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Tutors and teachers who develop their use of questioning in the classroom can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the learning that takes place there.


Questions can be used to check out learner's knowledge



"Closed" questions are useful for this because they tend to elicit brief factual answers.


e.g.: "What is the length of a normal house brick in centimetres?"

e.g.: "What is the proper name for the main bone in the lower arm?"

e.g.: "In which county is Beverley?


"Multiple choice" questions are also useful for checking factual knowledge - especially with less able learners (who might struggle with vocabulary).


e.g.: "Which joint would you use on a frame? A dovetail joint; a cross halving joint; a comb joint; or a half-lap joint?



Questions can be used to check learners' understanding



"Open" questions are better for this because they encourage learners to explain things in more depth.


e.g: "Why should you not over-feed a young foal?"

e.g.: "What do you consider to be the best way to motivate students?"


"Supplementary" questions encourage further elaboration.


e.g.: "Are there occasions when it might not be as effective?"

e.g.: "What alternatives might you try?"



Some questions are best avoided because they get poor answers



"Multiple" questions can be useful but can also easily confuse - leading learners to answer only the first question, only the last question, or only the question they can answer most easily.


e.g.: "How can you tell if a foal is being over-fed? And what might be the consequences of that? And what can you do about it? And what can you do to make sure it doesn't happen?"


"Leading" questions serve no real purpose as the learner is able to guess the right answer.


e.g.: "Do you think you should put a preparation on a client's hair that you haven't skin-tested first?"



You should encourage learners to ask questions.



This helps to clarify uncertainty for the learner - as well as acting as a feedback mechanism for the tutor.


It develops learners' understanding - especially if the enquiry reflects the learners' interests.


It motivates learners - as it gives them an element of "control" over their own learning.


It encourages "independent learning".