Use higher-order questions to help students build explanations.

Across subject areas, when teachers ask higher-order questions and provide opportunities for students to develop deep explanations, learning is enhanced. Higher-order questions often start with question stems like: why, what caused, how did it occur, what if, how do they compare, or what is the evidence? When teachers ask higher-order questions and encourage explanations, they are helping their students to develop important critical thinking skills.

There are a number of ways teachers can encourage their students to develop explanations. During class discussions, homework assignments, or while reading, teachers can encourage students to explain their thinking out loud or in writing. Units of study that begin with a provocative question, or set of questions, will also encourage students to develop explanations and deepen their understanding of key content.

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In Front of the Class: Students' Whiteboard Explanations

In Front of the Class: Students' Whiteboard Explanations

A physics teacher describes how he organizes whiteboard presentations to give his students an authentic forum for explaining their problem solving and answering higher-order questions. Related...

School Example
Video
05/20/2014
1185 views
Key Concepts in Using Higher-Order Questions

Key Concepts in Using Higher-Order Questions

Listen as Dr. Annemarie Palincsar discusses the importance of asking higher-order questions and how to build opportunities for deep explanations in the classroom.

Expert Interview
Video
05/16/2014
1224 views
Using Higher-Order Questions to Help Students Build Explanations

Using Higher-Order Questions to Help Students Build Explanations

View a multimedia overview to learn how teachers can promote critical thinking skills by posing higher-order questions and encouraging student explanations.

Overview
Video
05/16/2014
2275 views
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