Thursday, June 26, 2008

AITC's Teaching Tip of the Week

Melissa here -- I'm the TRC's Associate In Teaching Consultant for Summer Sessions 2008. I will be posting a teaching tip for AIs throughout Summer Sessions I and II on a (hopefully) weekly basis.

This week's tip:
To generate student discussion, ask open-ended (how, why, to what extent, in what way) questions rather than closed (who, what, when, where) questions. Most open-ended questions can be answered in several ways, inviting a variety of responses. In contrast, there frequently is only one way to answer a closed question; moreover, it's easy to respond to this type of question with a one-word answer (resulting in sudden discussion death).

Here are some examples:

Open-ended question: To what extent did Shaker cooking influence American cuisine?

Closed question: When did the Shaker lemon pie become popular?

Hungry for more teaching tips? See you here next week!

1 comment:

Mikaela said...

Great tip! I have just one thing to add - sometimes I start with a closed question or two with a clear answer. This can warm people up so that the silence is broken. Then I start introducing questions requiring more and more talking. Any other ideas from people about how to ask good questions?