Three Types of Questions for Fostering Higher-level Thinking

Human beings seemed to be innately adept at asking questions. Over the past few weeks here are just a few interesting things that I have heard come out of students’ mouths.



-Why we do round up instead of down in math class?


-What are our armpits for?


-Is toothpaste a liquid or a solid?


-If I was bad, but really wanted coal…would Santa give it to me?


This week I was fortunate to be able to visit on the phone with Dr. Maurice Elias and to talk with him about questions and questioning techniques in the classroom. He is a psychology professor at Rutgers University and the director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab.


Maurice lectures nationally and internationally to educators and parents about students’ emotional intelligence, school success, and social-emotional and character development. Dr. Elias has written numerous books on promoting social and emotional learning and on social decision-making and problem solving. He also writes a blog for educators and parents for the George Lucas Educational Foundation at www.edutopia.org.   In this podcast, Dr. Elias gives his thoughts on (1) the increased attention in education to higher-level questioning, (2) questioning tips and techniques for teachers, and (3) pedagogy that fosters higher-level.





Elias, M. J., Weissberg, R. P., & Zins, J. E. (2004). Promoting Social and Emotional Learning: Guidelines for Educators. Alexandria: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.


Friedlander, B. S., Tobias, S. E., Goleman, D., & Elias, M. J. (2013). Emotionally intelligent parenting: How to raise a self-disciplined, responsible, socially skilled child. New York: Harmony Books.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *