How Do Your Questions Grow?

As you teach the Sabbath School lessons, use questions wisely to:

  • Stimulate a discussion of the Bible study.
  • Introduce new related subjects and resources, e.g., maps, recordings.
  • Review a previous subject.
  • Follow up case studies.
  • Reflect on personal experiences.
  • Apply a biblical passage to a current event.
  • Probe further into a subject.
  • Debrief a simulation game or other activity.
  • Stimulate additional research at the end of the class.
  • Interview a guest resource or another class member.
  • Interview historical figures after role-plays.

Facilitators create an environment of openness to class members’ questions in at least three areas:

  • Questions to yourself or a guest resource.
  • Questions to a specific class member or guest by a student.
  • Questions to the entire class by a student.

Questions can be the most important resource for guiding student thinking and learning -- or one of the most, as opinions vary on most topics. But were all responses about the value of questions tallied, questions would clearly be among the most used means for involving class members in the process of their own learning.

Here is one useful model for asking questions, called the “PAI” approach:

Personal
These questions relate to a person’s life experience. Because these questions first engage class members in the process of thinking and reflecting on issues with which they can personally identify, they are effective in drawing them into talking about and acting on the those issues.

Examples:

  1. What were your most recent experiences during which your first thought was to pray?
  2. If you had been Job, what would you have said when . . . ?

Analytical
Because analytical questions require discussion participants to analyze -- think -- these questions have the potential for many “right” answers. So you can see the advantage of this type of question that sug­gests that the teacher -- or another class member -- really wants to know what you think and, therefore, will accept your answer.

Examples:

  1. What do you think the psalmist means in Psalm 90:7?
  2. What are some reasons Hannah would willingly sacrifice the very thing she wanted most?

Information
Information questions require students to remember something from the Bible, from the study guides or other resources, or from other modes of information about the lesson. The downside of asking a lot of information questions has two slopes:

  1. It is almost impossible to have a discussion.
  2. Class members feel as if they are being tested.

© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists