In a meeting the other day we were talking about the types of questions the students have to answer on 'the test' and what knowledge the students need to answer those questions. We discussed how for a student to be able to completely understand a concept they have to be able to explain it to another person/student. When a student can explain it to another student and know what questions they might ask, you can tell they have fully grasped that concept. For students to get to that point, they have to be asking the right questions, and finding answers to those questions.
Now do students automatically know how to ask those good questions? Some may argue yes and some may argue no. Either way, it is our job as teachers to develop and enhance those questioning skills. We need to start by setting the example in how to ask good questions. When we read books to the students, ask questions out loud about the book so the students can hear our thought process and our good questioning. When we are watching a video, pause the video and ask questions about the video. As we continue to model our good questioning skills the students will start to learn how to ask questions themselves. Start transitioning from you asking the questions to the students asking the questions. Let them know that no question is a dumb question, but guide them to ask deeper questions instead of the basic knowledge questions. As the students start to ask better questions about stories, videos, lessons, and activities that you are doing in class, they will start to ask questions about everything! When students start to question everything, they will want to be able to find answers to their questions. Now that is also an import aspect of the questioning process. When the students first start asking questions, don't always just give them the answer. Show them how to find their own answer and guide them in the process. With practice and time, they will start to be able to look for their own answers. Technology is a great way to assist students in their questioning and finding answers to those questions. They can write their questions down so that they do not forget their questions and they can get to them wherever they are. As they find answers to their initial question, they can expand on that question and come up with deeper more meaningful questions to explore. If we can get students to start expanding on their own questions and take the time to search for their own answers, they will continue to expand their knowledge and find answers to questions that maybe we could not or questions we never even thought of. The internet is a great resource when it comes to questioning. For those basic questions as the students begin their questioning, they can simply look up the answers to their questions. When it comes to asking deeper questions and more thought provoking questions, the students could look to blogs or online collaboration to help them work to find their answer. They could start a blog where they post their questions and ask other people to help them find their answer or just to give their input on the topic. With the ability to reach people all around the world, it makes asking questions and collaborating much easier and more effective. The students may not be able to answer their questions by blogging all the time, but they can get insight into ways to discover their answer from other people or even help from people who have the same or similar questions. So the next time a student asks you a question, don't just answer it, show them how to find the answer to their question. Who knows, maybe they will come back to you with an even more in depth question, or a new invention they came up with because of that question!