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How to use questions to facilitate your child’s learning

Parents commonly question children from early on in their development. Questions stimulate language learning and general content learning. This study explores what type of questions during parent-child conversations can be used to guide children’s learning.

 Pedagogical questions support learning

Pedagogical questions are questions for which the questioner already knows the answer. These questions are intended to help the child learn, as he or she may not know the answer. As such, pedagogical questions provide a learning opportunity for children. There are two types of pedagogical questions:

  • Generic teaching questions about general concepts, objects , rules or situations. For example: “What would you say [in this situation]?”
  • Specific teaching questions about a specific object or event. For example: “What ‘s that?”

 Parental use of pedagogical questions

The study found that parents consistently use pedagogical questions during everyday talk to facilitate their children’s learning. The amount of questions was higher in parent’s questions toward their toddlers than their pre-schoolers.

 Tips

  • Use pedagogical questions to teach your child. Pedagogical questions are questions for which the questioner already knows the answer.
  • You can use questions about general or specific concepts, objects and situations.
  • Try to use wh-questions and open ended questions to facilitate your child’s learning.

 More information

Yu, Y., Bonawitz, E., & Shafto, P. (2017). Pedagogical questions in parent–child conversations. Child development.

 

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