Lesson 4: How to ask Questions

Examples of affirming responses:

  • “Thank you.”
  • “Okay.”
  •  “Uh-huh.”
  • “I hear what you are saying.”
  • “Wonderful!”
  • “Useful!”
  • “Hmmm…. now you are making me think in a new way”
  • “Interesting…”
  • “Lovely, thank you”
  • “Yes, yes, yes!”
  • “The answer is not yet correct but thank you for trying.”
  • “You are on the right track…think a bit more about…you are getting there!”
  • “Almost…try again…you are close…”

What not to do:

Avoid barking or snapping at the students if they struggle to respond. Some lecturers get irritated when the students can’t answer. Then they start shouting the questions at them. This is not helpful.

Raising your voice when you repeat questions just makes the students nervous or switch off. Repeating the same question over and over is not useful either.

Please do:

  • Stay calm and friendly, breathe deeply and think how to ask the question in a better way.
  • Rather rephrase the question so it is clearer or give a clue or hint.
  • If the students don’t know the answer, explain the content and ask again.
  • Give them more time to think.

One question to avoid is: ‘Do you understand?’ Some lecturers use this question repeatedly as a full stop to everything they say in class. Usually the students just say ‘yes’ as they are not even given time to think about the question. Rather ask questions to test understanding, than a mere unhelpful ‘Do you understand?’