purposes. For example, you could use a factual question to arouse interest, to focus attention
upon certain parts of the subject matter, and to assist in determining the level of instruction.
A thought-provoking question normally begins with such interrogatory expressions as What
is the advantage of, What is the difference between, Why is this method considered superior
to, How would you solve the problem if, and so forth. The value of this type of question is
that a single question, properly used will stimulate the students to think. Prepare good,
thought-provoking questions on key lesson points in advance.
An interest-arousing question may sound, superficially, like a factual question. How many
Navy ships were involved in collisions at sea during the past year? Since the question calls for
an exact number, students will doubtless attempt to recall the collisions about which they have
read or heard. When asking an interest-arousing question, however, you are not interested in
exact numbers, exact names of ships, or exact situations. Your main purpose in asking the
question is to focus the students attention and get them thinking about the subject you are
about to present.
A multiple-answer question is one that has more than one correct answer. It can be used to
increase student participation or cause students to think about the other students answers. A
multiple-answer question generates a high interest level and improves listening skills.
A factual, thought-provoking, or multiple-answer question may also be one that is
interest-arousing. That depends upon your intention in asking the question, not upon its form
or content. However, if you overestimate the knowledge of your students, a question intended
to be factual may turn out to be thought-provoking.
If you underestimate the students
knowledge, a question intended to be thought-provoking may turn out to be factual.
As previously mentioned, certain kinds of questions are effective if used occasionally but are
detrimental if used frequently. Typical of these types of questions are the yes or no question,
the leading question, and the canvassing question.
The yes or no question, of course, calls for a simple answer--yes or no. This type of question
has value in arousing interest, focusing attention, encouraging student participation, and serving
as a lead-in to other kinds of questions, such as Why do you believe that to be true? An
excessive use of yes or no questions tends to encourage students to guess.