What you don’t know is senior to you. You may not really know until you ask questions. In this article, we shall be sharing the ways students can be encouraged to ask questions, hot cake questions students should ask teachers and top questions students ask.
Ways To Encourage Students To Ask Questions
Make it Anonymous
Take the stress of asking questions in front of the whole class out of the equation by creating an activity where students can ask questions anonymously. Here’s a little trick: Use sticky notes!
For example, when reading a story to your class, provide your students with sticky notes and get them to write down a question about the book. The question can be anything to do with the book, such as a definition of a word or anything that they may wonder.
Question Time / Box
We all know those times where a student puts up their hand and asks a random question that doesn’t even relate to what you are talking about.
Don’t dismiss these questions, give yourself and your students the opportunity to write down the question for another time.
Recycle an empty shoebox, and create a question box for your classroom where students can leave questions. Then every Friday (or whatever day works for you), make a point to sit down and go through the questions with your class.
Quick Question Time
The easiest way to motivate students to ask questions is by making it something everyone has to do. Replicate a quick write in the form of a question writing session.
Display a visual related to the lesson, and encourage your students to write down as many questions as they can about the picture in a short 5-minute time frame. Give them sentence starters if they are struggling such as “I wonder…”.
Display Question Starter Cards
Key to developing those question-asking skills is having the vocabulary to form a question. Take things one step further by displaying those question words on your classroom wall to remind kids that questions are encouraged in your classroom.
Celebrate and Praise
Make sure to celebrate and praise when students ask good questions. If a student doesn’t normally feel comfortable asking a question but does, praise them! Take each question seriously and make sure to refer back to it if need be.
Ways to celebrate:
- A simple “well done, that was a great question!” goes a long way.
- If your children love stickers, give them a sticker.
- Give them a high five!
Questions Students Should Ask Teachers
Lessons and Professionalism
- Are my lessons is going well? What’s working?
- What about my lessons could I improve?
- Is my professionalism a strength?
- What about my professionalism could I work on?
- Could you videotape my lesson on ___ next week so I can watch it and see how I can improve?
- What have you tried with that student that worked well?
- How do you build relationships with students?
- What about coworkers? What have you found helps create relationships with them?
- How do you build relationships with parents and students’ families?
- Can I sit in on that meeting to observe that process? (This could be for teaching team meetings, IEP meetings, parent-teacher conferences, in-service training–anything you are curious about!)
General Teaching Questions
- Is there anything that you wish you’d known as a first-year teacher?
- What’s the best advice you’ve been given about teaching?
- In your opinion, what’s the best part of teaching?
- What’s the hardest part of teaching?
- How do you stay organized?
- How do you take care of yourself so you don’t burn out?
- What is your approach to classroom management?
- Is there anything I should know about teaching in this state?
- What should I know about teaching in this school district?
- Do you like teaching in a public school (or private/charter/parochial)? Why?
- What’s the best lesson you’ve ever taught?
- What’s the worst lesson you’ve ever taught?
- So you have a favorite “success story”?
- What’s a time when you wish you’d done something differently?
- Why do you teach?
12 Annoying Questions From Students That Drive Teachers Completely Crazy
1. Are we doing anything today?
As if there is ever a day when we are doing absolutely nothing. When a student asks this, what they are really asking is “What are we doing today?” which is equally annoying because no teacher wants to verbalize the day’s lesson to half a dozen students before the second bell even rings. So the answer to this question is always, “You’ll find out when class starts—just like everyone else.”
2. Did we do anything while I was gone yesterday?
“No, we just sat around and cried because you weren’t here.” But since sarcasm is lost on some students, that answer has to be clarified with, “Just kidding, we were very busy. But please see me when I’m not in the middle of today’s lesson to ask about what we did yesterday.”
3. Is this for a grade?
The student who asks this question is definitely trying to figure out how much (if any) effort to put into the assignment.
4. Are you gonna count off for spelling (incomplete sentences? handwriting? single spacing?)
This seems like a reasonable question, but most teachers have a standard policy about these things. Either they do or do not count off for spelling. They do or do not expect answers to be in complete sentences. This policy is usually well established within the first week of school. So, when a kid asks a question halfway through the school year about how a typical assignment or quiz will be graded, the best answer is usually, “Yes, I count off for everything.” And then let them figure it out from there.
5. Can we just have a free day?
To be clear, no teacher in the history of the world has ever been swayed by this question. Either there is work to be done and we need to get busy, or it’s Saturday.
6. Can we have class outside?
This seems like a reasonable question. After all, it’s spring. The weather is lovely. But if the lesson is conducive to outdoor learning, you can bet that the teacher who has been stuck inside all winter with a bunch of kids has already thought of it.
7. Why do we have to know this?
The simple answer is, “Teachers enjoy torturing kids by making them spend hours on pointless activities instead of just going outside or having a free day. We take a whole course on it in teacher college.” The real answer is much more complicated and involves things like higher-order thinking and brain development. Kids do not want the real answer.
