5 Ways to Approach a Classroom Question With Confidence

I’m so excited to welcome our guest writer Andy Earle of Talking to Teens. Here he shares 5 ways to approach a classroom question with confidence! These tips work well for teachers across grade levels!

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Why Do You Need to Approach a Classroom Question with Confidence?

Students in the classroom can often feel the pressure to perform. While they could ask for help if they don’t understand the material, they might shut themselves off from assistance and try to complete the work on their own.

This is even more common in defiant students. However, this can limit progress.

I think it’s in the best interest of the student to asking questions and speak up in class, even when it’s hard.

Teachers across grade levels can teach the strategies I’m sharing in this post to their students.

Here are 5 ways your kids can approach a classroom question with confidence!

Ask-A-Friend” Approach

One of the ways to approach a classroom question with confidence is with the “Ask-a-Friend” approach.

It can be helpful for your students to go to a classmate for the answer when he or she is afraid to ask a question in front of the class. This technique can help students get the information they missed, even outside of the classroom.

This method also decreases the pressure a student feels if they aren’t confident asking a teacher when they’re surrounded by peers. If a student fears asking the same question twice, this method can be employed with minimal disruption to the class.

Teach your students to ask a neighbor in class is to use a quiet voice in order to curtail a class distraction. This can be modeled when you teach your classroom procedures.

Click HERE or click the image for more details.

Alternatively, a student can also wait until after class if they don’t want to take their attention away from the lesson, or if their neighbors aren’t particularly helpful.

Asking a peer fosters increased communication, relationships and learning between students and their classmates.

The Quick Question” Approach

Teachers, another of the ways to approach a classroom question with confidence is with “The Quick-Question” Approach.

The moment the student feels he or she is behind, offer encouragement to ask a question quickly.

Demonstrate to your students these types of efficient questions to ask:

  • Who…
  • What…
  • When…
  • Where…
  • Why…
  • And how…

These questions gets to the point without the student feeling the need to explain why they’re missing something.

This type of question can simplify and reduce the process of a student formulating a question. Plus, it takes the spotlight off the student and directs it with laser focus at the question at hand.

Additionally, teach your students to write down the question first so it is narrow and clear. This approach also allows the student to continue listening without fixating on their query.

Providing-An-Example” Approach

Asking for an example helps a student gain a second chance to learn a concept they might not understand in class.

This type of question is perfect when a student does not understand the application of a method presented by their teacher.

Using more examples gives the teacher an opportunity to present the material in different, understandable form that might connect with some students who didn’t grasp it the first time.

For example, a student can ask a question, “I don’t think I see how this concept works. Can you give me an example to help me visualize it?” or, “Is there another way to explain this topic?”

Both forms of the example-questions can generate a unique response from the teacher, and can help the student thoroughly understand and retain a concept.

The Comparison” (a.k.a. the Reverse-Example) Approach

In addition to “The Example-Question”, another way to approach a classroom question with confidence is with “The Comparison” (a.k.a The Reverse-Example) Approach.

The Comparison is similar to the Example; essentially, the comparison has a student bring up their own example to test if they correctly understand the concept.

If a student’s comparison or example is incorrect, then the teacher has room to analyze the misstep and correct the student’s comparison. This leads to a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.

The great thing about testing knowledge in class is that it builds a dialogue between students and teachers. And, it asks students to think outside the box and make better decisions, helping them overcome the framing bias.

While this type of question can help nervous students, it is often only used by students who are already comfortable asking questions to their teacher.

Therefore, this form of question may not be the first line of attack for a student who is apprehensive or timid when it comes to speaking in class.

You might incorporate this method after a student has already practiced speaking up in a classroom discussion.

“After-Class Ask” Question Approach

The final way to teach your students to approach a classroom question with confidence is with the “After-Class Ask.”

A student asking their question outside of class is perhaps the best strategy to help a child overcome shyness in the classroom.

This strategy gives a student the opportunity to explain their misunderstanding in an open environment away from the normal classroom setting.

The benefit of this strategy is that students can ask questions that need more time to be answered. The downside is that other students who might have the same question do not get to hear the teacher’s response.

Click HERE or click the image for more details.

In this case, it might be beneficial to restate the talking points from this private conversation in the next day’s lecture just in case it could help other students.

This method is ideal for solving long-term issues with understanding material presented in class.

More Resources for Classroom Management & Teaching Tips

Students should always feel comfortable asking for assistance in the classroom, but you can help them by establishing a healthy learning environment that makes your students feel welcomed.

Here are more resources to help you achieve that goal:

Author Bio: Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.

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