‘Finding out about others: the skill of questioning’, in Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge.

Reading review:

The main aim of the chapter was to emphasise and highlight the importance of questioning and how it may be used, in different situations, in an effective manner. The chapter provides many tips and examples of the ways teachers should ask questions to improve teaching and learning in the classroom. It also indicates what methods of questioning are frowned upon due to their limited or invasive nature.


There were many key themes within the chapter:

1.The purpose of questions

  • In a school setting, teachers usually ask questions to children to check that they have an understanding of what they have been taught.
  • There are many possible goals one may have when asking a question. Some of these include; to communicate in discussions, to obtain information or to initiate interaction and so on.

2.Types of questions

  • The chapter outlined two main types of questions, open and closed.
  • Teachers are encouraged to use more open questions in the classroom
  • Closed questions can be used in areas like maths due to the limited possibility of many answers

3.Effects of leading questions on children

  • It is agreed upon by many authors, including Pipe et al. 2007, that “leading questions have a distorting effect upon children’s answers…”
  • It was made clear throughout the paragraph that asking an open question can provide you with much more information

4.Related aspects of questioning

  • Structuring
  • Pausing
  • Distribution
  • Responses


Smith et al. 2006 claim that teachers mostly use closed questions because time is limited and information needs to be gathered. This is backed up by the findings of Siraj Blatchford and Manni (2008:7), who found that “94.5% of all questions asked by early childhood staff were closed questions.”

One part of the reading I disagreed with was the way in which a female social worker conversed with a four-year-old child. (Box 5.3 of the reading).

Den Building – Reflections

Group and Leadership:

There were no group leaders assigned to groups for this particular project. Nobody seemed to take a leadership role themselves, and all group members added their own ideas for the task. This was effective because it ensured that everybody had opportunities to communicate ideas.
Once the foundations were laid down for the task, everybody split up to look for appropriate branches. Everybody had a part to play in building up the three walls for the den, therefore, nobody was excluded from the project. The challenge I personally faced was not being able to reach some branches due to how high they were. Luckily, I was able to stand on a broken branch which allowed me to reach what I needed.


Because we were outside, we had to ensure that everybody was around and listening when discussing and sharing ideas on how to complete the task. It was different from communication within the classroom because space was more open. This provided an opportunity to walk around and show the different elements to the den, as well as allowing us to demonstrate to the other groups how the results were achieved.


The area in which my group and I were working was quite quiet. We were at quite a distance from the other groups because we were working in the trees, using them as a base for our den. In addition to this, we weren’t able to hear the wind or rain much as the noises were mainly blocked by the trees. As a result, environmental noises did not seem to pose much of a problem for my team (in my opinion).


  • We were unsuccessful in trying to negotiate with other groups to gain materials. This was because the teams had already used their equipment and planned to use the equipment that they had remaining.