What are Your Questions?

What are Your Questions preview image with question marks and speech bubble around title

My brothers and Sisters in Chemistry Education:

We are teachers. We teach, we instruct, we mentor, we coach, we cajole. And we ask questions. Our most frequently asked question: “Any questions?” In my experience, this is, more often than not, met with the sound of pins-dropping.

No student wants to appear as if he or she doesn’t understand; no one wants to
interrupt the lesson with a question that he or she feels could be interpreted by peers as
irrelevant or “stupid”.1

When students hold back questions, everyone’s understanding suffers. We suffer, too,
because we don’t get important feedback.

Here is an excellent alternative: “What Are Your Questions—or Comments?”

When I changed to this question-prompt after each presentation slide or explanation, student-
engagement went through the roof. All kinds of questions were asked, anything from the
“just making sure” variety to potential Nobel-prize winning insights.

In a World of Bogus Guarantees, this One’s the Real Deal.

I challenge you to try it . . .


  1. We’re working with teenagers, don’t forget.