A leading question is one that suggests its own answer; for example, You wouldnt smoke
in the paint locker, would you? or The 40mm gun is larger than the 20mm gun, isnt it? If
used properly, leading questions have value in focusing attention, in arousing interest, and in
emphasizing a point. You can also use leading questions to help the student think the matter
through to the right answer. If you notice students groping for the right answer, ask a question
that directs their attention to information they know but have overlooked in answering the
That has value when used skillfully because it builds a students confidence.
use the leading question to help awkward students, saving them the
embarrassment of failure in front of the class.
If used too frequently, leading questions
discourage any real thinking and become boring to the students.
Use a canvassing question to determine those who are familiar with a specific area of subject
matter. If you are teaching damage control for instance, you may ask How many of you have
been involved in an actual shipboard fire?
A show of hands provides information about
student experiences that you may find useful as your lesson progresses. It gives you a great
opportunity to bring some real life examples into your lesson and to provide some individual
recognition for student contributions.
Canvassing questions can also help to determine class
TECHNIQUES OF ORAL QUESTIONING
The AAUW Report: How School Shortchange Girls was addressed earlier. Gender bias has
also played a significant role in questioning techniques within the school system. As mentioned
earlier, boys demand more attention and get it. When boys call out answers, teachers usually
listen while the same behavior exhibited by girls is corrected. Even when boys do not volunteer,
teachers are more likely to call on them than girls.
Girls receive less teacher praise, fewer
remedial comments on their work, and less specific comments about their performance. The
implication for you as an instructor is to be aware these behaviors will continue in class unless
you correct them.
Set the same standards for responding to questions and enforce them
uniformly. Provide remediation to both males and females in coaching them through incorrect
Do not spend an inordinate amount of time taking questions from males alone.
Know that females may be hesitant to respond to questions, but by providing a safe
environment for all your students, you will gain culturally-sensitive class and curriculum include
more favorable attitudes toward other groups, a reduction in stereotyping, and increased
Five Step Questioning Technique
A recommended technique of oral questioning consists of five steps: asking the question;
pausing; calling upon a student; evaluating the students answer; and finally, emphasizing the
correct answer. Put time and thought into making each step count in the teaching process.