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Seb Anthony

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Questioning Skills


Hi Everyone,

I am preparing a workshop on Questioning Skills, and although I have some activities for pointing out the difference between Open and Closed questions, I am now looking for activities to clarify the different types within the open questions.
(Probing, Leading, Chunking up-down, etc.)

The objective would be to show suitability, pros-cons, when to use it,etc.

Thanks a lot!

Charly Martolk

3 Responses

  1. questioning
    How long do you have for your workshop?

    In my experience, people do need some examples of good/poor practice to bring question types to life.

    You could share some principles around question types then get people working in triads on given topics. One questions, one answers, a third observes and identifies good/ineffective questions.

    Another method is critiquing TV and radio interview recordings – watch out for copyright permissions etc

  2. Give them opportunity to laugh at you!
    Hi Charly

    Debbie’s come up with some useful examples there. A method that I’ve previously used to successfully bring questioning styles to life is the use of a tutor role play (using two tutors, if you have that luxury, or else a willing volunteer from the group to be questioned).

    I tell participants to note down everything that I do wrong, according to what they’ve learned so far (people tend to love critiquing “the expert”). I start the role play by asking questions poorly (eg poor body language, tone of voice, inappropriate type of questions, etc). If you can prime your co-role player to respond in certain ways, even better (although when I’ve used a participant volunteer, they have still given the appropriate non-verbal reaction to how I’ve questioned). Staged well, it can be an engaging and amusing part of the course.

    Stop at an appropriate point and ask participants what you were doing wrong and for how you could have done it better. Then continue/restart the role play, using the improved questioning skills. At the end, ask for their observations on what was different and why – and whether anything else could have been done to improve the role play.


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