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Robert Jackson

The purposes of a teacher's questioning are apparent:

When the teacher's purpose is to find out if the student has learned what has been taught (#1 above), and the teacher is leading the whole class, the purposes of questioning become more complicated. Some of the students, whose hands wave wildly, know all the answers, while others, no hands waving, know none of them. Teachers naturally tend to let knowledgeable students answer, hoping that the know-nothings will pick up some knowledge. Is there a better way?

The answer: frequent quizzes and tests, both teacher administered and student self administered. The teacher finds out what each student knows and doesn't know, and each student finds out what he or she knows and doesn't know. This information is a spur to teacher creativity - how can the student be taught this? - and to student creativity - how can I learn this?

There is an approach to learning - Students Questioning Students (SQS) - that adds another dimension to questioning in classrooms. SQS is appropriate at any grade level, and it can be used to solve common classroom problems (interpersonal problems, management problems) or academic problems (how can we solve Problem A in geometry). For further information, see this Web site:

Students Questioning Students video

Click on the links below to see other principles of teaching:

Two Kinds of School Assignments

Mastery: Is It Practical?

School Work: Do Students See It As Purposeful?

Whole-Class Instruction: Is It Out Of Date?

Assigned School Work: Part of a Continuum?

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