How Can I Help My Student Learn To Ask Questions?

By: Debra Eckerman Pitton, Ph.D. and Kelly Quinn

[Part of the "Q & A for Parents of Middle School Students" series]

Communicating in the classroom in important for learning. Being comfortable seeking more information or clarifying what you do not know is important. Talk to your student about the art of asking questions. Some students are naturally good at speaking up when they don't understand something. There is nothing wrong with stopping the teacher and asking for further explanation to clarify things. While teachers try to check for student understanding during class, they can mis-read student signals. Students need to voice their questions. Chances are other students are confused about the same thing.

If your child is quiet and not as eager to speak up in class, help them develop their assertiveness by having them do the calls for car pool rides or ask for a particular product at the store. Help them practice using the following suggestions so that asking for help in the classroom becomes a comfortable process for them.

Ideas for asking questions:


Bean, R. (1991). How to help your children succeed in school. New York, NY: Price Stern Sloan Publishing.

Ramsey, R. (2000). 501 ways to boost your child's success in school. Lincolnwood, IL: McGraw-Hill.

Debra Eckerman Pitton, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Middle Level Education at Gustaus Adolphus College in St. Peter , MN and consults with school districts across the country on issues of mentoring and middle school education.

Kelly Quinn is a senior education major at Gustaus Adolphus College and will be graduating in May, 2005 with an elementary and middle school teaching license.

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