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Questioning skills are important in facilitating an interactive pedagogy. Here we list two approaches to asking questions.

1. Higher cognitive questions

The Gallagher and Ascher’s hierarchical taxonomy (1963) describes four levels of questioning, from lowest to highest level:
  1. Cognitive-memory thinking uses simple processes like recognition or rote memory to formulate an answer; 
  2. Convergent thinking requires the students to analyse existing content to formulate an answer. There is only one correct answer for questions at this level; 
  3. Divergent thinking requires a response using independently generated data or a new perspective on a given topic. There is more than one correct answer for such questions; and
  4. Evaluative thinking, the highest question level in this taxonomy, deals with issues where judgment of values and choices are necessary. 

2. Question sequencing

In question sequencing, each question successively builds on the answer to the previous question, to lead to deeper learning.
  1. Extending and lifting: Asking a number of questions at the same cognitive level (extending) before lifting the questions to the next higher (cognitive) level; 
  2. Circular path: Asking a series of questions which eventually lead back to the initial position or question. A classic example of this circular path pattern is, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”; 
  3. Same path: Asking questions at the same cognitive level. This pattern typically uses all lower-level, specific questions; 
  4. Narrow to broad: This pattern involves asking lower-level, specific questions followed by higher-level, general questions; 
  5. Broad to narrow (or funnelling): Question sequence begins with low-level, general questions followed by higher-level, specific questions; and
  6. A backbone of questions with relevant digressions: In this sequence, the focus is not on the cognitive level of the questions but on how closely they relate to the central theme, issue, or subject of the discussion.
  1. Questioning Skills to Engage Students by Nachamma Sockalingam
  2. Asking Good Questions by Kenneth E. Vogler

Last updated on 24 Apr 2017 .