Tool ID-3: Planning for effective questioning

For this tool you will need the following resources:

  • ID-3 PowerPoint
  • Handout 1: What kinds of questions promote inquiry-based learning?
  • Handout 2: Five principles for effective questioning
  • Handout 3: Planning for effective questioning

The aim of this tool is to explore the use of different types of questions in IBL. To begin, the groupdownload_powerpoint considers questions that promote inquiry learning, recording their responses on a handout. A handout which summarises research related to questioning is distributed and then participants plan a lesson that will promote thinking and reasoning, supported by a handout.

Begin with a brief discussion on classroom questioning, particularly if you have not worked through Tools ID-1 and ID-2.


Now ask the teachers to work in pairs to discuss the question: What types of questions promote inquiry-based learning?

Ask them to provide some examples that they have used recently. They should download_handoutrecord their responses on Handout 1: What kinds of questions promote inquiry-based learning?

Bring the whole group together. Share some thoughts from the small group session.

Make available copies of Handout 2: Five principles for effective questioning. download_handoutThis provides a summary of some research findings related to questioning and suggests that effective questioning displays the five characteristics:

  • The teacher plans questions that encourage thinking and reasoning;
  • Everyone is included;
  • Students are given time to think;
  • The teacher avoids judging students’ responses;
  • Students’ responses are followed up in ways that encourage deeper thinking.

teamworkAsk the teachers to discuss the research findings in small groups, perhaps focusing on these questions:

  • Which of these principles do you usually implement in your own teaching?
  • Which principles do you find it most difficult to implement? Why is this?

classBring the group together and ask them to share their thoughts.


nextstepsAsk each teacher to select one classroom task in their subject area from the mascil repository, and plan a lesson that will promote thinking and reasoning. They could do this in the session or at home.
The following questions will help them plan.

  • How will you organise the classroom and the resources?
  • How will you introduce the questioning session?
  • Which ground rules will you establish?
  • What will be your first question?
  • How will you give time for students to think before responding?
  • Will you need to intervene at some point to refocus or discuss different strategies they are using?
  • What questions will you use in plenary discussions during or towards the end of the lesson?

download_handoutHandout 3: Planning for effective questioning will be also be useful to support teachers as they plan. They should aim to teach the lesson before the next session and be ready to share their reflections on the effectiveness of their questions.