Asking questions is a fundamental part of the learning process. Yet many students hesitate or hold back in class.
Here's a question for faculty: How can you support students in asking more and better questions?
ENGAGE Engineering has some easy-to-implement ideas you can use right away.
- Invite Written Questions: Have students submit written questions with clickers, on index cards, or via email. You or an assistant can skim for themes. Then you can: (1) address the issue(s) during your next class; (2) adapt your lecture, lab, or recitation session; or (3) email the entire class before the next session.
- Ask Students to Bring Questions to Class: Ask students to jot down questions as they complete assignments and come to class prepared with a list of questions. A prepared list increases students' responsibility for learning and keeps them listening for answers during class time.
This Faculty-Student Interaction (FSI) tip offers ways to increase student engagement, learning, and self-confidence through asking questions.
- Overcome student reluctance based on fears of appearing ignorant or unsure
- Demonstrate that asking questions is actually a sign of strength and intelligence
- Support students in developing well thought-out questions that stimulate learning
- Make the most of your limited classroom time
Asking more and better questions will help your students:
- Clear up confusion
- Acquire new knowledge
- Deepen understanding
- Foster critical thinking
- Stimulate interest and new ideas
- Engage more fully and gain self-confidence
ENGAGE offers a full slate of Faculty-Student Interaction tips that foster faculty approachability, increase student engagement and learning, and improve retention. Take a look and consider using one or more of these in your teaching.