PURPOSES OF ORAL QUESTIONING
The primary purpose of oral questioning is to stimulate the students to think. Navy
requirements call for people who can operate complex equipment and carry out those
troubleshooting and maintenance procedures needed to keep the equipment operating at peak
performance. To perform those duties effectively, sailors must be trained to analyze, compare,
and interpret facts, data, and methods, all of which require a high caliber of thinking.
Oral questioning also provides you with a practical means for establishing the level of
instruction. Students may vary greatly in the quantity and quality of background knowledge
they have acquired through previous training and experience. You must determine the level of
achievement of the students before proceeding with the presentation of new subject matter.
Although you may use a pretest or a questionnaire for this purpose, the quickest and simplest
means is a series of oral questions.
Oral questioning has three other important purposes: First, it arouses interest in the subject
matter. Second, it focuses attention upon a particular area of the subject matter. Third, it drills
students on subject matter they must recall precisely, such as correct terminology, functions of
parts, and safety precautions.
Use questions to achieve the following benefits:
n Discover each students interests, abilities, and depth of knowledge.
n Arouse student interest in the subject matter of the lesson.
n Stimulate discussion, and keep it closely tied to the subject matter.
n Review and summarize important points.
n Test students knowledge of what the lesson has covered, and check the effectiveness of
CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD ORAL QUESTION
Questions that are poorly worded, vague in meaning, or ambiguous will frustrate both you
and the students. Students who do not comprehend the true meaning of poorly phrased
questions will hesitate longer than usual and then give uncertain answers. You may feel
dissatisfied with the answers and reprimand the students for their lack of attention and
understanding. The students, knowing that they have answered unsatisfactorily through no fault
of their own, may lose enthusiasm and withdraw from active participation. You can avoid
frustrations of this kind by planning your questions well in advance as well as carefully choosing
and arranging words and phrases.
The construction of good oral questions requires three considerations; level of instruction, use
of interrogative, and clarity of meaning.
Level of Instruction
In asking questions, use simple words, correct grammar, and complete sentences. Use words
the students know and understand. As the course progresses, introduce new terms and more