Strategy 1:

Before asking questions, keep in mind your lesson objectives

  • To develop their critical thinking skills, the question you ask should help them practice and develop these skills.

Strategy 2:

Intend to ask direct and specific questions

  • During classroom discussions, instead of beginning with a single question that is multilayered or complex, use a series of questions to build depth in the discussion.

Strategy 3:

Ask questions throughout the lesson and ask only one question at a time

  • When you ask more than one question at the same time, students often get confused and do not respond because they are unsure which question you want them to answer first. Asking questions throughout the lesson will not only make it more interactive and engaging, but will also help you measure and improve students’ learning.

Strategy 4:

Ask open-ended questions

  • Open-ended questions work best for engaging students in discussion and elict from students their different opinions. Avoid asking yes/no questions. If you happen to ask a yes/no question, be ready with a follow-up question to encourage students to engage in discussion.

Strategy 5:

Give students time to think and develop responses that will keep them thinking

  • Waiting 2-3 minutes will increase the number of students who volunteer to answer and will lead to longer, more interesting and unexpected answers. If students do not have an answer after 3 minutes have passed, rephrase the question. Avoid answering your own question, which will only tell students that if they do not answer, you will do their thinking for them.

Strategy 6:

Wait for students to finish an idea before intervening

  • You may find yourself wanting to interrupt because you think you know what the student is going to say, or simply because you think you have an answer they won’t think of. Withstand this temptation. Hearing the students’ full responses will allow you to give them credit for their ideas and to determine whether or not they understood the question.

Strategy 7:

Show interest in all answers

  • Motivate students when they are answering by nodding, looking at them, and using facial expressions which show you are listening. Do not look away or down at your notes while they are speaking. Make sure to thank students who give answers to your questions and engage in discussions to communicate your appreciation for their participation.

Strategy 8:

Redirect wrong answers towards a correct one.

  • For example, If you notice the student has misunderstood the question and is giving a wrong answer. First, Provide the right question for his answer then, rephrase your initial question, giving the student another chance to think and answer the question. If the student does not know the answer then, open this question up to the class. In order to take the pressure off the student and to maintain the flow of the lesson.

Are there good and bad questions for teachers to ask in the classroom? Yes! As the questions teachers ask tend to send different signals, either positive or negative to students.

Bad questions

  • Is everybody with me?
  • Any questions?
  • Does this make sense?
  • Weren’t you listening the first time?
  • Why don’t you listen?
  • Don’t you ever stop talking?

Good questions

  • How do you know that?
  • Can you give us an example?
  • Hinge questions

Here are some most common mistakes to be avoided while teachers ask questions in the classroom.


  • Too many questions at once
  • A question and answering it yourself
  • Questions only of the brightest or most likeable or quickest to respond
  • A difficult question too early
  • Irrelevant questions
  • Questions in a threatening way
  • The same kinds of questions all the time

Failing to…

  • Give students time to think
  • To build on answers
  • See the implications of answers
  • Pay attention to answers
  • Indicate a change in the type of question
  • Correct wrong answers
  • Develop responses

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