Improve your questioning skills – Part 1

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Image courtesy of:

In order to keep our posts a little easier to read and more digestible, we’re splitting up our longer form posts into two parts.

This week, Van focuses on how students can improve their ability to question, and therefore, to learn.

By Truong Thuy Van, LSU

I imagined that if I raised my hand and my teacher called my name, the class would be deadly silent. All eyes were staring at me. It made my face red, my ears deaf, my brain blank and my tongue twisted. I stood like an idiot, mumbling and totally forgot what I wanted to ask. Others then laughed at me and would keep talking about my stupidity after ten years. That’s a scary image. So, I remained sitting, listening with questions floating in my mind and getting lost in that lecture.

However, I then decided that I would not let that image control my learning. I changed my strategy of questioning so that I could learn more than just by sitting in the class and shaking my legs because of nervousness and anxiety.

Here are the first 2 of 5 tips for improving your skill in asking questions:

Tip no. 1: Be prepared before classes

When teachers offer Q&A, students do not have questions simply because they do not know where to begin and what to ask. During the semester, many students do not learn much or anything at all and so have nothing to ask. Questions unasked in the semester later confuse them because they come all at once a week before exams.

Preparation before classes brings you confidence. You will listen more carefully and ask questions you have asked yourself during that preparation. You will not be afraid of asking ‘dumb’ questions or annoying the whole class by asking the teacher to repeat the whole lecture.

Tip no. 2: Think aloud

Sometimes it is the fact that we are afraid of not being able to express our questions clearly that stops us from asking.

When learning by yourself, try saying out loud what you think. Sometimes things become explicit when you speak them out or write them down. This might help you form better thoughts and revise your questions. Once you see what you want to ask clearly, you will be able to ask easily.

Read next week’s part 2 to see all five tips to improve your learning…

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2 responses to “Improve your questioning skills – Part 1”

  1. Thanh Ho says :

    I like it a lot and i want to learn more about this lecture !!!

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Improve your questions skills – Part 2 « lsuvietnam - February 15, 2013

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