Here’s what I do.


I actually introduce questioning techniques at Level One because I think it’s really important.  For Level One, I do a short lesson on questioning techniques, the difference between a leading question and a probing question, why these are better than yes/no questions, etc.  I include redirection and wait time in this discussion.  I give them a “50/50 Rule” guideline that they should not be talking more than half the time, and when they are talking, it should mostly be in the form of questioning techniques.  After that, we do an activity called Questions Only.  I show them a YouTube video of the game Questions Only from the television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” where the participants have to act out a scene speaking only in the form of a question.  Then I have the tutors play Questions Only.  The purpose is to give them practice forcing themselves to come up with a question when it would have been easier to make a statement.


For Level Two, I review the lesson from Level One, and then I have them do a more advanced activity called The Q-Perbowl.  Pairs of tutors take turn up at the whiteboard to role-play a tutoring session using good questioning techniques.  They are on defense.  They’re up there for about seven minutes, depending on how much time we have.  Everybody else is on office, trying to score points by catching the role-playing tutor make a statement when it would have been more effective to ask a question.  For example, if the tutor says, “The next step is…,” another tutor might raise their hand and suggest that they say, “What do you think is the next step?”  If the role-players make it through the whole seven minutes without anybody scoring points on them, they get 5 points for their team (they’re in teams all day, and there are prizes at the end of the day for the members of the winning team).  When hands go up, it inevitably leads to a surprisingly robust discussion of what makes for good questioning.  When a team makes it through the whole seven minutes without a single hand going up, it’s still good, because that  means everybody else in the room got to see a really well-executed role-play with solid questioning techniques, and we can use that as the basis for discussion.  If hands do go up, sometimes the discussion gets pretty contentious about whether a proposed question is really a legit improvement, etc., so in keeping with the football metaphor, we sometimes impose penalties for unnecessary roughness and delay of game.  It’s pretty fun, and the tutors learn a lot. 


Happy Holidays!



From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Petersen, Alicia Fay
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 1:18 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Level 2 Probing Questions


Hello List-Serve:


I was hoping to get some ideas or suggestions. I am working on applying for the level 2 tutor certification and I am working on mapping out probing questions lesson plan. I am looking to see what others do for activities etc. for this lesson with your level 2 tutors.


If you want please feel free to email me directly at [log in to unmask]



Thank you,





Alicia Petersen, M. Ed

Academic and Career Advisor & Tutor Coordinator

Academic Success and Career Center

Washington State University • Lighty Student Services 180

PO Box 641061 • Pullman WA • 99164-1061

[log in to unmask]• 509-335-4734 • 509-335-6000


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