Definition of Theory

Cues and questioning acount for 80% of what occurs in a given classroom on a given day.

  1. Cues and questions should focus on what is important as opposed to what is unusual.
  2. Higher level questions produce deeper learning than lower level questions.
  3. Waiting briefly before accepting responses from students has the effect of increasing the depth of students' answers.
  4. Questions are effective learning tools even when asked before a learning experience.

Advance organizers can be used to introduce new content to which students are to be exposed.  Narrative advance organizers can present new information to students in a story format.  Like questions, advance organizers are also commonly used to help set the stage for instruction. Since David Ausubel (1960) first described advance organizers as a cognitive strategy to help students learn and retain information, teachers have developed a variety of forms for effectively organizing learning. The K-W-L chart, for example, lists what students know, what they want to find out, and what they have learned (Ogle, 1986). Graphic organizers show how new ideas or concepts relate, providing students with a visual framework for acquiring and organizing new information.

  • Learning increases when teachers focus their questions on content that is most important, not what they think will be most interesting to students (Alexander, Kulikowich, & Schulze, 1994; Risner, Nicholson, & Webb, 1994).
  • Higher-level questions that ask students to analyze information result in more learning than simply asking students to recall information. (Redfield & Rousseau, 1981). However, teachers are more apt to ask lower-order questions (Fillippone, 1998; Mueller, 1973).
  • Advance organizers, including graphic ones, help students learn new concepts and vocabulary (Stone, 1983). Presenting information graphically as well as symbolically in an advance organizer reinforces vocabulary learning and supports reading skills. (Brookbank Grover, Kullberg, & Strawser, 1999; Moore & Readence 1984).
  • Students learn more when they are presented information in several modes (Paivio, 1986).
  • By increasing the amount of "wait time" after asking a question, teachers foster increased student discourse and more student-to-student interaction (Fowler, 1975).