(2) Short response question. Don't ask questions which require a very
lengthy response from a student. Break it up and give more students a chance to
answer. Instead of, "Name all the arthropods you can remember," ask, "Name an
example of an arthropod." Then ask the same question of several students.
d. Specific, Not Vague. If your question is vague, the student can bluff with a
vague answer. Students should not be allowed to get by with a vague answer. Vague
answers tell you nothing about student learning. Instead of "What should you do about
a severely injured casualty?" ask, "What is the sequence for evaluating a casualty?"
e. Full Answers. If you ask questions that can be answered "yes" or "no," you
are inviting guessing. This serves no good purpose, unless you also require the student
to explain his answer. Use of "does," "did," "should," or "could" frequently invites "yes or
no" answers. Try to use words like "how," "who," "when," "where," or "why" to elicit a
full answer. Be sure that the question does not reveal the correct answer. You may
need to rephrase the question.
3-12. WHO TO ASK
a. Give Notice. Let the class know that you are about to ask a question. Don't
spring questions that few students will recognize. Ask the question in a natural,
interested, and conversational tone and make sure the whole class hears it. This
prevents the need to repeat the question because most of the students did not hear it.
b. Ask the Class. Ask the question of the whole class and pause while the
students think about an answer. Then select a student to answer. If you name a
student before you ask the question, the rest of the class will not think about an answer.
c. No Set Pattern. Try not to establish a set order for calling on students. The
brightest or most attentive students tend to be called on the most. Try not to fall into
this trap. The shy or quiet student needs to be called upon as often as the others. Your
aim is for full class participation, so distribute your questions well.
3-13. ENCOURAGING RESPONSES
Each student should be encouraged to answer, even if he is not sure about the
answer. "I don't know," should not be accepted without trying to draw out a better
a. Same Question -- Several Students. Often it is wise to have several
students answer the same question before making a final evaluation of an answer. This
tactic will help you identify points that are confusing to the class. If a student gives a
vague answer, ask him to clarify or elaborate on his answer.