Use this kind of question more often

Tuesday’s teaching tip is about helping you to ask a better kind of question of your group members. If you lead a Bible study group for kids, students, or adults, there’s one type of question qandayou’ll want to master. It’s the kind of question that can help a group member clarify his or her thinking while at the same time elicit more critical thinking on their part. I’m talking about the follow-up question.

If you ask your group members to respond to a question you pose, it’s a matter of time (probably a short period of time) until one of them responds with an answer that is not quite on target.

To help the group member who responds to your question with enthusiasm, but offers a misguided response, use a follow-up question like one of these to help them continue to noodle over their answer to you:

  1. “Tell me more about that…”
  2. “I hadn’t thought of it in that way…help me understand your thinking on that.”
  3. “I like that answer. How does it reflect the Bible’s teaching on that subject?”
  4. “Class, you’ve heard Johnny’s response. What do you have to add to his answer?”

By avoiding a direct challenge to the learner’s answer, you won’t shut down discussion. Nor will you become guilty of “leading the witness” and making the person or group feel like you are trying to elicit a particular response.

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