Questions Used in Lesson Segment, Addressing Content

Skillful use of specific questioning techniques can march students through DQ 2, 3, & 4

In the February issue of Educational Leadership, Robert Marzano talks about teacher questioning at four different levels:

•  Level 1 questions ask for details about specific types of information, specific people, groups and organizations, etc.
•  Level 2 questions ask for characteristics of items, and are more general than Level 1 questions. They require students to develop categories in which to place the specific information from Level 1 questions. If a Level 1 question was about a type of fish, for example, the level 2 question might ask the characteristics of fish in order to develop categories of fish.
•  Level 3 elaborative questions ask students to explain why specific items belong in a category. In the case of fish, elaborative questions explain why fish are placed in a particular category.
•  Level 4 questions ask students what their source of evidence is for placing specific items in categories. Students are required to give evidence for why they categorize items the way they do.

Questioning Techniques for DQ2: Introducing and interacting with new concepts
These four types of questions are important for teachers as they move through the design questions in Lesson Segment, Addressing Content. The questions are useful in helping students interact with new knowledge (Design Question 2). When students are first introduced to new concepts, Level 1 questions help them recognize and recall the concept. As students process the information in small groups, they continue to ask Level 1 questions to further clarify their understanding. By drawing inferences, elaborating, and revising their knowledge, students gain a better understanding of the concept. From there, they can start developing categories or generalities.

Questioning Techniques for DQ3: Deeper understanding
In Design Question 3, Deepening Understanding of New Knowledge, Level 2 questions come into play. Students identify similarities and differences that further define the concept being taught, its characteristics, and characteristics of other similar concepts. Students further develop their categories and explain why the concept being taught fits into its category. Then, Level 3 questions require students to elaborate even further on why the concept being taught belongs in the category.

Questioning Techniques for DQ4: Help with hypotheses
In Design Question 4, Generating and Testing Hypotheses students take their newly deepened understanding and apply it to other settings. They may use experimental inquiry, decision making, problem solving, or investigations. A teacher uses Level 4 questions to prod and guide students as they test their hypotheses. Students produce evidence to support their hypotheses and substantiate the categorization of the new knowledge.

You can move your students through Lesson Segment, Addressing Content with skillful use of questioning. Ask students to recognize details of the concept, elaborate on the characteristics to categorize it, and then develop evidence to substantiate the categories.

Do you use questioning techniques in your classroom to help students develop higher-order thinking skills? Techniques like these will be useful in successfully implementing Common Core. For a deeper dive into new Common Core State Standards, check out our regional Common Core conferences, coming soon to a location near you!

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