Using Questions

A question is

 “a sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information” (Oxford Languages).

Strategic use of questions is one of the most powerful teaching techniques available to you.   Questions can play numerous roles in learning.  Identify the purpose of your question for learning, since different types of questions lead to different responses.  For example,

  • Open-ended or “focus” questions that invite different viewpoints and opinions on a topic and support critical thinking are good for initiating a discussion.
  • Questions with more than one answer support sharing of diverse perspectives without judgment
  • Follow-up questions encourage clarification and further thinking on the topic.
  • Research questions direct specific inquiry and guide systematic investigation.


Less obvious is the role of silence in initiating discussion in response to questions.  When nobody responds to a question, the natural response for the Study Leader is to jump in and fill the void.  Have patience.  The learners feel the same pressure, and someone will likely begin the discussion before long.


Effective open-ended questions often can be created by changing a statement to a question.

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