242.  Do you ask questions in the same way if you are teaching only one student at a time?


I am going to assume that, implicit in your question, is the knowledge that there are four basic types of questions that effective teacher ask students to get the best or correct response to a question so that students are successful in answering questions, providing evidence of learning and, in fact, learning about the topic of the question.  These four types of questions are, for example:

  1. You would say that a fox is a vertebrate animal, right? (Teacher nods in agreement as s(he) poses question)

  2. Which is a vertebrate animal? Would you say the cricket, the ladybug or the fox?
  3. Which of these animals is a vertebrate animal: the fly, the fox, or the preying mantis?
  4. Is the fox a vertebrate animal? 

 NOTE:   Remember that in real teaching/learning situations, the teacher usually asks Question #4 FIRST.  

Is the fox a vertebrate animal?

Then, if the students cannot respond, the teacher asks Questions #1, #2, and #3, in that order, of other students.   Now, the teacher should ask Questions #4 once again of THE STUDENT who did NOT answer this question the first time it was asked.

When teachers are working with a group and they ask individual questions of specific students, it is important to obtain evidence of learning from ALL students in the group.   I usually follow each question with another question for the entire class to answer:

             Those who agree, would you raise your hand?

            If you think (student’s name) gave the correct answer, would you raise your hand?

If a teacher is working with a single student, the teacher should use the four types of questions illustrated above.   There is no need to follow up each question with another question to get evidence of learning from ALL students in the class.  For example, (asking ALL students in the class, after Question #1, #2, and/or #3) “Would you agree that the fox is a vertebrate animal?

Raise your hand if you agree.”  

However, the teacher could use additional questions with the single student to verify understanding.   For example, after asking one or all of the four questions above to only ONE student, the teacher could then say:

             True or False:  Tell me if these statements are true or false.

  1. The fly is a vertebrate animal.

  2. The fox is NOT a vertebrate animal.

  3. The ladybug is NOT a vertebrate animal.

  4. The fox is a vertebrate animal.

 These fast statements verify the understanding that the student has gained, confirming that learning has taken place.



For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
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Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


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