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Book and GlassesIn this issue of the Vision Journal we begin the first of a series of practical articles on improving teaching and learning, with a focus on asking better questions.


Over the last few years there has been a renewed interest in the questioning techniques used in classrooms. The key challenge being faced by teachers is how they can use questioning more effectively to stretch their pupils’ thinking. This article provides a range of prompt questions that can help extend thinking in all subject areas.

Timing and application

The prompts can be used at any point during the lesson to develop pupils’ thinking. Although most suitable for use in verbal interactions, the prompts can also be used when pupils are working on written tasks. These questions help pupils develop reasoning, creative thinking and evaluation skills, in particular.



Aim to work in the region that is a little outside pupils’ immediate comfort zone, i.e. not patronising them but equally not overwhelming them. Pupils of lower ability will, of course, need to be introduced to less challenging questions first.


Although the prompts are designed to be used primarily by teachers, they can also be used by pupils working together. A further use could be to make posters of selected prompts for display in the classroom. This can help pupils get out of ‘thinking ruts’ as they work.

‘Asking better questions’ is one of hundreds of strategies to improve teaching and learning featured in The Creative Teaching and Learning Resource Book by Brin Best and Will Thomas (Continuum International Publishing, 2008). CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE.