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A Pedagogy of Questioning

What happens when we start using questioning not just to assess recall but as a way to get everyone thinking in the classroom?

"What is really essential in this process is that both the teacher and the students know that open, curious questioning, whether in speaking or listening, is what grounds them mutually—not a simple passive pretense at dialogue."

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom


Rather than simply using questions in the classroom to assess recall, useful though that can be, try out some different questioning to develop deep thinking and reflection in all your children and students.

Here are 34 questions you could try:

      1. ‘What do you think?’
      2. ‘What does that mean to you?’
      3. ‘What would you do if you were…?’
      4. ‘What would happen if…?’
      5. ‘What makes you say that?’
      6. ‘Do you agree?’
      7. ‘What does that mean?’
      8. ‘What would that lead to?’
      9. ‘Where did that thought come from?’
      10. ‘Guess!?’
      11. ‘What could that mean?’
      12. ‘What may happen next?’
      13. ‘What could an answer be?’
      14. ‘How would you solve the problem?’
      15. ‘What do you think it means?’
      16. ‘What do you feel is right?’
      17. Who do you feel is right?’
      18. Why does it matter?
      19. ‘Do you disagree?’
      20. ‘What makes you think that?’
      21. ‘Why did they think that?’
      22. ‘Where did that idea come from?’
      23. ‘How sure are you that that is the right answer?’
      24. ‘What is your solution to…?’
      25. ‘How might others see this?’
      26. ‘Is that your best answer or your first answer?’
      27. ‘What could this mean?’
      28. ‘How does this link with that…?’
      29. ‘When might that not be true?’
      30. ‘Where might that not be true?’ ‘
      31. Have another guess?’
      32. ‘What if the opposite were true…?’
      33. ‘Could the opposite be true?’
      34. 'I disagree with you - persuade me!'

And remember, you can teach your students to use these question among themselves too. [ITL]

To find out more about booking Ian Gilbert for your school, college or organisation call us on 01267 211432 or drop us an email on

About the author

Ian Gilbert

Ian Gilbert is an award-winning writer, editor, speaker, innovator and the founder of Independent Thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia and is privileged to have such a global view of education and education systems.

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