Who does most of the talking in classrooms? Whether you look to research findings or to your own experience, you’re likely to draw the same conclusion: teachers! In his book, Visible Learning for Teachers (2012), John Hattie laments this fact and exhorts teachers to adopt a mind frame that leads them to choose dialogue, not monologue. But how are teachers to engineer this challenging transformation? Begin with the acknowledgement that dialogue doesn’t just happen: It results from planning and forming teacher-student partnerships to create a shared understanding of the what and why of dialogue. Teacher planning and the purposeful engagement of students in this dialogical partnership are keystones to effective questioning as we define it in our book, Quality Questioning: Research-Based Practice to Engage Every Learner, 2nd Ed. (2017).
Quality questioning is a process that begins with prior planning and involves intentionality in questioning to activate thinking of all students throughout a class period. The “6Ps Framework,” presented in our book, gives definition to this process and serves as a tool for teachers to use in both planning for and reflecting on their questioning practice. Consider the planning questions embedded in the first four components of the Framework: What questions will I ask? How will I engage all students in responding? What cues, prompts, or scaffolds can I offer if students don’t respond completely or correctly? How can I engage students in dialogue that deepens their thinking?