Do you struggle getting your students to think critically about your topic and thoughtfully discuss the course material? Asking good questions can be key to starting and continuing a vibrant in-class or online discussion. Rebecca Alber shared five questions she uses most often to engage students:

  1. What do you think? – Use this to continue the conversation without always needing to give the instructor perspective.
  2. Why do you think that? – This question is a great way to have students explain their reasoning or to expose how misconceptions have developed.
  3. How do you know this? – Asking this can help tie together multiple resources used in class and also help students think critically about their acquisition of knowledge and understanding.
  4. Can you tell me more? – Another great way to get students to share additional thoughts and reasoning.
  5. What questions do you still have? – When teaching students to problem-solve and think critically, this can help them identify that what they don’t know is as important as what they know. This can be a great Think-Pair-Share question as well.

You probably use many of these or similar questions in lectures and discussions already. If not, use this as a simple a list of “go to” questions to keep the focus on student responses, especially at the beginning of the semester when students are learning the content and finding their voice in your course.

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