The problem being addressed in this technique
A review of understanding through questioning happens in nearly all classrooms, either to test understanding or as a retrieval activity to aid memorisation and to deepen learning. In many classrooms, this questioning is dominated by the teacher. In this activity students, working in small groups, learn by asking questions of each other and invariably they try to ask the hardest questions possible.
“Great teachers create a safe, welcoming, and trusting learning environment with fair, clear, consistent, and public systems of classroom management. Group activity is purposeful and well structured.”
The technique (one of 29 in Chapter 3)
This is a consolidation activity at the end of a topic when one small group is given the role of “experts” and other groups prepare questions for them. It would work well as a retrieval practice activity. This strategy rarely fails to motivate learners. The rules are quite clear. The experts spend a short time (e.g. 10 minutes) revising the topic and agreeing who will answer what type of question (they must all take it in turns to answer). The other groups spend the time preparing questions, and in preparing questions they must also prepare answers – they are not allowed to ask questions unless they can answer themselves. The teacher will circulate checking this. When teachers use ‘Question Time’ they nearly always find the questioning groups will try to create the hardest questions possible; they go for the jugular! If used in conjunction with a questions poster (technique 31), they will almost certainly opt for the higher-order questions. The key point of this activity is that the students who learn the most from this process are those who asked the questions. Most teachers who dominate questioning are missing a trick; creating good questions along with the answers is a brilliant learning activity.
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