of the test as that will not ultimately lead to better reading. Of course end of key stage testing shouldn’t be ignored and students need practice in reading, analysing and responding to test style questions in writing.  Nevertheless, it is neither necessary or desirable to devote four years of junior reading to becoming skilled to answering test questions. If this is done at the expense of developing children’s ability to read for meaning, for purpose and for enjoyment, they will not achieve their full potential.

Question Organisers

This article shows how question organisers were used in 4XR project classrooms. The artile was first published in Teach Primary and is reporduced here with permission.

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