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November 7, 2023
20 mins read

Elevating Classroom Experiences with Effective Questioning Techniques

Elevating Classroom Experiences with Effective Questioning Techniques
Written By
Aashita Pillai

Aashita Pillai

Aashita is a writer here at Suraasa and has formerly worked as a Teacher Mentor for a couple of years. She wields words like weapons to help readers get clear and concise information.

Teachers, picture this: 

You're in the middle of a lesson, pouring your energy and knowledge into those eager faces. You ask a question, and there's silence, a void that seems to stretch into eternity. 

Or perhaps you're met with a barrage of half-hearted answers that don't quite hit the mark.

These moments can be frustrating. You might be asking yourself, "Am I really making an impact? Are my students truly grasping the concepts I'm teaching?". It's moments like these when teaching can feel incredibly challenging.

How to improve questioning techniques in the classroom?

So, what's the solution? How can you regain your students' interest and improve their learning? The answer lies in the art of effective questioning techniques. These techniques will turn the tide in your favor. They will bring engagement and excitement back to your classroom.

In this blog, let's dive into some of the most effective questioning techniques. We'll explore techniques that can help you turn those silent moments into lively discussions and those hesitant responses into confident answers. Together, we'll elevate your classroom experiences and inspire your students like never before.

What are Questioning Techniques in Teaching?

In a nutshell, questioning techniques are the art and science of asking well-timed, thought-provoking questions in the classroom. These questions serve as bridges between teachers and students, connecting knowledge with understanding.

Let’s take this example to understand what an effective line of questioning is:

You're teaching a history lesson about the American Revolution. Instead of simply stating facts, you ask your students, "What do you think motivated the American colonists to fight for independence?". Instantly, you've set the stage for an engaging discussion. This is the essence of questioning techniques.

How do you ask students questions in the classroom?

Why are Questioning Techniques Important?

By now, you've gained a solid grasp of what effective questioning techniques entail. Let's delve into the pivotal reasons why leveraging these techniques is of paramount importance.

Enhancing Critical Thinking through Thoughtful Inquiry

Effective questioning isn't just about seeking answers; it's about nurturing critical thinking. It's like a mental workout that challenges students to dive deeper into the subject matter. It encourages them to explore and analyze, turning passive learning into an active pursuit of knowledge.

So, instead of asking, "What is photosynthesis?" you can ask, "How does photosynthesis help the environment?". This kind of question makes students think deeply.

Fostering Active Participation in the Learning Process

The power of a well-placed question is remarkable. It transforms a monologue into a dialogue. When you ask well-crafted questions, you invite students to actively engage in the learning process. They engage with the subject, share their thoughts, and learn collaboratively. The engagement between the students is a sign of a vibrant and interactive classroom.

For example, let’s say you’ve just covered a fascinating topic in history. Now, instead of moving on, you pose a question to your students, “What if this event had unfolded differently?”. This question sparks a lively discussion where students can share their viewpoints and engage actively in the class.

4 reasons why questioning techniques are important

Encouraging Deeper Understanding of Subject Matter

Questions guide the path to comprehension. The days of rote memorization have faded into the past. In the contemporary classroom, what truly matters is ensuring that students grasp the fundamental concepts.

Questions like, "Why do you think the Industrial Revolution had such a significant impact on society?" encourage exploration and analysis. It's about understanding the “why”, not just the “what”.

Cultivating a Culture of Curiosity and Exploration

Effective questioning ignites curiosity. It prompts students to seek answers, explore, and discover. When teachers ask "why" and "how," in the classroom, students start exploring more. It's like an adventure for their minds. By encouraging inquisitiveness, you create a learning environment where students are not satisfied with the surface but dig deeper to satiate their curiosity.

Let’s say you're discussing the concept of geometry in mathematics. Instead of merely presenting formulas and properties, you ask a thought-provoking question: "Can you think of real-life situations where the properties of triangles can be crucial?". Students will then begin to think about practical applications of geometry, such as in architecture or even everyday scenarios like measuring heights.

