Posts Tagged "Open-Ended Questions"

#23 – The Power of Open-Ended Questions (Tips For Large Group Teaching)

Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.

In the last installment in this series, we discussed adding a time of questions and answers at the end of each lesson.  This is a great way to find out what your kids are really wondering and thinking about.   But, questions are a two-way street, and you should also ask questions regularly as part of your large group lesson.  In addition to giving kids a chance to speak during the lesson, which will help to discourage talking when it isn’t appropriate, asking questions allows you to discern whether or not the kids truly understand what you are trying to teach.

There are three types of questions you can incorporate into your lesson.  The first type of question is the factual question.  There is a right answer to these types of questions.  For example, at the kindergarten and first grade level when I mention a book of the Bible, I generally ask whether that book is from the Old or the New Testament.  This helps the kids to understand how to navigate their way around the Bible.  During our December series, I asked where Jesus was born, who his parents were, who appeared to Mary to tell her she was pregnant and various other questions.  These types of factual questions help to break up the monotony of one person speaking the whole time.  They are also helpful in ascertaining the level and retention of knowledge the kids have.

The second type of question is the “closed-ended questions.”  Closed-ended questions can be answered either yes or no.  Frankly, I don’t find much use for these in the context of Children’s Ministry.  It’s not that there is never a time for “yes/no” questions, but I find the other two types of questions much more useful and revealing.  Some people include factual questions in the grouping of closed-ended questions and define the category as questions which require short, oftentimes one word, answers.  However, I prefer to think of questions in terms of these three categories as presented.

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