The purpose and importance of questioning

Questioning techniques help the reader to clarify and comprehend what he is reading. Struggling readers tend not to ask questions of themselves or the text as they read. Teachers who model how to ask questions while reading help children to learn how to build interest with the text and become stronger readers.

The purpose and importance of questioning

Translate this page from English Print Page Change Text Size: Consequently, they assume that answers can be taught separate from questions. Hence, every textbook could be rewritten in the interrogative mode by translating every statement into a question. To our knowledge this has never been done.

That it has not is testimony to the privileged status of answers over questions in instruction and the misunderstanding of teachers about the significance of questions in the learning and thinking process. In fact, every intellectual field is born out of a cluster of questions to which answers are either needed or highly desirable.

Furthermore, every field stays alive only to the extent that fresh questions are generated and taken seriously as the driving force in a process of thinking. To think through or rethink anything, one must ask questions that stimulate thought.

Questions define tasks, express problems and delineate issues. Answers on the other hand, often signal a full stop in thought. Only when an answer generates a further question does thought continue its life as such. This is why it is true that only students who have questions are really thinking and learning.

Moreover, the quality of the questions students ask determines the quality of the thinking they are doing. It is possible to give students an examination on any subject by just asking them to list all of the questions that they have about a subject, including all questions generated by their first list of questions.

That we do not test students by asking them to list questions and explain their significance is again evidence of the privileged status we give to answers isolated from questions.

That is, we ask questions only to get thought-stopping answers, not to generate further questions. Instead, students need questions to turn on their intellectual engines and they must themselves generate questions from our questions to get their thinking to go somewhere.

Thinking is of no use unless it goes somewhere, and again, the questions we ask determine where our thinking goes. It is only when our thinking goes somewhere that we learn anything of value to us.


Deep questions drive our thought underneath the surface of things, force us to deal with complexity. Questions of purpose force us to define our task.

Questions of information force us to look at our sources of information as well as at the quality of our information. Questions of interpretation force us to examine how we are organizing or giving meaning to information and to consider alternative ways of giving meaning.

Questions of assumption force us to examine what we are taking for granted. Questions of implication force us to follow out where our thinking is going. Questions of point of view force us to examine our point of view and to consider other relevant points of view.

Questions of relevance force us to discriminate what does and what does not bear on a question. Questions of accuracy force us to evaluate and test for truth and correctness. Questions of precision force us to give details and be specific. Questions of consistency force us to examine our thinking for contradictions.

Questions of logic force us to consider how we are putting the whole of our thought together, to make sure that it all adds up and makes sense within a reasonable system of some kind. Dead Questions Reflect Dead Minds Unfortunately, most students ask virtually none of these thought-stimulating types of questions.


Most teachers in turn are not themselves generators of questions and answers of their own, that is, are not seriously engaged in thinking through or rethinking through their own subjects. We must continually remind ourselves that thinking begins within some content only when questions are generated by both teachers and students.

No questions equals no understanding. Superficial questions equals superficial understanding.

Questioning Strategies for Reading

Most students typically have no intellectual questions. They not only sit in silence; their minds are silent at well. Hence, the questions they do have tend to be superficial, ill-formed and self-serving. This demonstrates that most of the time they are not thinking through the content; they are presumed to be learning.Mar 15,  · The purpose and practice of active questioning has its roots in ancient philosophic traditions.

Socrates is well known for using questioning to probe the validity of an assumption, analyze the logic of an argument, and explore the unknown. Buy The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life: Read 17 Kindle Store Reviews - Because of the importance of questions to the research process, one of the things a teacher at a university tries to teach students is how to ask good questions, and how to answer them appropriately.

This makes the process of questioning important in every class taught at a university. People Skills – Why Questioning Skills are Important. Questioning is but a part of an exchange in communication between and among individuals. It is a key tool to learning new knowledge, clearing out confusions and misunderstanding, and in resolving issues.

Sales people are fond of using leading questions for the purpose of generating. An Updated Guide to Questioning in the Classroom. by TeachThought Staff. Something we’ve become known for is our focus on thought, inquiry, and understanding, and questions are a big part of that.

The Purpose of Questions. Questioning & Self-Directed Learning.

The purpose and importance of questioning

Questioning lies at the heart of comprehension because it is the process of questioning, seeking answers and asking further questions that keeps the reading going.

For our students to become critical readers, we need to help them engage with texts through a range of different kinds of questioning.

Reading Strategies - Reading Horizons