Handling Overzealous Student Questions – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education

In the next class session, I tried a different approach: The first words out of my mouth were “How many of you have questions?” Almost every hand went up. “Okay, take out a piece of paper and write them all down.” After about five minutes, I started class and explained everything that I had to explain that day. If a student raised a hand, I asked them to add their question to the piece of paper in front of them. When I was finished talking, I asked how many of them still had questions. Only two hands went up, and I was able to answer their questions quickly. Every other question had been answered through my planned introductory remarks.
I’ll be sure to do this again when faced with a similar situation. It’s important for students to have their questions answered, but it’s also important to focus their attention on the very sources of information that will answer those questions. —Handling Overzealous Student Questions – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

2 thoughts on “Handling Overzealous Student Questions – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education

  1. The author of that article did seem to be referring to the nuts-and-bolts details of an upcoming final project. I call that kind of thing “housekeeping,” and it can be frustrating when I’m trying to lead a discussion on symbolism or literary techniques, and someone asks a question about how I want an assignment formatted. Asking to students to write down what they hope to get out of a class period is certainly a promising way to get them engaged. I often start a discussion class with a freewrite, sometimes giving a specific prompt and sometimes keeping things completely open.

  2. NICE! I have a similar trick: forego the handraising and just ask everyone to write down what they hope to learn from today’s session (they will know the ‘topic’ in advance from homework/syllabus). Then go into the lecture and discussion. This keeps them primed to pay attention to see if “what they hope” will be addressed. Ten or fifteen minutes before the end of class: so what didn’t we get to talk about that you wanted to discuss? Then the hands go up and teacher facilitates discussion of these. The teacher need not be the one with all the answers for this part.

    Mike A.

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