8. Did you paint your nails a different color?
This seems like pleasant small talk or even a thoughtful question from a detail-oriented student. But a question like this almost always comes after a brilliant and inspiring discussion about literary symbolism or the wonders of photosynthesis and is the response to, “So, does anyone have any questions?”
9. Huh? Oh ummm, what was the question?
This response is frustrating for two possible reasons. 1. The student was completely zoned out and just missed your totally brilliant and inspiring discussion about literary symbolism or the wonders of photosynthesis. Or 2. Said student is stalling and is making you repeat the question in the hopes that the answer will somehow suddenly come to her.
10. What’s for lunch today?
“See that menu—there, where I’ve been posting the week’s menu since the first day of school?” Of course, this clear, straightforward answer is usually followed by a second question, “Yeah, but what day is it?”
11. Can I text my mom back?
“Oh, little Apple! If the tree from which you so obviously fell needs to reach you, she should call the office—as is clearly stated in the parent handbook.”
12. You should give us extra credit.
Okay, technically this is not a question, but that’s what makes it so maddening. Apparently, for kids, “You should…” has replaced “Will you please…” or “May I…” as a form of request. Other popular directives from students include things like, “You should let us have extra recess.” “ You should take us to the bookfair.” And “You should bring us treats for the last day of school.”
Teachers answer approximately one zillion questions every day. And for the most part, we welcome these. It’s why we are here—to shape young minds and guide young intellects. Unfortunately, in the process, we have to field a whole lot of questions that do neither but that do drive us totally crazy!
Students Can Ask Themselves These Questions Before, During, And After Teaching
75 Questions Students Can Ask Themselves Before, During, And After Teaching
Before Teaching & Learning
1. What’s being learned?
What’s the topic? Now, what exactly is being learned within that topic?
What does it seem like the teacher wants us to focus on? What are they emphasizing?
Is this is a concept, competency, or skill? Something else? Is it specific, like a skill, or vague like a concept or idea?
Is this review of something we’ve already learned, extending previous learning, or new learning?
2. What seems most important about what’s being learned?
At first glance, what’s the ‘big idea’ of what’s being learned?
What is the teacher explicitly stating is important? What are they implying is important?
What about this can help me grow as a person?
If I only learn one thing from this lesson, what should it be?
3. What do I already know and not know about this?
How does what’s being learned fit into what I already know?
What other ‘things’ (content areas, real-world thinking and jobs, etc.) is this connected to?
Where have I seen this or something like it before (inside and/or outside of the classroom)?
What do others seem to know about this or ‘things’ like it?
4. Why is this important?
Why is learning this important?
What is the value of this to me as a person?
How do others use this ‘in the real world’ and how might that change how I approach the lesson or activity?
How do I think I might use this is in my daily life?
5. What is my role in learning this?
What do I need to be prepared (knowledge, vocab, materials, schedule, etc.)? What resources will be available to me?
What mindset will benefit me the most?
How can I use my strengths to learn this?
What do I need to do in order to learn this? What happens if I don’t?
During Teaching & Learning?
1. What’s going on?
What’s going well?
What makes sense?
2. What seems most important?
What’s being emphasized?
SNCC: What’s simple? What’s new? What’s confusing? What’s complex?
How can I separate what’s ‘new,’ what’s ‘confusing,’ and what’s actually ‘complex’ and not confuse the three?
How could I concept what’s being learned to indicate a hierarchy or priority?
3. What am I doing to help me learn?
What specific questions do I have?
How can I document questions and/or the most important ideas for future reference? Visual notes? Combination notes? Do I know how to take Cornell Notes? Record the audio? Simply ‘pay attention’ and ‘do the work’?
When learning this, what are others doing (or what have others done in the past)?
What observable ‘things’ should I be ‘doing’ or not doing to help me learn?
4. What is my mind doing?
How is it helping me or could it be better help me? Where is my attention as I learn?
Where do I need curiosity? Self-discipline? Enthusiasm? Patience? An open mind?
What’s my mindset–has it changed since the beginning of the lesson?
What am I thinking or feeling and how it is affecting my learning?
5. What is this connected to?
What does this remind me of? Where do others use this in the real world?
What patterns am I seeing?
What have I learned previously that can help me learn this and what do I think can or should be ‘taught’ next?
What was most interesting?
What did I learn? Did I seem to learn what lesson was designed for me to learn? If not, what did I learn?
How might what I ‘missed’ affect me (in the classroom and in life)?
What do I still ‘need help’ with? Who can I talk to about the lesson to review key ideas or clarify misunderstandings?
2. What seems most important about what was learned?
What seems less important and what seems more important about what was learned? Or is this something where what was learned doesn’t have a clear hierarchy?
After the lesson, is what seems most important any different than how things seemed before and during the lesson? How and why?
What’s ‘less important’ about what was learned and how does it relate to what’s ‘most important’?
What do others seem to be learning?
After Teaching & Learning
1. How did that go?
How does my life personally change the value of what was learned (and any hierarchy therein)?
