Questioning strategies to encourage critical thinking

Graphic way of organizing concepts proposed during brainstorming.

Questioning strategies to encourage critical thinking

Universities When people really want to learn something, they ask questions. They ask questions to become skilled in using new software, or to figure out the norms of courtesy in another culture, or to master the fine art of parking a car.

It is not surprising that for many, questioning is at the very heart of learning, the central skill in the teaching-learning process.

Questioning strategies to encourage critical thinking

Teachers have been described as "professional question-askers," and history records great teachers such as the Greek philosopher Socrates in terms of their unique questioning skill.

Questions can and have been used for a wide variety of educational purposes: The many uses of questions as described by Sari Rose and John Litcher, as well as the relative ease in recording and analyzing their use in the classroom, has led to extensive research of classroom questions.


In Rommiett Stevens observed classroom life and the use of questions. She unearthed the fact that teachers were involved in a high frequency of question asking, asking approximately questions each day. The majority of these questions, about two out of three, were asked at a low intellectual level, usually requiring little more than rote memory and recall.

And they were asked not by the student, the person at the center of learning, but by the teacher. Reviews of research in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia, as well as in many developing nations, have shown similar results. To a great extent, teaching means talking and asking questions, and learning means following directions and answering questions.

Much of the current research and teacher education has focused on altering these findings, and creating more challenging and meaningful classroom questions. Types Of Questions One of the first directions for improving the quality of classroom questions was determining the intellectual level of teacher questions.

Broadly conceived, content-or subject-related questions were grouped into two cognitive categories: The preponderance of lower-order questions was troublesome to educators, for it contradicted the notion of a thoughtful classroom, promoting important if not profound student insights.

As a result, educators developed a number of classification systems to categorize question levels, the first step in promoting the use of more demanding questions in the classroom. Mary Jane Aschner and James Gallagher developed a widely used system that created four divisions, ranging from simple recall to more difficult thought, to creative thinking, and finally to evaluative thinking.

In fact, numerous such systems have been devised, but none more influential than Benjamin Bloom's taxonomy.


In Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists engaged in identifying the levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. The taxonomies they developed included three overlapping domains: Each taxonomy is an organizational strategy in which lower categories are subsumed in higher ones.

In the cognitive domain, knowledge, the lowest level in Bloom's taxonomy, must be mastered before comprehension, the second level, can be attempted. In fact, comprehension is an intellectual process that uses knowledge.

Types Of Questions

These six levels have been adapted in formulating school goals, assessing learner progress, and developing questions. Bloom's six cognitive levels range from simple recall or recognition of facts through increasingly more complex and abstract intellectual tasks.

The following brief definitions are followed by several sample verbs that reflect the appropriate intellectual activity: Requires that students recognize or recall information.

Remembering is the key intellectual activity.The silent time before feedback is given, a period called wait-time, has also been an important topic of investigation.

Thomas Good and Jere Brophy have reported on the research of Mary Budd Rowe and others concerning two wait times in the questioning cycle. The silent time before feedback is given, a period called wait-time, has also been an important topic of investigation.

About Yilin Sun

Thomas Good and Jere Brophy have reported on the research of Mary Budd Rowe and others concerning two wait times in the questioning . Page Menu; Main Library of Critical Thinking Resources; About Critical Thinking; Defining Critical Thinking; A Brief History of the Idea of Critical Thinking.

My The other day, I walked into one of our primary multi-aged classroom communities. I noticed many wonderful things.
How to Increase Higher Order Thinking | Reading Rockets When examining the vast literature on critical thinking, various definitions of critical thinking emerge. Here are some samples:
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Creativity, Thinking Skills, Critical Thinking, Problem solving, Decision making, innovation