We hope you’re now clear on why questioning techniques are important. Let’s move on to our next section on how we can integrate them into the classroom.

Integrating Questioning Techniques in the Classroom

Beyond formal lessons, your classrooms are brimming with daily opportunities for questions to shine. Let's dive into these everyday chances where questioning techniques can transform ordinary classroom experiences into extraordinary learning experiences.

Microteaching and the Art of Questioning

What is it?

Microteaching is a technique where teachers practice their teaching skills in front of a small group of peers or students for a short period (usually 5 to 15 minutes).

How does it help?

It is a useful way to get feedback and improve one’s teaching performance.


You want to take a microlesson on fractions for a group of 4th-grade students. You can then apply the effective questioning in microteaching. You can plan and practice using different question formats like

Short answer: “How do you add ¼ and ½ ?”

True/false: “To simplify a fraction, you need to divide both the numerator and denominator by the same number. True or false?”

Crafting Question-Centric Lesson Plans

What is it?

This involves planning your lessons with specific questions strategically placed to achieve desired learning outcomes.

Teacher creating effective lesson plans

How does it help?

A well-crafted lesson plan ensures that questioning techniques are integrated seamlessly into your teaching. This will foster student engagement and deeper understanding.


You want to teach a lesson about climate change to 8th-grade students. You create a structured lesson plan with objectives, learning outcomes, content, and questions to ask during each stage in the lesson like-

Introduction: “How do you think climate change affects our planet?”

Closure: “What are some actions that you can take to help combat climate change?”

Fostering Student Engagement through Classroom Discussions

What is it?

Classroom discussions are interactive sessions where students engage in open dialogue, share their thoughts, and explore a specific topic.

How does it help?

During classroom discussions, ask open-ended questions that encourage students to share their perspectives and engage in meaningful dialogue. These questions promote active participation, critical thinking, and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.


You're conducting a classroom discussion on a historical event, such as the American Revolution. You can use various questioning techniques to facilitate the conversation like-

Open-ended Questions: "How did the events of the American Revolution impact the course of history?"

Comparative Questions: "How did the American Revolution differ from other revolutionary movements?"

If you're eager to learn how you can become a more effective teacher in the classroom, consider talking to a mentor for valuable one-on-one guidance today.

Exploring Different Types of Questioning Techniques

In the previous section, we learned how to implement effective questioning in daily classroom situations. These techniques are like tools in your teaching toolbox that will help you engage your students and foster deeper understanding. Let’s dive right into it:

1. Posing Open-ended Questions

What is it?

Open-ended questions are those that require more than a simple "yes" or "no" answer, encouraging students to think critically and express themselves.

How does it help?

Open-ended questions stimulate discussion, promote critical thinking, and allow for diverse perspectives to emerge in the classroom.


Instead of asking, "Did you like the book?" you might ask, "What aspects of the book did you find most interesting, and why?"

2. The Socratic Method

What is it?

The Socratic method is a technique that involves asking a series of questions that lead students to discover the answer or solution to a problem by themselves.

How does it help?

The Socratic Method fosters independent thinking, encourages active participation, and helps students construct their knowledge.


Suppose you're teaching a class that's discussing a novel or a play, like Shakespeare's "Hamlet". To encourage critical thinking and discussion, you could pose questions like:

"What do you think motivates Hamlet's actions throughout the play?"

"Can you identify any moments in the story where characters face moral dilemmas?"

"Why do you think Shakespeare chose to set the play in Denmark?"

Through these questions, students can analyze character motivations, and explore the broader themes and literary choices in the work. They develop a more nuanced understanding of the text and its various interpretations.

3. The Scaffolding Technique

Scaffolding as a type of questioning techniques

What is it?

Scaffolding involves providing support and guidance to students as they learn, gradually reducing assistance as they become more capable. You start with simpler questions and gradually progress to more complex ones as students gain confidence.

How does it help?

Scaffolding with questions helps students build their understanding step by step, ensuring a solid educational foundation.


Suppose you're teaching a group of elementary school students about basic addition. You can use scaffolding with questions like:

Question 1: "What is 2 + 2?"

