Framing questions to enhance student learning

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As part of our professional development at BINUS SCHOOL Simprug at the beginning of the academic year, we invited trainers from Australia to visit and share some of their experiences with us. The topics covered were framing questions and cooperative learning. Though we were implementing most of these in our teaching and learning already, fine-tuning and knowing the nuances to maximize active participation from our students, as well as balancing safe classrooms and accountability, were the highlights.

I am sure most of us must be wondering why framing questions is one of the basic skills a teacher should possess. Basically, questioning is a methodology that most teachers use to recapitulate and gauge student understanding. By framing questions, we encourage active participation of all students and maximize the learning that takes place in the classroom.

Most teachers may have experience with avoidance tactics from students when questions are posed to them. This is generally to hide their embarrassment in case the answer is wrong. By giving ‘wait time’, students’ thinking tends to shift from covert to being overt.

Let’s now see the characteristics of an unframed question and a framed question.binus-1Unframed questions do not provide students with the ‘wait time’ and this mostly leads to the same three or four students responding to the teacher’s questions. The fear of failure also affects the confidence of our students. On the other hand, framing questions allows the use of ‘wait time’, providing opportunities to rehearse within the safety of one’s mind, or with partners before sharing publicly, and leads to active participation and a safe classroom.


Studies reveal that when students have time to think and share with partners before sharing to the class, they are more likely to feel secure and experience success.

Active participation by students can be seen when students feel safe and their self-esteem is maintained by demonstrating involvement in the thinking and learning process.  

When teachers apply the skill of framing questions, students feel safe and are more involved in their learning.

By Sujatha Sreenivasan

Grade 4 Level Head and Class Teacher

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, South Jakarta


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