Bad Questions Bad Answers


I’ve been watching several NBA playoff games over the last few weeks, and I am always struck by the sideline interviews that take place before or after the half or near the end of the game.

The network interviewer usually gets to ask the head coach or player a single question and possibly a follow up question. First I find it strange that someone who is so deeply involved in the game is answering questions during game action. I would typically assume that they have more important work to be doing than answering an in game question.

I also find it interesting in listening to the questions that the reporters come up with. You would think that with the opportunity to ask only one question, you would at least come up with a good question. James Harden famously gave the reporter the side eye after he didn’t like the question that was asked of him. The answers always leave a lot to be desired as well. But it really makes a lot of sense. Bad questions lead to bad answers.

I think the same can be said for our classrooms also. When we sometimes don’t get the answers that we want kids to share, it’s probably because we aren’t asking the right questions. We need to come up with good questions to get good answers.

Let’s try improving the questions we ask. Script them before a lesson. Make sure you are ready to ask good questions. It’s much more difficult to think of good questions on the fly. Ask a lot of why questions and follow up questions. Good questions get students to think in order to share a good answer.

When in doubt, remember what we have learned from NBA sideline interviews.

Bad questions lead to bad answers. Don’t make the same mistake.




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