Question 2: "Now, how about 3 + 3?"

Question 3: "Great! Can you tell me what 4 + 4 is?"

Question 4: "Let's make it a bit more challenging. What's 7 + 5?"

Question 5: "Now, try 9 + 8. You're doing really well!"

In this case, you're providing support and gradually increasing the complexity of the questions as the students demonstrate their understanding.

Decode the Word
Scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support a work crew and materials to aid in the construction, maintenance and repair of buildings. In teaching, it is a practice where a teacher gradually removes guidance and support as students learn and become more competent.

4. Posing Hinge-Point Questions

What is it?

Hinge point questions are specific questions used by teachers to assess student understanding at crucial junctures during a lesson. 

How does it help?

Based on students' responses to these questions, you can decide whether to proceed with the lesson or to revisit the concept if necessary. This ensures that all students are on the same page before you advance to the next stage of the lesson.


Let’s say you're teaching new words to your students, like 'magnificent.' You can ask, "Can you use 'magnificent' in a sentence?". If they get it right, it's a green light to continue. If not, it's a red light to stop and explain further.

Now that we've explored these practical techniques, you're better equipped to engage your students and foster deeper understanding. But we're not done yet.

Examples of Using Questioning Techniques Across Different Subjects and Grades

Effective questioning is not limited to one subject or grade level. It can be integrated across various subjects and grade levels to enhance student learning and engagement. In this section, we will discuss a few examples on how questioning techniques can be applied to different subject areas and grade levels.

Across Different Subjects

Questioning techniques can be adapted to different subject areas by using subject-specific content, vocabulary, concepts, and skills. Here are some examples of how it can be integrated across some subjects:


Science is a subject that involves observing, experimenting, hypothesizing, analyzing, and explaining natural phenomena. Effective questioning can help teachers and students explore scientific concepts, processes, and methods. Some examples of science questions are:

  • What are some examples of physical and chemical changes? How can you tell them apart?
  • How does gravity affect the motion of objects on Earth and in space?
  • How do plants make their food? What are some factors that affect photosynthesis?


Mathematics is a subject that involves calculating, measuring, reasoning, problem-solving, and modeling numerical and spatial relationships. Effective questioning techniques can help teachers and students explore mathematical concepts, procedures, and applications. Some examples of mathematics questions are:

  • What are some properties of odd and even numbers? How can you use them to check your calculations?
  • How do you measure the area and perimeter of different shapes? How can you use formulas or tools to find them?
  • What are some real-life situations that involve fractions, decimals, or percentages? How can you convert between them?
How to improve questioning techniques in the maths classroom?


Literature is a subject that involves reading, interpreting, analyzing, and appreciating various forms and genres of texts. Effective questioning techniques can help teachers and students explore literary elements, devices, and themes. Some examples of literature questions are:

  • Who are the main characters in the story? How do they change throughout the story?
  • What is the setting of the story? How does it affect the mood and atmosphere of the story?
  • What are some of the literary devices that the author uses? How do they enhance the meaning and effect of the text?

Social Studies

Social studies is a subject that involves studying the history, geography, culture, and society of different regions and peoples. Effective questioning techniques can help teachers and students explore social issues, events, and perspectives. Some examples of social studies questions are:

  • What are some of the causes and effects of the French Revolution? How did it influence the world history and politics?
  • What are some of the physical and human features of India? How do they shape its diversity and identity?
  • What are some of the values and beliefs of Buddhism? How do they influence their followers’ way of life?


Art is a subject that involves creating, expressing, and appreciating various forms and media of visual arts. Effective questioning techniques can help teachers and students explore artistic elements, techniques, and styles. Some examples of art questions are:

  • What are some of the elements of art (such as color, shape, line, texture, etc.)?
  • What are some of the techniques of art (such as painting, drawing, sculpting, etc.)? How do they require different skills and tools to create an artwork?
  • What are some of the styles of art (such as realism, impressionism, cubism, etc.)? How do they reflect different historical and cultural contexts and influences?
How to improve questioning techniques in the art classroom?

