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How to Implement Question and Answer Sessions in the Classroom

How to Implement Question and Answer Sessions in the Classroom

If you can learn how to implement question-and-answer sessions in your classroom, you will quickly test students’ comprehension of lessons while maintaining their focus and attention.

Question-and-answer sessions will help you gauge your students’ understanding of lesson concepts. However, sometimes, these sessions can go flat. Students can tune out, opt out, or play dumb to avoid participating.

As a teacher, trainer, or other educator, you will know that improving student question-and-answer sessions is essential. These Q&A sessions are an important part of classroom lessons. 

First, let’s discuss

6 Integral Ways Question and Answer Sessions Are Beneficial

  • Testing students’ comprehension of course material and content. 
  • Helping you, the teacher, analyze and determine where students are regarding their understanding of lesson concepts.
  • I am maintaining a well-behaved and focused learning environment.
  • We are actively engaging students in the learning process. 
  • It stimulates independent and critical thinking skills.
  • We are cultivating an interactive and social class atmosphere. 

So, how can you improve your question-and-answer sessions to get more out of your students and demonstrate your control?

Nine ways to improve student question and answer sessions:

1) Don’t always ask students who have their hands up

We all know that a handful of students still raise their hands. Students know this and depend on these few to do the work for the rest of them. So, start calling on those students who are not paying attention. Eventually, they will have no choice but to sit up and pay attention because no student wants to look bad in front of others. Plus, if your students avoid paying attention to you, they probably react similarly to the frequent speakers in the class. Get someone who hasn’t offered input into the conversation, and others will take notice.

2) If your question stumps a student, don’t just move on to someone else

When we move on to another student, we not only let that student off the hook but also miss a chance to help that student and others who may be confused develop a new understanding. This doesn’t do anyone any favors in the long run. Maintain engagement with the same student but break down the question into more straightforward and uncomplicated terms until they can provide you with an answer.

This is important if you want to stop students from opting out. If students realize that if they say they don’t know, you will move on, they will start making that excuse to get out of answering questions. So, to stop this, you must rephrase the question to help them understand. Your students need to learn that they must participate in the lesson and that participating can be a pain-free experience.

3) Always say the student’s name after you’ve asked the question

If you use a student’s name before asking the question, the other students will relax and tune out before you’ve finished asking it because they know they aren’t responsible for understanding the answer. So, the best way to ensure everyone listens is to ask questions, pause, look around the room, and then name the student you want to answer. Using this method will keep everyone’s attention on the issue. If a student isn’t answering the question in front of the class, they should still be considering a solution.

4) Make questions a regular part of your lesson

Healthy routines are an essential part of classroom management. This article offers tips and resources on incorporating habits into your classroom.

When you give information to your class, remember that many young people have a short attention span. Furthermore, many can’t learn much information from lectures due to different learning styles. Because of this, you should frequently ask questions to gauge how much of the new data you’ve given them they’ve retained and can use.

Since all students learn differently, asking questions during lectures and other classroom activities is wise. For instance, when reading a novel as a group, conducting an experiment, or showing digital presentations, you can still ask questions to measure student focus and comprehension.

5) Ask different types of questions to students

Enhancing the nature of your questions can effectively encourage higher-level thinking. Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How are the standard questions used in the classroom; however, if you want to determine or reinforce students’ critical thinking skills and creativity, develop different types of questions or situations. You may want to ask or compel students to:

  • Develop a similar problem to the one just examined
  • Critique a hypothetical situation and give a rationale for the answer
  • Compare and contrast Issue A and Issue B
  • Deconstruct the issue into smaller parts

Discovery Education, a fantastic site for educators, offers other excellent student behavior tips and teaching strategies.

6) Encourage students to ask their questions

After presenting a scenario, prompt students to ask questions and discover more details about the situation. If no one speaks up, give an example of what students might ask and how you respond. Don’t stop at just one or two questions.

If you are working with a guest speaker, watching a video, or using another tool, you can also model asking questions you expect might have been raised in learning the new material. When the conversation has become stagnant, ask the class if there are any other questions before moving on to a new topic.

7) Don’t praise questions

This may sound a little counter-intuitive, but it’s essential. Think about this. As a teacher, you’ve probably both said and heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as a stupid question” many times. Therefore, you should not evaluate the question presented to you by telling the student something like, “That’s a great question!”.

If one student receives praise for the question she asks and the next student doesn’t, the second person may become discouraged from participating. Praising some students, but not all, will reinforce the idea that there are significant and not-so-great questions, and you want to ensure that your students are asking their queries, whatever they may be. Remind the class that all inquiries are equal and valued neutrally, neither good nor bad.

8) Tell students that question and answer sessions will help them prepare for tests

We’ve all heard, “Will this be on the exam?” Q&A time is great for reminding students they will be tested on your teaching content. When students become lax in participating, remind them that this is one way to study for an upcoming exam.

By asking questions, students can personalize their need to study based on the gaps they have identified in their knowledge. The more they pay attention and partake in class, the less time will be required for learning. Even if a student is primarily engaged because they want a good grade, the thought and reflection that goes into asking questions is a win-win situation.

9) Use question-and-answer sessions as a way for students to earn bonus marks

If you want students to focus on your lectures and contribute to class discussions, offer bonus marks for participation. For instance, for every question a student answers correctly, they will receive an additional 1% on the mid-term exam. If you use this method, ensure all students can answer the questions, choose students randomly, and offer these sessions regularly.

I am summing it up!

Using these nine techniques in your next question-and-answer session, you are bound to take your class off guard and see an improvement in your students’ attentiveness. Not only will these methods help your students pay greater attention, but they will also improve your students’ performance levels. The ability to gauge learning and comprehension levels in your classroom will increase.

You will likely be asked about the techniques you use as a teacher for question and answer sessions in the teacher job interview.

Now it is your turn. What methods have you tried in the classroom to maintain students’ attention and focus? What worked and what didn’t?

Comment below or send Candace an email