Topics in Secondary Ed: Using Questions to Check for Understanding

January 27, 2011

There are many reasons to utilize questions to check for understanding. Teachers will be better able to check on the level of understanding from groups and individuals by utilizing questions to lead students to conclusions without giving away the answer.  By doing this, students will be required to utilize critical thinking skills, and also display the knowledge associated with the lesson. It is important that the teacher not only utilize questions to check for understanding of the most vocal or outgoing students, but also the students that are less willing to speak up in class. By using different techniques that allow these students to respond, teachers can adaquately gauge their students’ progress at multiple levels.

When responding to students’ questions in class it is important to build self confidence in the students regardless of their answer. Some helpful methods that facilitate this include subtley assisting the student find correct answers by leading their reasoning in a logical manner towards correcting an incorrect answer. In this way, students use their problem solving, logical thought process, and prior knowledge of the subject to utilize a critical thinking method that leads them to a correct answer. This is a necessary procedure as not assisting a student who has answered incorrectly could lead to lack of confidence in their answers, their ability to perform tasks, and a slipping grasp on a subject that may be just within reach. There are many ways to assist students who may not quite be up to par, but need just a bit of illumination to guide their learning.

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