Questioning is one of the most important dimensions of teaching and learning. It gives tutors the chance to find out what students know and understand, and it allows students to seek clarification and help.
There are many types of questions. One dichotomy is the closed vs. open question types.
Closed questions require only a yes/no or single answer, factual response, while open questions require students to reflect thoughtfully on the subject.
Another way of understanding question types is in terms of lower vs. higher order questions. Lower order questions are usually "what" questions. They typically test the knowledge students have about definitions or meanings. Higher order questions tend to be "why" and "how" questions which encourage students to think more deeply about a concept or the reasons for an answer. Your tutorials should include both types of questions, with an emphasis on higher order questions which challenge your students and make them think.
Some tutors plan key questions ahead of time. You may do this by jotting down questions or notes before or even during the tutorial. These notes will act as prompts to guide your questioning.
Open-ended Comprehension Questions
Source: Meyer, E., & Smith L.Z. (1987). The practical tutor. New York: Oxford University Press. p.34.
Closed-ended Memory Level Questions
Source: Gattis, K. (2002). A look at productive tutoring techniques user’s guide. 2 nd. Ed. Raleigh: North Carolina State University. P. 42.