Questions that ask students to elaborate, justify, and extend their ideas helps with metacognitive thought processes. Metacognition allows students to take charge of their own learning. It involves awareness of how they learn, an evaluation of their learning needs, generating strategies to meet these needs and then implementing the strategies. (Hacker, 2009)
These processes includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or for problem solving. Questions are the most powerful tools we have for making decisions and solving problems, for inventing and for changing and improving our lives as well as the lives of others. Questioning is central to learning and growing (McKenzie, 1999). Jacobson et al. (1993) discuss the critical role of questioning in effective teaching. Skillful questioning allows the parent and/or teacher to foster higher-level discussions with their children/students.
Questioning Strategies That Provoke Higher-Level Thinking
- Require your child/children to consider prior information by asking questions such as:
- “Why do you suppose…?”
- “What can you conclude from the evidence?”
- Ask your child/children to state an idea or definition in their own words.
- Ask questions that require the solution to a problem.
- Involve your child/children in observing and describing an event or object by asking questions such as:
- “What do you notice here?”
- “Tell me about this”
- “What do you see?”
- Ask your child/children to compare two or more objects, statements, illustrations, or demonstrations, and identify similarities or differences between them. While identifying similarities, students will begin to establish patterns that can lead to understanding of a concept or generalization (Jacobson et al.,1993).
- Children need opportunities to process information by justifying or explaining their responses–dealing with the why, how, and the based-upon what aspects of a concept.
Questioning your child promotes reflective and critical thinking. I challenge you to start asking your child/children questions beyond the standard “How was your day?” or “How did your Algebra test go?” Who knows, you may end up in a great conversation!