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Questions: Asking and Answering

These resources address the varied ways in which questions may be used in the classroom, from the use of student-response systems (SRS, or “clickers”) to gauge student comprehension for writing better multiple-choice questions, to using conceptual questions to guide teaching and learning.

Question Asking Techniques

  1. Answering and Asking Questions (pdf) by W E. Cashin. This paper makes suggestions regarding questioning that is appropriate for both lecture and group discussions. (1995). Answering and Asking Questions. IDEA Paper, 31, Kansas State University. Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://www.theideacenter.org/sites/default/files/Idea_Paper_31.pdf.
  2. Asking More Effective Questions (pdf) by W. F. McComas and L. Abraham. Moving from theoretical underpinnings to grounded pedagogical theory, this paper provides a number of strong examples for teacher use. Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://cet.usc.edu/resources/teaching_learning/docs/Asking_Better_Questions.pdf.
  3. Asking Questions to Improve Student Learning (webpage) by The Teaching Center, Washington University St Louis. Gives strategies to respond to students using a question-based pedagogy, creating concrete connections between Bloom’s education objectives and open-ended question-asking. Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/strategies/Pages/asking-questions.aspx.
  4. IDEA Item #2: Found ways to help students answer their own questions (webpage) by The Idea Center. Focuses on facilitating student learning by cultivating independent answering of students’ questions. Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://www.theideacenter.org/research-and-papers/pod-idea-notes-instruction/idea-item-2-found-ways-help-students-answer-their-own.
  5. Teaching Through Key Questions (webpage) by the Faculty development and instructional design center, Northern Illinois University. Provides practical steps a teacher can take to improve student engagement through question asking and answering. (2009). Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://www.niu.edu/taconnections/2009/spring/question.shtml.
  6. Using Questions Effectively in Teaching (webpage) by the Honolulu Community College. Links to several short articles on the use of various questioning techniques in the college classroom. Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/teachtip.htm#questions.

Asking Questions, Using Clickers (Student Response Systems)

  1. Clickers (website) by Derek Bruff. Provides a wealth of information including resources, blog posts, a clickers-themed bibliography and book recommendations for the effective use of clickers in the classroom. Retrieved December 10, 2013 from http://derekbruff.org/?page_id=2.
  2. Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Best Practice Tips (pdf) by Jane E. Caldwell. Up to date research and literature review on the topic of clicker use. Reports on the statistically significant positive outcomes associated with clicker-use. http://lifescied.org/content/6/1/9.full.pdf.
  3. Student Response System Use: Best Practices (webpage) University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Contains valuable resources, examples and best practises for using clicker technology in a variety of classroom applications. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  4. Tips for Successful “Clicker” Use (pdf) by Douglas Duncan, University of Colorado. Explains success strategies for working with clicker technology. Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://www.cwsei.ubc.ca/resources/files/Tips_for_Successful_Clicker_Use_Duncan.pdf.

Writing Better Multiple Choice Type Questions

  1. Multiple Choice Question Writing Guidance (webpage) by the Brigham Young University Testing Center. Contains several strong resources pertinent to creating good multiple choice questions. Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://testing.byu.edu/info/handbooks.php.
  2. Writing Multiple Choice Questions that Demand Critical Thinking (webpage) by the Teaching Effectiveness Program, University of Oregon. A comprehensive resource offering practical suggestions for writing exams and strategies for creating questions. Retrieved September 27, 2013 from http://tep.uoregon.edu/resources/assessment/multiplechoicequestions/mc4critthink.html.

Relevant Books

  1. Learning to Question: A Pedagogy of Liberation. P. Freire and A. Faundez. New York: Continuum, 1989. McGill Call # LB880 F73 L43 1989: http://mcgill.worldcat.org/title/learning-to-question-a-pedagogy-of-liberation/oclc/59868198&referer=brief_results.
  2. Strategic Questioning. R. T. Hyman. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1979. McGill Call # LB1027 H94: http://mcgill.worldcat.org/title/strategic-questioning/oclc/4638425&referer=brief_results.
  3. Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments. D. Bruff. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009. McGill Call # LB1027.23 B78 2009 [Humanities and Social Sciences – McLennan Library]: http://catalogue.mcgill.ca/F/?func=find-b&find_code=SYS&local_base=catalogue&request=002859961.
  4. The Practice of Questioning. J. T. Dillon London and New York: Routledge, 1990. McGill Call # P95.52 D55 1990: http://mcgill.worldcat.org/title/practice-of-questioning/oclc/19555622&referer=brief_results.
  5. What the Best College Teachers Do. K. Bain.Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004. McGill Call # LB2331 B34 2004; Also available via electronic access: http://mcgill.worldcat.org/title/what-the-best-college-teachers-do/oclc/53044881&referer=brief_results.