Probing Questions Learning Assistance Centers Tutor Training
Review of Questioning Techniques
Paraphrasing Let me see if I got this straight… ClarifyingAre you upset because you disappointed yourself or because you disappointed others? Reflection What I hear you saying is… Interpretation Perhaps the problem is… Indirect and Direct Questioning What areas would you like to address first with your math homework?
Probing Questions When seeking more detail, there are a number of probing question types that can be used depending on what you want to discover.
Spot the Signals There may be more to a student response that meets the immediate eye Things to look for include Vagueness I dont know. – What doesnt the student know? How do they get to the realization of not knowing? Judgment That wouldnt work. – Who decided this? How? Why?
Clarification When to Use Students use vague or unclear language Seeking more detail or further understanding Examples What exactly did you mean by _____? What, specifically, will you do next week? Could you tell me more about _____?
Purpose When To Use Purpose or justification of statement is unclear Digging for underlying causes Examples Why did you say that? What were you thinking about when you said _____?
Relevance When to Use If students seem to be going off-topic Check for their understanding of the statements relevancy Examples Is that relevant to the main question? How is what you are saying related to what I asked? How does this relate back to the main idea?
Completeness & Accuracy When to Use Checking that the student has provided a full and accurate account Checking against other information you have Checking for errors Examples Is that all? Is there anything you have missed out? How do you know that is true? How does that compare with what you said before?
Repetition When to Use Effective way of getting more detail Ask the same question or rephrase the initial question Repeat what student said, emphasizing where you want more detail Examples Initial Question: Where did you go? Rephrase Question: What places did you visit? Repeat student response with emphasis: He asked you to marry him?
Examples When To Use Students respond vaguely Good to use during interviews Testing both truthfulness and the depth behind what they are claiming Examples Sorry, I dont understand. Could you help by giving an example? Could you hive me an example of when you did _____? Tell me about a time when you _____?
Extension When To Use Needing more information about a topic or statement Example Could you tell me more about that please? And what happened after that? Then…?
Evaluation When To Use Discovering both how judgmental a students are and how they evaluate Examples How good would you say it is? How do you know it is worthless? What are the pros and cons of this situation?
Emotional When To Use Finding out how a person feels about a particular topic Students are speaking in the third person or otherwise unemotionally Examples And how did you feel about that?
Silence A non-verbal inquiry can also be used Indicates your interest in particular point Example: Raising your eyebrows and tilting your head
Make it Easy Using these questions should make it easy for students to answer Be nice and be casual Slip the questions in without students noticing Be aware though, of leading the witness
References Probing Questions. ( ). Retrieved July 26, 2013, from Changing Minds: s/questioning/probing_questions.htmhttp://www.changingminds.org/technique