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Jesus was the Master Teacher. Not only was He an excellent communicator, but he also had the ability to ask questions that probed both the heart and the mind. The disciples were challenged to answer His questions with more than superficial, fact-based answers. The questions Jesus asked caused listeners to think and evaluate before responding.

Asking good questions is both an art and a skill. Teachers today can learn to ask questions that cause people to reflect and evaluate as well as give fact-based answers. Here’s some guidelines to improve your questions.

  • Ask open-ended questions – Questions should be asked in such a way that students will be able to provide a variety of responses. For example, if you have a lesson on the vine and the branches. Don’t ask the obvious question – What does Jesus compare us to? Your only answer is “A vine” Instead ask, “What are some of the possible reasons Jesus used a vine to represent us as Christians?”
  • Ask one question at a time. Focus everyone’s thoughts on a single question and you will get much better answers and lively discussion.
  • Address everyone with the questions. Don’t allow one person to answer all the questions. Spread them around, call students by name, invite more people to answer. Some of your most quiet kids might have some of the deepest insights.
  • Provide positive feedback based on member responses. When you tell a student he is wrong, you will quickly have a silent room when you try discussions in the future. Affirm everyone for giving an answer, then artfully ask questions and pose alternative to guide students to the correct answers.
  • Follow some questions with another question. The purpose is to generate discussion, not to test a student’s knowledge. Students need to be engaged in conversation.
  • After asking questions, wait for a response. If no response comes quickly, ask the question again and tell learners you will wait for them to think about their answers. People need time to think. Silence may seem uncomfortable but don’t rush too quickly to end the silence.
  • Challenge people to answer their own questions sometimes. Occasionally a question can best be answered by the questioner because that person really does know the answer. They just need a little help to think through it and sift it out from their thoughts.
  • Affirm all responses. Even incorrect answers reflect an effort to learn. When necessary, comment on incorrect ideas or answers, but be careful not to discourage people from answering questions in the future.
  • Admit you don’t have all the answers. When necessary, promise to provide answers to questions you cannot answer in the session. Follow up individually or with the entire class to make sure correct answers are given.

 


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