A team from Large Scale Education Programs, the assessment wing of EI, had the opportunity to conduct a workshop on “Importance of good questions and balanced question paper” for the teachers and educational officials in one of the states. The focus of the workshop was to make teachers develop quality questions aimed at tapping the conceptual understanding of the student. Spanning over two days, the workshop began with a session on characteristics of good questions. Examples with student performance data were also highlighted to explain how a question made with better distractors could tap into identifying a prevailing misconception and also how a simple question can aid in identifying a misconception.
This was followed by a question rating exercise wherein the participants had to rate the questions listing down their reasons for the rating. The exercise was fruitful as it helped them internalize the learning of the previous session. Through this teachers were able to develop an eye for good questions. The workshop then continued with giving them an understanding of skills and blue print essential to make a balanced paper.
Armed with all the essential pre-requisites, the participants got charged up to try their hands on question making. A few questions framed by them did reflect conceptual clarity, objectivity and creativity, while a few others needed polishing. By giving them inputs on their own questions, the teachers were able to understand how they could make a simple yet meaningful question. What was interesting to note that teachers could do away with the text bookish format of asking questions to quite an extent.
They say-Asking the right question takes as much skill as giving the right answers. The purpose of a question is to enlighten. If it doesn’t enlighten it is as good as a bad question. Questioning students on inconsequential details hampers the development of the most powerful machine- the brain. It is the right kind of question that forces a student to exercise this machine and foster learning.
We as teachers or parents or even content developers can play a very crucial role in being their “thinking instructors”. Let’s ask them good questions that are a challenging workout for them. The more interesting and thought-provoking the question, the better will be the workout. For this ‘better workout’ we will need to equip ourselves. Workshops like these can aid teachers develop questions aligned to skills and concepts, though this would require continuous long term effort.
We can change our outlook right away,by deciding not to ask them questions to graduate them from one grade to the next instead questions that will graduate them to a higher level of learning. This will not only change the instructional design of the classroom but also bring about a visible change in learning with understanding.:)
By Chitra Iyengar – Educational Specialist
"In order to provide each child with a whole child education, school and community leaders must relentlessly dissolve barriers and build cohesive systems that foster excellence. Only then will we fulfill our pledge to provide every child the opportunity to pursue a successful life."
Connect with other great educators at : firstname.lastname@example.org
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