Another best part of the artistry of coaching and learning involves proficient questioning skills. Well-crafted questions can be a helpful guide for learners in discovering deeper for more thoughtful responses, then reflecting on their own cognitive processes to develop individual ability to clearly articulate their thinking. Skillful questioning leads people to make their own discoveries, create their own learning and achieve desirable objectives (outcomes).
If one wishes to become a strategic thinker he/she needs to first acknowledge WHY it is essentially important of being a critical reader. Perhaps almost everyone agrees that simply reading and re-reading the material is not an effective way to understand and learn. Rather one should be actively and critically engaging with the content, with a determination to understand and evaluate for its relevance to his/her acquiring needs. For sure, that can be somehow challenging (struggling) throughout the whole processes, especially in the beginning.
Questioning lies at the heart of comprehension because it is the process of questioning, seeking answers and asking further yet specific questions that keeps the reading going. Thinking & doing out of the box: why not encouraging (making) them (the learners) to actually take greater responsibility of learning “HOW” to ask deep thought-provoking questions instead of (rather than) having them answer questions all the times. Empirical studies show that those who are capable of generating critical questions as they read outperform those who do not.
Competent facilitators understand their learning group (the audience) and adopt a customized approach in stimulating (moderating) active learning environment, help everyone collaboratively engages with texts through a range of different kinds of questioning activities. This first requires initiative and exposure to comprehensive texts i.e. appropriate reading materials in its adequate details. Individuals who equip with the ability to prompt provocative questions would effectively help them focus their reading, delve deeper into the text, extract the underlying principles and clarify the logic that makes every sense behind the context.
Basically, that’s how it supposed to be taken place (put into effect) after all: “Question the Unquestionable!” by constantly persistently asking tough questions that challenge common wisdom.
How to Ask Questions that Prompt Critical Thinking?
Avoid questions that have an easy one-dimensional answer. Carefully plan & thoughtfully design (develop) the questions in advance, adopt “Bloom’s Taxonomy” to identify whether the questions are likely to prompt “higher-order thinking”.
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Knowledge : Level【1】
Exhibits previously learned material by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers.
- What is…?
- When did…happen?
- How would you explain…?
- Why did…?
- How would you describe…?
Comprehension : Level【2】
Demonstrating understanding of facts and ideas by organising, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions and stating main ideas.
- How would you compare…? contrast…?
- Explain in your own words…?
- What facts or ideas show…?
- What evidence is there that…?
Application : Level【3】
Solving problems by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way.
- What examples can you find to…?
- How would you show your understanding of…?
- What approach would you use to…?
- What might have happened if…?
Analysis : Level【4】
Examining and breaking information into parts by identifying motives or causes; making inferences and finding evidence to support generalisations.
- What inference can you make from…?
- How would you classify…?
- How would you categorise…?
- Can you identify the difference parts…?
Evaluation : Level【5】
Presenting and defending opinions by making judgements about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria.
- How would you compare…?
- Which do you think is better…?
- Evaluate contribution of…to…
- What was the value or importance of…in…?
- What would you have recommended if you had been…?
Creation │ Synthesis : Level【6】
Compiling information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions.
- What might have happened if…?
- Can you propose an alternative interpretation to that of…?
- Is there a solution here?
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