I just gave a workshop, along with Steve Pollock, for our faculty teaching excellent program at CU-Boulder on how to effectively facilitate clicker questions in the classroom. I love giving this particular workshop — working on writing questions themselves is fun, but here is where we get to get into the nitty-gritty of how to make this work effectively and get students to argue with each other productively. It’s not easy and doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s gold.
THE GENTLE ART OF QUESTIONING: MAKING CLICKERS WORK IN YOUR CLASS
Stephanie Chasteen, Science Teaching Fellow, Physics
Steven Pollock, President’s Teaching Scholar and Professor of Physics
Questioning is a central part of student assessment and quizzing, but it can also be a powerful learning tool. How does a teacher use questioning effectively? What is the right number of questions to ask? How do we avoid just giving students the answer? How do we avoid embarrassing our students, or confusing the class, if they give me the wrong answer? In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore research-based tips and ideas for questioning in a way that allow us to achieve the full benefit of questioning –student engagement and deep learning. We will focus on the use of “peer instruction” – the practice of requiring students to discuss their answers to challenging questions with one another. Peer instruction is facilitated by the use of “clickers”, but many benefits of the technique can be achieved even without the technology. We’ll discuss common challenges, share tips on getting students to productively argue and reason through the questions, and ways to encourage all students to speak up in response to questions.
So, here are the materials from that workshop: