ECT 300 EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: Can you examine the Questioning and Reinforcment method as a skill in micro (peer)-teaching?



9c iv). Explain how can a teacher evaluate the efficacy of the lecture skill in micro-teaching?




Teachers rely heavily on question asking as a major part of their teaching repertoire. It is one of the most versatile and most readily available techniques to the teacher. It must be an action that is clearly observable, recognizable and purposive. The teacher must perform it in a controlled way. The skill is teacher dominated as s/he controls the train of thought, knowing from the beginning where to lead the pupils through the questions.

Purposes of questioning

  • Teaching (in a way of teacher-pupil interaction)
  • Guidance or leading (into higher thought processes, and giving new insight and knowledge)
  • Stimulating or motivating through involvement
  • Evaluating to determine pupil’s level of knowledge and for feedback.
  • Promoting intellectual activity
  • Knowing the learners
  • Decision making
  • Introducing and summarizing topics
  • Drilling and practicing

Types of questions

  • Factual or lower order questions for mere recall of facts and information covering knowledge level of the cognitive domain. Some require “yes” and “no” responses
  • Middle order questions. They cover the comprehension and application levels of the cognitive domain. Questions in this category demand “distinguishing” “comparing and contrasting”.
  • Thought or higher order questions for reflective/critical thinking. They cover analysis, synthesis and evolution levels of the cognitive domain. They need intelligent manipulation of learning materials.


When to ask questions.

(a) At the beginning of a lesson to:

  • Diagnose to determine the starting point
  • Create atmosphere of wonder, curiosity and interest
  • Set induce

(b) During presentation of a lesson to:

  • Stimulate thought
  • Make pupils active or to enable them participate in lesson development
  • Discover misconceptions
  • Retain interest

c). At the end of a lesson to

  • To sum up
  • Stress the indirect purpose of a lesson
  • Assess success of a lesson
  • For pupils to draw own conclusions

Characteristics of good questions

  • Clear concise, precise, direct and relevant
  • Thought provoking and related to the objectives
  • Suited to the age interest and ability of the learners

Procedure of asking questions

  • State the question
  • Pause, allow time for pupils to consider the question and think about the answer
  • Call on a name of the pupils to attempt the question
  • Listen to the answer
  • Comment, evaluate and reinforce the answer

Guidelines to asking questions

  • Pre-plan (especially for higher order questions) and follow a logical sequence (systematically)
  • Ask questions in a natural friendly and conversational manner
  • Frequency of questioning
  • Address the question to the whole class and distribute well
  • Repeat the question only when legitimately necessary, rephrase if unclear
  • Do not wait unnecessarily long for a response, assist by prompting
  • Prompt, probe, refocus and redirect appropriately
  • Eliminate opportunities for guesswork
  • Avoid questions whose responses are YES or NO
  • Discourage chorus answers
  • Insist on complete thought units of answers in good language
  • Accept all genuine answers sincerely. If correct partly, acknowledge that part
  • Correct pupils’ inaccuracy. Pupils should not be made to feel afraid in making mistakes
  • Avoid discouraging comments on wrong answers
  • Allow and encourage pupils’ questions.
  • When a pupil starts asking questions just to show off, throw back the questions back to him/her tactfully
  • Sometimes it is best to turn a pupil’s question to the whole class for consideration
  • If you do not know the answer to a pupil’s question, it is best to admit your inability rather than be caught lying or bluffing. You can always promise to give the correct answer after your research.

Some “don’ts” when asking questions

  • Avoid double barreled questions
  • Avoid ambiguous questions
  • Avoid “echo” questions e.g. x=y, is y=x?
  • Avoid “pumping” questions e.g. “your father is a doctor?”
  • Avoid asking questions that end with “Is what.”




A teacher should react to a pupil’s contribution to the teaching/learning situation in such a way as to REINFORCE the event. This will encourage pupils to answer questions, making suggestions and participate in class discussions. A close relationship exists between questioning and reinforcement. They are intact interdependent.

Purposes of reinforcement

  • to increase the likelihood that a positive behavior will recur
  • increase learning
  • increase pupil participation

Types of reinforcement

  • positive verbal reinforcement e.g “good”, “correct” “fine”, “excellent” etc
  • positive non-verbal reinforcement e.g. nodding the head, smiling moving towards the pupil, keeping eye contact, writing the response on the chalkboard
  • positively qualified reinforcement, a differential reinforcement either verbally or nonverbally, the acceptable parts of a response
  • delayed reinforcements, the emphasis on the positive aspects of pupil’s response by redirecting class attention to earlier contribution by a pupil

Components of questioning

  • Acceptance. The teacher gives some indication that the pupil’s contribution is acceptable or that he is at least listening to it
  • Establishing relationship. The pupil’s idea is conveyed to the class and a discussion is initiated. The teacher may formulate the idea more clearly or he may ask the pupil to explain
  • Use. A contribution from one pupil is used to stimulate discussion. The contribution may be used to solve a problem
  • Praise. The teacher encourages, praises or makes positive remarks about the pupil’s contribution. Praise should be honest and not flattery.

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