The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:
Element 4; Aspect 4.1.2 Demonstrate a range of questioning techniques designed to support student learning.
In observing my teacher, it is evident that teachers spend a significant amount of time asking questions and responding to answers. Research confirms that teachers can ask up to several hundred questions each day.
Questions can be used in order to stimulate interest, summarise important points, promote discussion, inspire higher cognitive level thinking, monitor class progress, routines and behaviours, uphold attention and assess learning.
Evidently, good questions are very important and require planning.
When we provide our students with higher order questions, they are required to think beyond simply remembering; reaching higher order levels and developing their thought processes. Different types of questions involve the use of different thinking skills.
My observations confirm that this is not an easy task as higher level questions are not being used often, if at all, in my current classroom.
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a multi-tiered chart which classifies thinking according to six cognitive levels of complexity. As teachers, we can use these levels, which can be seen in the butterfly poster below, to support our students to reach a higher level of thought.
Two of the most difficult skills in teaching refer to effective questioning and responding to answers. When planning questions, it is important to ensure they match the main points that are to be developed. Questions which focus on insignificant facts that do not focus on the material that needs to be covered need to be avoided.
Questions can be divided into two broad categories: fact and higher cognitive. Fact questions derive from the first tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy, while the higher cognitive level questions derive from the other levels. Independent thinking is encouraged via the higher cognitive level questions, with the amount varying according to the level of taxonomy.
Take a look at this Storybird I made, which provides some examples of applying Bloom’s Taxonomy in your classroom (click on the image).
Click here to learn about using Storybird in your classroom.
Among fact and higher order questions, teachers ask procedural questions pertaining to the routines and procedures of the class. Research states that 60% of the questions asked by teachers are fact, only 20% are higher cognitive and 20% are procedural.
This definitely needs to change.
Our students need to be provided with more higher cognitive level questions if we want to foster independent thinking and support our students in reaching a higher level of thinking to support their learning.
Alford, G., Herbert, P. & Frangenheim, E. (2006). Bloom’s Taxonomy Overview. In Innovative Teacher’s Companion, (pp176-224). ITC Publications.
Ball, M. (n.d.). Developing Thinking Skills. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from http://curriculum.na5.acrobat.com/thinkingskills
Barry, K. & King, L. (1998). Developing instructional skills. In Beginning Teaching and Beyond, (3rd ed.), (pp144-167). Social Science Press.
Forehand, M. (2005). Bloom’s taxonomy: Original and revised. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/
New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. Retrieved 4 Februray, 2009 from http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/Main-Professional-Teaching-Standards.html
Storybird. (2011). Collaborate Storytelling. Retrieved 18, April, 2011, from http://storybird.com/
Suki Husain. (2009). Bloom’s Taxonomy Poster for Elementary Teachers. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from, http://blog.learningtoday.com/blog/bid/22740/Bloom-s-Taxonomy-Poster-for-Elementary-Teachers