Questioning in the Secondary School

Questioning in the Secondary School

Questioning in the Secondary School

Questioning in the Secondary School


The ability to ask intelligent and searching questions, to use questioning for different purposes and to know what to do with the answers is crucial to teachers of all subjects and age groups. Sometimes a whole lesson can be built around one or two key questions. Ted Wragg and George Brown explore the wide range of questions that teachers can ask, from those requiring simple recall of information right up to those that stimulate complex reasoning, imagination and speculation. The book explores the various strategies open to teachers and, through a combination of activities and discussion points, helps them to: * reflect upon their use of questions * develop their approaches to preparing, using and evaluating questions * explore ways to encourage pupils to ask questions. This book is one of a set of eight innovative yet practical resource books for teachers, focussing on the classroom and covering vital skills for primary and secondary teachers. The books are strongly influenced by the findings of numerous research projects during which hundreds of teachers were observed at work. The first editions of the series were bestsellers and these revised second editions will be equally welcomed by teachers eager to improve their teaching skills.


Improving the quality of learning in secondary schools, and preparing children for what will probably be a long and complex life in the twenty-first century, requires the highest quality of teaching and professional training. The Successful Teaching Series focuses on the essence of classroom competence, on those professional skills which make a real difference to children, like the ability to explain clearly, to ask intelligent and thought-provoking questions, to manage classes effectively and to use the assessment of progress to enhance pupils' learning.

'Success' may be defined in many ways. For some it is seen purely in test scores, for others it is a broader issue, involving the whole child. In this series we often report what has been done by teachers judged to be successful, or unsuccessful, on several criteria: head teachers' assessments, pupil progress measures, esteem from fellow teachers or from children. Skilful teachers ensure that their classes learn something worthwhile, unskilful ones may turn off that delicate trip switch in children's psyche which keeps their minds open to lifelong learning.

Experienced teachers have engaged in hundreds of exchanges every single day of their career, thousands in a year, millions over a professional lifetime. Teaching consists of dozens of favoured strategies that become embedded in deep structures, for there is no time for people to re-think every single move in a busy classroom. Many decisions are made by teachers in less than a second, so once these deep structures have been laid down, they are not always amenable to change, even if a school has a well-developed professional development programme. Reflecting on practice alone or with colleagues enables teachers to think about what they do away from the immediate pressures of rapid interaction and speedy change.

Rejecting the notion that there is only one way to teach, this series of books explores some of the many strategies available to teachers, as well as the patterns of classroom organisation which best assist pupil learning. It demonstrates throughout that teachers, even when working to predetermined work schemes and curricula, must forge their own ways of teaching in the light of the

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