Teaching Tip: Questioning Learners to Further Understanding

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The PLC (Professional Learning Community) will be providing the teaching tip of the week throughout the academic year in support of their goal of interdisciplinary collegiality.

Educators who ask the right, yet “dirty” question of learners will empower learners to freely seek clarification and reflectively revisit content. After any sharing of information the classic classroom assessment technique [CAT], Muddiest Point question, as described by Angelo and Cross [1993] will embolden the learner to seek clarification. Additionally, the educator receives feedback on learners’ knowledge, recall and understanding. This classroom assessment technique offers formative feedback, and the possibility of revisiting unclear and muddy areas, thus enhancing learning.

Simply ask, what is the muddiest point in _____________________? The learner will give feedback on areas that lack clarity. The beauty of this question is that it takes the onus of lack of understanding off the learner and objectifies the muddiness of delivery or content. By responding to the learner’s muddiest point[s], the teacher offers clarification.

Even though the Angelo and Cross classic was published in 1993, the effectiveness of this classroom assessment technique [CAT] is reliable, simple to use, and effectively assesses individual’s understanding of content. The specific reference is Angelo, T. A. and Cross, K. P. [1993]. Classroom Assessment Techniques, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey –Bass Publications.

~Maxine A. Adegbola, adegbola@uta.edu , Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

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