Note: While we have tried to cover the most common subjects, it is possible that your specific subject is not listed above. In such cases, we recommend you research and adapt questioning techniques to match the content and learning objectives of your subject, ensuring a tailored approach to your teaching needs.

Across Different Grades

Questioning techniques can be adapted to different grade levels by using grade-appropriate content, vocabulary, concepts, and skills. Here are some examples of how it can be integrated across different grade levels:

Grade Level Students’ Skills Benefits of effective questioning Example of questions
Kindergarten Literacy


Social-Emotional Learning

Physical Development
Help students explore their interests, experiences, and surroundings. 1. Can you think of an animal that starts with A?

2. How many fingers do you have on one hand?

3. How do you show your happiness?
Primary School Reading Comprehension

Writing Expression

Mathematical Reasoning

Scientific Inquiry

Social Studies Awareness
Help students explore deeper and broader concepts, processes, and connections 1. What are some of the main events in the story? How do they relate to the theme or message of the story?

2. How do you multiply two-digit numbers by one-digit numbers?

3. How do states of matter change from one state to another?
Middle School Critical Thinking

Creative Expression


Help students explore more complex and abstract concepts, processes, and applications 1. How do you divide fractions by fractions? How do you apply this skill to real-world situations, such as recipes or measurements?

2. How did ancient civilisations contribute to the development of culture, science, technology, and society?

3. What are some of the factors that affect the climate of a region?

High School Preparation for Higher Level Academic Challenges and Opportunities Help students explore more advanced and diverse concepts, processes, and applications 1. What are some of the causes and effects of globalization? How does it affect different aspects of our lives, such as the economy?

2. How do you solve quadratic equations using different methods such as factoring, completing the square, or quadratic formula?

3. How do you write a basic research paper?


To summarise, effective questioning techniques stand as the cornerstone of engaging and transformative classroom experiences. Your thoughtful questions not only inspire curiosity but also nurture critical thinking, ultimately deepening comprehension. By embracing these effective techniques, you empower yourself to become an even more impactful educator. When that happens, you're not just shaping students; you're influencing an entire generation of lifelong learners. 

If you're eager to further enhance your teaching abilities, consider talking to a mentor for valuable one-on-one guidance today. Your journey towards becoming an even better teacher begins with a simple conversation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to improve questioning techniques in the classroom?

Improving your questioning techniques in the classroom involves several steps. First, aim to ask open-ended questions that encourage critical thinking rather than simple yes/no queries. Be patient and give students adequate time to respond thoughtfully. Practice active listening to understand their responses fully, and use their answers to guide the discussion further. Additionally, adapt your questions to the specific subject matter and age group you're teaching.

How to infuse effective questioning techniques in a classroom PowerPoint Presentation (PPT)?

To incorporate effective questioning techniques in a classroom PowerPoint presentation, you can add interactive slides with questions, polls, or discussion prompts. You can also use tools like Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere to create interactive presentations. Encourage students to think and respond by using visuals, videos, or real-world examples in your slides. Make sure to allow time for students to reflect on the questions and discuss their answers. This engagement can transform a typical presentation into an interactive learning experience.

Why do classroom teachers use questioning techniques as part of their teaching strategies?

Teachers use questioning techniques as an integral part of their teaching strategies because these techniques promote active learning, critical thinking, and deeper understanding. Questions encourage students to engage with the subject matter actively, think critically, and explore concepts in depth. They also foster a culture of curiosity, making learning more enjoyable and effective.

Are there any drawbacks to overusing questioning in the classroom?

While questioning is an essential teaching tool, overusing it can have some drawbacks. Over-questioning might lead to students feeling overwhelmed or anxious, especially if they're hesitant to participate. It can also disrupt the flow of a lesson. Striking a balance between questioning and other teaching strategies is crucial to maintaining an effective and engaging learning environment.

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Written By
Aashita Pillai

Aashita Pillai

Aashita is a writer here at Suraasa and has formerly worked as a Teacher Mentor for a couple of years. She wields words like weapons to help readers get clear and concise information.

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