3. What should I do with what I’ve learned and how should I respond to what I didn’t learn?
What should I do with what I learned and know?
Who should I ‘tell’ or share this with?
Who would care and/or benefit the most?
What will I be able to do with this?
4. Based on what we learned today, what might we learn tomorrow?
Where does what we’re learning seem to be ‘heading’?
When we’ve learned things like this in the past, what happens next?
What could I learn about this tomorrow with help? By myself?
What might someone who knows this better than I do ‘learn next’?
5. How have I been changed by what I’ve learned?
How do I feel about this content? Interested? Enthusiastic? Curious? Bored? Indifferent?
What’s different about me? Something new that I know? Something new that I can do? Is this a small change or a new way of seeing things? If the change seems useful to me or like ‘a good thing,’ what can I do to further, extend, or deepen that change?
How else could I learn this–maybe better?
ntly-used or favorite emoji?
21. What are three awesome things about yourself?
22. What is something people don’t know about you that you wish they knew?
23. What is a unique talent you have?
24. What do you want to be when you grow up?
25. What is a big world problem that you would like to change?
26. What is your biggest dream or goal in life?
Relational and Social-Emotional Learning
27. What is your social-emotional learning superpower?
28. Which of the following traits do you think best describes you: funny, thoughtful, caring, or outgoing?
29. How do you most like to connect with your friends? Through social media, by talking over the phone or texting, or by meeting up in person?
30. What is one thing your teacher can do to get to know you better?
31. How can your teacher help you if you are feeling down?
32. What is one thing you want to know about your teacher?
33. What do you think is the most important quality for a teacher to have?
34. Who is an adult at school that you know you can count on?
35. Who is a friend at school that you know you can count on?
36. When you are stressed, what do you do to relax?
37. What makes you feel the most appreciated and understood?
38. How would your friends or a relative describe you?
39. What is something that you are thankful for?
Family and Cultural Background
40. Where do your family members work?
41. What does dinner time look like at your house?
42. What are some family items or artifacts that represent your culture and identity?
43. Which languages do you speak (even just a little bit)?
44. Who is someone in your family that you look up to?
45. What is a favorite memory you have with a family member?
46. What do you like most about your family?
47. What is a family tradition that you have?
48. Does your family have pets? If not, would you like to have a pet? What kind?
49. What is your favorite family recipe?
50. Do you have siblings? If not, would you want to have siblings or do you like being an only child?
Academic Strengths and Opportunities
51. What is your favorite subject and why?
52. What is your least favorite subject and why? What is the best way I can support you when we work on that subject?
53. What is one thing you think you do well as a student?
54. What is one thing you would like to do better as a student?
55. What do you like most about school?
56. What do you like least about school?
57. What is something you would really want to learn about at school?
58. Which of the following is your favorite way to learn: by talking with others, by listening, or by reading?
59. What would be your dream field trip?
60. Would you rather do schoolwork as a group or by yourself?
61. What is the best school project or lesson you can remember?
62. What is the best way I can support you outside of class?
63. How would you like to be recognized if you get a good grade on an assignment or project?
The Transition Back to School / First Day of School
64. What is one thing you are looking forward to this school year?
65. What is something you learned over the summer?
66. What is something you would really want to learn about this year?
67. What is one thing you would like your classmates or teacher to know about you this year?
68. What is one thing you want to know about your teacher(s) this year?
69. What was the best part of the past week for you?
70. What was the hardest part of the past week for you?
71. What can teachers or other adults at school do to better support you?
72. How much did you enjoy class today?
73. How included did you feel in class today?
74. What was your favorite part of class today?
75. What is the best part of virtual learning?
76. What is the most challenging part of virtual learning?
77. How is your internet connection at home?
78. Where do you do your school work?
79. What is something your teachers could do to improve virtual classroom time?
80. What is your favorite Zoom background?
81. How do you prefer to be communicated when learning online? By email, a messaging app, on a video call, or by phone?
82. When you take breaks from school at home, what do you like to do?
83. What is your favorite way to get in touch with your classmates and friends online?
84. What would help you feel more connected to your classmates and your school?
“Would You Rather” Icebreaker Questions
These questions can also be used between classmates to help students reconnect with one another, discover similarities, and learn new things about one another.
85. Would you rather read a book or watch a movie?
86. Would you rather eat pizza or ice cream?
87. Would you rather do a school project by yourself or with friends?
88. Would you rather play a video game or play outside?
89. Would you rather have a dog or a cat?
90. Would you rather have chocolate or vanilla?
91. Would you rather go to the beach or go camping?
92. Would you rather eat salty or sweet snacks for the rest of your life?
93. Would you rather win the lottery or be famous?
94. Would you rather dance or sing in front of a group of people?
95. Would you rather be the oldest sibling or the youngest sibling?
96. Would you rather give a presentation or write a long paper?
97. Would you rather do your homework or do chores?
98. Would you rather travel back in time or travel to the future?
99. Would you rather live in snow or rain for the rest of your life?
100. Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible as a superpower?
101. Would you rather live without Netflix or live without YouTube?