Questioning is at the heart of all good teaching and learning. Christ was the perfect example, often teaching and answering with simple questions. One good example is “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” Luke 10:36
Some tips on questioning that can help improve your teaching.
- Good questions will help students to look in their scriptures or lesson materials. One key here is to ask the question before you have them read. For example you can say, “Look in John 14:15 for what we will do if we love God.” This will get students thinking about the answers as they read. Otherwise you read the verse, ask the question, and then wait for everyone to re-read the verse looking for the answer.
- Good questions will often have more than one answer. Many of these begin with words like, “Why do you think…” or “How have you seen…in your life?”
- Try to ask questions that get people to share their feelings. “How have you felt when you have listened to the prophet?” or “When did you first come to know that tithing was a true principle?” Get people to share feelings more than just give factual answers.
- Almost never ask a question with only a “yes” or “no” answer. This does very little to stimulate discussion.
- Almost never ask a question with a very obvious one-word answer. An example could be, “What did Lehi eat when he got to the tree?” A better question would be, “Why do you think the fruit had the effect that it did?” or “What do we learn about Lehi and the fruit from him looking for his family right after eating it?”
- Listen to the answers of your students. Often there is a good follow up question found in the answer that they are giving that can help get more people involved. Don’t be thinking too far ahead as someone is talking.
- THIS IS THE BIG ONE!!! I have seen this one abused so many times. Don’t get nervous after you ask a question if there are not immediate responses. I especially see this one when a difficult question is asked that may actually take some thinking. Allow the class to think. They will eventually respond. If I feel it has gone on too long, I may ask the question, “Did I word that poorly?” but never let them off the hook if you have asked a good question. Just be patient. They will answer. I have seen the best question of the day, the one that would have given the most opportunity to bear testimony skipped right over because no one answered within 0.5 seconds. Again, just be patient. The Spirit will work into their hearts and once someone starts talking, you will usually have a great discussion.