A question like “ what color is that block?” evokes a one-word answer. But an open ended question “tell me more about the blocks you are using” encourages a child to describe the blocks or explain what she is doing. There’s no right or wrong answer there.
An answer to an open ended question gives us a window into what the child is thinking and feeling. And that the responses sometimes wonderfully creative. In explaining or describing, children also use language more fully.
In our program, I try to think of good questions to ask children you might hear me say to a child-
– tell me about your picture ?
– Tell me about the story you are reading.
-What could you use to make the tower stand up?
What do you think would happen if…?
-Is there another way to…?
It is difficult to change the closed ended question when it’s a habit. But when we ask open ended questions, children reap benefits as they think through their responses to express what they want to say. And with their answers, we find out more about what they think and feel .