What are skills of an
This is a question any school serious about improving their students'
questioning needs to seek an answer to.
As one searches the internet, and other resources, to find out what the
skills of an effective questioner are an interesting picture emerges.
The bulk of the resources available do not actually address the skills
of an effective questioner, what the bulk of them seem to address is the
types of questions a questioner may ask.
I believe that there are two
central issues here, both are connected, but one has been hidden because
of a confusion of phrasing. The first is that of Question Types
and the second is one of Questioning Skills.
Types: an issue of knowledge and understanding.
It is obvious that any one
who has had exposure to a wide range of question types is likely to have more
knowledge and understanding than a person who has not had this exposure.
It also seems logical that a person with this knowledge and
understanding is in a better position to be able to ask a wide range of
question types. On this basis exposure to, and modelling of, a wide
range of question types seems to be something that is worth doing for
our students if we want to facilitate them into being better
questioners. Fortunately there are plenty of sources and and resources
that will provide us a range of question types. (see
Skills: an issue of competence.
It takes more than just
knowledge or understanding of different question types to make someone a
good questioner. During six years of working with students across the
school system as they carry out research, try to solve problems and are
deep into the process of making meaning I have identified what seems to
be a core set of foundational questioning skills. These are the skills
that will increase a student's ability to ask effective questions that
will empower them as learners.
Confusion: question types are often identified as 'skills'.
I have spent a lot of time
searching for lists of the skills an effective questioner needs to have.
Nearly every resource I have found based round the concept of
'questioning skills' has turned out to be related to 'question types'
rather than the actual skills that build questioner competence. This
means that our students may well be missing out on some very useful and
important skills that will raise their competence as questioners.