Inspire Student Curiosity! Help Students Engage by Inviting Their Questions!

Research Evidence

Student questions show engagement. According to research, students who ask questions in class are paying attention and want to learn.
Faculty who are open to and encourage questions are more approachable and demonstrate interest in student learning.

Welcoming student queries can have a BIG impact on student satisfaction and retention.

Student questioning is a high-quality engagement strategy. Professor-interaction through answering questions reassures students that a professor is accessible; that students can succeed in this work; and that they are in the right program.

What To Do and Why It Works

Invite Written Questions:

Fielding students’ questions during class time is ideal, but actual class time and rhythm are always factors. 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 the next class; (2) adapt your lecture, lab, or recitation session; or (3) email the entire class before the next session. Let students know, "About half the class wanted more examples. I'll start with that today," or "Many students had questions about X. Here's a resource to improve your understanding."

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. They can cross questions off their lists as they are answered in class, ask additional questions, or submit those questions to you in writing. A prepared list increases students’ responsibility for learning and keeps them listening for answers during class time.