How to ask a good discussion question?
… well this question itself might be a good question since there is no simple answer to it but let’s do not get ahead of ourselves.
During the last part of the ecology class we will be discussing different readings. One of your homework assignments will be to do each of the assigned readings and come up with discussion questions that are based on your readings.
For this part of the class to be beneficial, it is very important to ask good, well-thought through questions to foster an intellectually engaging in-class discussion with the ultimate goal to help you gain a better understanding of ecological concepts.
However, what constitutes a good question? Well, here is a general guide that might help you frame good discussion questions:
1) Try to ask open-ended questions rather than a simple yes-or-no question (e.g., questions for which more than one correct answer exist). To help you posing a more open-ended question try to use words such as “Why?” and” How?” rather than “What?”.
2) Ask questions that if answered or discussed in class might help you to understand certain ecological concepts better.
3) Try to avoid opinion questions. Rather, try to ask questions that will require some research and some understanding of basic ecological concepts to answer them.
4) Ask questions that stimulated intellectual engagement. For example, questions that probe reason, evidence, and causes.