Best Practice

A questioning classroom: The purpose and timing of your questions

In this five-part series, Matt Bromley looks at how we can create a questioning classroom. In part four, he explores the purposes of our questions, timing our questions effectively, how we can ‘pass a question around the classroom’, and questions as a form of scaffolding

So far in this series, we have seen how asking questions can be a great way to encourage active participation and critical thinking. But it is important to use questions purposefully.

Asking too many questions without a clear purpose or without giving students adequate time to respond can potentially have negative effects on the learning environment. Here are some ways to ensure questions have purpose:

Creating a questioning classroom: A five-part SecEd series


A question of timing

As well as considering what questions to ask, we need to think carefully about when to ask questions. The timing of questions in class can significantly affect student engagement and understanding. Different moments during a lesson serve different purposes for questioning. It might help to consider the following “trigger points” when timing your questions:

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