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Answered By: Kristie Keuntjes
Last Updated: Sep 07, 2016     Views: 200

Questioning is an important part of working with a student.  It helps you gather more information, clarify any misunderstandings, build relationships, manage and coach, defuse a frustrated student, and persuade a student to utilize a specific resources.  Here are some common questioning techniques you can use while working with students.


Open Questions

Open questions can help provoke more response from the student and can help veer them away from yes and no responses.  They usually begin with what, why, and how.

  • What assignment are you working on?
  • Why are you working on __________ this week?
  • How far have you gotten in your readings?
  • Tell me why you have come for tutoring today.


Funnel Questions

Funnel questioning begins with general questioning to help you hone in on a specific point.  You can think of detectives questioning a witness when you think of funnel questions.

  • Are you here for help with a specific assignment or content help?
  • What assignment are you working on?
  • As you understand it, what is the assignment asking you to do?
  • What part of the assignment caused you to get "stuck"?
  • Do you have any experience with ________?


Probing Questions

Asking probing questions can help you uncover more detail or help you determine exactly where the student needs assistance.  

  • How could you improve your assignment?
  • What are you hoping to achieve in this session?
  • What kind of evidence did you find?
  • What makes you think __________?
  • How does that compare to _____________?
  • What did other people discover or say about ______________?
  • What will you do next?
  • What will happen if you ____________?
  • What are the most valuable things you learned from this assignment?
  • What tells you you're ready to submit this assignment?


Leading Questions

Leading questions can be used to try and get the student to a new way of thinking.  

  • You should try these resources, don't you think?
  • APA formatting is easy once you have practice, isn't it?
  • Next time you'll be more prepared, won't you?



Mind Tools Editorial Team. (n.d.) Questioning techniques. Retrieved from