Reflections on Questioning

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By S Clarke

I decided to join the questioning strand of CPD training as I felt as a more experienced Teacher it was something I could work on. I reflected on all the CPD sessions I’ve had throughout my time teaching, my current teaching practice and I realised I don’t have a crystal clear idea of what good questioning looks like within my own teaching practice. Especially being in science many people have ideas of good questioning for English and the Humanities but not my own subject area of Science. Also, I wanted to know within my own work environment what is seen as good questioning. I wanted to find a personalised version of what good questioning is and hopefully embed these elements within my own teaching. Over time I’ve observed some fabulous lessons and seen a variety of Teachers, Lead Pracitioners, Heads of Department and Senior Leadership Team Members (at over 14 different schools within the UK) in action but I still felt as though to be seen as a person with “good questioning” was relatively dependent upon which department you worked in, school or the individual who observed you. So after this realisation I set out on my own personalised journey and wanted to find out what good questioning meant to me, and within my work context.

I attended a CPD training session lead by Mr.Fisher in October (at the time I had no idea who he was) on questioning and I found him very insightful. I thought the fact he let Teachers bring their own questions and queries to discuss them, was very powerful rather than dictate to colleagues what good questioning is. I thought the fact Teachers were able to share their own ideas (experienced Teachers mixed in with new) with him at the helm guiding us was great. By the end of the CPD session I had a clearer idea what good questioning was all about. The collective perspectives from Teachers in other departments was enjoyable.

After this session I then set out to try these strategies in my own classroom, noting the impact to pupil progress, what works, what does not, what elements are essential to the process, what processes are time consuming but do not improve pupil progress in the lesson. After 3 weeks I wrote a dummies guide to questioning (Guide to Questioning) for myself that clearly outlined what I need to include in my lesson, how to deliver content and factors to keep in mind. I trialled all the ideas mentioned previously in that CPD session and tried to find out what works for me. Of course not every lesson I teach on a day to day basis will include these elements but at least I’ve gotten closer to good questioning and identified what needs to be present/what I need to do. My year 10 class I currently teach has made good progress so far and I am using the information/skills I’ve picked up.