Best Practice

Cold calling: Make questioning your teacher superpower

As teachers, do we ask questions because we want an answer, or do we ask them because we want students to think. Jon Tait looks at how teachers can adopt cold calling questioning techniques
Image: Adobe Stock


Do a simple online search for the word “teacher” and you will soon come across lots of photos of teachers standing at the front of a classroom with children waving their hands in the air ready to answer a question. But is this actually what constitutes good teaching? Or is it an age-old practice that should be consigned to history?

But what is the problem with students putting their hands up to answer a question, I hear you ask? That is how we were all taught as children when we were in school wasn’t it?

Well, the underlying problem is that this approach of raising a hand and offering to “participate” in answering the questions that a teacher poses equally means that students can do the exact opposite – keep their hand down so they don’t have to participate.

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