Research shows that teachers ask 99.98% of all questions in the classroom (mostly administrative and convergent) and students ask a mere 0.02% of questions in the classroom.

A Simple Overview or Framework of Questioning (Trevor Bond)

Broadly speaking there seems to be three main categories of questions that we use in normal daily life.
They are Requests, Rhetorical, and Inquiry Questions.

These are the questions used when a person seeks permission, or seeks assistance from someone.
E.g. “Can you lend me $20?”
“May I leave the room?”
“Am I able to take my holiday from Dec 12 to January 12?”

Rhetorical Questions:
The questioner knows the answer, is not seeking an answer, but has some alternative motive behind the question. For example they may be trying to make a point, demonstrate their own knowledge, or corner another person in an argument.
E.g. “What time do you call this?”
“Why are you so stupid?”
“Are you kidding me?”

Rhetorical questions come in a number of forms, one of which is the Disguised Imperative. These are primarily a command disguised as a question. The question highlights the demand and usually requires an action rather than an answer.
E.g. “Do we wear our muddy shoes inside the classroom?”
“How do we act when we want to ask a question?”
“What do we take with us to the library to put our books in?”

Inquiry Questions: An ‘Inquiry’ or ‘Information Seeking’ question is one posed by the questioner to obtain needed information within a specific context, aspect, concept, issue, or problem. These are the questions that power learning.

In this simple overview there are two layers of Inquiry question.

The primary layer consists of a question that opens or defines the area of learning. It may pose a problem, identify a need, or establish a concern/issue for investigation. Basically it sets the scene and provides a specific context for learning. These primary questions have been labelled by a variety of names including ‘Rich Questions’, ‘Essential Questions’, ‘Fertile Questions’, and Reflective Questions’.

Inquiry Questions

  1. Primary layer of questioning - fertile, essential, inquiry, rich, reflective, questions - drives the learning, cannot be answered until you have asked and answered a whole lot of other questions. No one right answer and many possible conflicting answers.
  2. Secondary layer - subsidiary questions, fact finding, information seeking, open, closed, fat, skinny, key, search
  3. Intermediary layer - in between these two layers is the thinking process! Diagnostic, analytical, evaluative questions.

Recommended reading

’ article by Trevor Bond.

What are the core skills of an effective questioner?

  • identify the need or the problem
  • identify the relevant contextual vocabulary
  • ask a range of relelvant questions
  • take them to a variety of appropriate sources
  • persist, editing quetions as necessary, until they acquire the needed information

What is a good learner question?

  • It is relevant
  • Can be taken to intelligent (person) and non-intelligent sources (stored information eg google)
  • Gets you the information that is needed

Poor questions

  • Where can I find it? - what is it
  • What skills do I need? - for what
  • How do I get there?- where is there, where are you now

Trevor Bond: Questioning Skill Taxonomy

  • Skills of an effective questioner (see above)
  • Stage 1 - created statements rather than questions (or a nul response)
  • Stage 2 - any non-relevant question (does not contain contextual key words or phrases)
  • Stage 3 - asks yes/no/maybe questions using relevant key words and/or phrases (is, can, does, could, may, would etc)
  • Stage 4 - uses the seven servants (who, what, when, where, how, why and which) and the key words to write a relevant questions
  • Stage 5 - uses the seven servents, relevant key words and phrases to write relevant questions
  • Stage 6 - using relevant synonyms of key words to edit key questions
  • Stage 7 - uses multiple question words to create a probing question when interviewing an “expert”

The target is to operate between stages 3 and 7 as necessary.

Digital skimming and scanning is often easier for learners - edit - find - [keyword] - next reference etc. Can be done on browser, word, pdf etc