Asking open questions encourages your child to really think about theirlearning and further develop their understanding. Open questions (sometimes referred to as high order questions) support your child in developing the ability to explain their reasoning, to give examples to support their answer and to think of other possibilities and solutions.
There are six basic questions that you can be used to encourage your child to recall, re-tell or research a subject accurately and in detail. These are:
Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?
What, how and why questions can also be applied to your child’s learning across the curriculum. The examples below focus on a child’s learning generally but they can also be adapted to a specific subject or learning activity. For example, you could ask what strategy your child used to solve a maths questions; or ask what are the differences and similarities between two books.
What strategy did you use?
What if... ?
What are the differences and similarities?
What are the features of ...?
What do you think about ...?
How can you check your answer?
How do you know?
How would you solve this?
How would you categorise ...?
Why do you think the answer is right?
Why do you think that happened?
Why is it important?
Why did you decide to...?
Why do you agree or disagree?
Other questions that are important to encourage your child to answer are;
Can you explain what you have done so far?
Can you give an example?
Being able to explain their thinking and support their answers with examples develops a child’s ability to make inferences and connections which are important skills across the curriculum.
As well as asking high order questions, encourage your child to explain their learning by drawing pictures, writing posters, building models, generating graphs and charts, creating songs and rhymes or acting out the key points. For example:
Can you draw a picture to prove it?
This type of question gives children the opportunity to analyse, evaluate and apply their learning kinaesthetically and creatively and can really help them to a good understanding of their learning.