Using questions in the classroom – Jayshree Iyer sharing about the 2 days workshop at the Little Angels’ High School

“To question well is to teach well.  In the skilful use of the question, more than anything else, lies the fine art of teaching” – Charles Degarmo (1911).

Questions stimulate thinking and discussions in the classroom. Asking questions is a way of engaging with students to keep their attention and enable participation. With this as the objective, the management at LAHS felt the need for a workshop on training their secondary teachers on how to formulate and ask effective questions in the classroom.

The 2 day experiential workshop on ‘The Art of Questioning ‘ was hands-on , minds-on and stimulating thus providing ample opportunities for the 20+ participants to come up with scores of questions to inquire into and discover solutions. Both the days started with a morning circle and ended with a closure and were planned in such a way so as to ensure engagement of all types of learners. There was a variety of activities like reading texts, watching videos, small group and whole group discussions, creating and presenting visuals to demonstrate learning , individual reflections along with intermittent energisers to provide fun and breaks. Participants gained insights from sessions like Different types of thinking, Using Bloom’s Taxonomy verbs and question stems to formulate questions, Danielson’s rubric on Questioning and Discussion techniques and they followed it up by applying their learning  by framing and incorporating questions  in their upcoming lesson plans.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning , Curiosity has its own reason for existing. “ – Albert Einstein

As teachers, we need to build curiosity in our students and for this we need to provide opportunities for them to ask questions. When students ask questions, they relate to what they are learning. The final session in the workshop was on Question Formulation Technique which is a process designed to develop questioning skills in students. An important aspect of the workshop worth mentioning is that some of the best practices of Teaching and Learning like self -assessment, self-reflections, visible thinking routines etc. were integrated in the sessions which also served as takeaways for participants to use in their classrooms with their students. Both the days were power-packed with energy and enthusiasm and almost all participants agreed when one teacher said, “ Now, I realise that asking questions randomly in the class serves no purpose, instead we need to plan the questions in advance; I have been intentional in including questions to address all types of thinking in my lesson plan”.

As a facilitator, what helped me was the data related to the teacher resources and lesson plans that  I got from the pre-work survey as this helped me pitch the workshop at the right pace and the right level for the teachers. Also, when participants get tangible learning and takeaways from the workshop that they can immediately implement in their classrooms, it motivates them and leaves them excited to want to try something new with their students.

 Jayshree Iyer  Adhyayan Assessor and Indepedent Consultant

Empowering the teachers at CHI Ekalavya School! READ NOW


The leadership at Eklavya School, Hyderabad identified a need for professional development for their teachers in the area of creating safe, secure and considerate classrooms, displays for learning and using collaborative learning strategies in the class.


The 5 days of intensive training session with a duration of a total of 10 hours with additional 7 hours of asynchronous work demanded a lot from the teachers. Before the sessions began teachers had made a list of areas they would want to explore. One of the critical one being class management. The workshop commenced with teachers experiencing the process of setting collaborative norms for working together, implementing simple strategies for building a safe, open learning environment in the classroom. This was then taken by the teachers to their classrooms where they created norms along with their students, ensuring ownership lies with the students.

When you begin working in a democratic setup the role of a teacher changes to that of a facilitator. Together we worked on understanding the role and responsibility of a facilitator which took us to the next level of learning. These discussions further lead the teachers to begin planning strategies for effective pair and group work.  While the teachers were soaking in all this, they worked on implementing all this in the forth coming lesson plans. Some teachers reworked their classes to implement their learnings from the workshop 

The final session was modelled around the importance of questioning, understanding how to formulate questions to ensure learning is maximised.  All this led to answering the burning question – class management. There was the eureka moment, one of the teachers shared her experience from her class, saying, “all my students were engaged” I did not have to discipline them. Well, the battle is won. 

The hard work and dedication of the teachers and the desire to ensure change was evident from the fact that the teachers were enthusiastic to apply their learning, embracing change. 

One step at a time is all it takes to get you there – Emily Dickinson 

Deepa Shetty on leading a school review at the Platinum Jubilee school, Gadchiroli, as an Adhyayan Assessor

I’m Deepa Shetty, Principal of Bright Riders School Dubai. This is my 25th year in the field of education. The journey, though seemingly lengthy, has been full of learning and joyful moments and memories. Looking back, I realize that I have been lucky to have experienced all facets of school from a teacher across levels, to a curriculum developer, moving on to being a Vice Principal and then finally a Principal. In all these years, there have been moments when I felt it would have been a good idea to take a step back and reflect on my practices and tasks. The need for an objective diagnosis was never completely fulfilled till I came across the Adhyayan School Review program. 

Having gone through the Adhyayan School Review for one of the schools I headed and being a part of reviews for other schools as Associate and Lead Assessor, I have gone through their entire school review process closely. One of the key learnings has been the impact of the Adhyayan school review on the school improvement action plan and the clarity it gives all stakeholders of the school regarding where the school is ‘now’ and to plan for where it needs to ‘go’.
As a part of the Adhyayan Assessors team, I personally have grown as an educator simply because I started envisaging school as a holistic environment with a 360-degree approach. It is an excellent platform to learn and share best practices across schools and grow together. School leaders and teachers should join the Adhyayan assessor team to gain perspective on the different challenges faced by other schools and their effortless attempts to overcome the constraints to provide a better environment for their students and teachers. School management should take a step back to reflect on their long-term vision for the school by conducting Adhyayan whole school reviews. All in all the takeaways from the entire Adhyayan community far outweigh any other considerations 




MATUNGA-MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 10, 2012 :  The times they are a-changing…so goes an old song.  Technology has evolved – and is evolving – and so is education.  A reluctant step forward, you are not in sync; a false step, you lose the race; and, a missed step, you have lost it altogether.  The growing demands for excellence, accountability and consistency necessitated an audit from an external agency in the four Salesian schools of Mumbai:  Don Bosco, Matunga, St. Joseph’s, Wadala, Dominic Savio, Andheri and Don Bosco, Borivili.

A chance meeting with the team leading Adhyayan Quality Education Services set in motion a process for a qualitative review of the four schools. The Adhyayan School Self-Review and Evaluation (SSRE) diagnostic has been developed around internationally recognized standards of schooling and is rooted in years of experience of conducting school audits globally. The diagnostic assesses schools on 6 Key Performance Areas (KPAs):


  1. Leadership and Management 
  2. Teaching and Learning
  3. The Child
  4. The Curriculum
  5. The Community and Partnerships
  6. Infrastructure and Resources



The Adhyayan School Self-Review and Evaluation (SSRE) is an important component of the Qualitative assessment. It is a structured practical reflection by the school community, based on the Adhyayan Quality Standard (AQS).  It is the belief that there is an equal importance and value of the school self-review sitting alongside external verification and inspection. ‘Know thyself’ is the key to any school’s journey to achieving high quality, internationally accredited education standards.  Hence the Adhyayan SSRE model deliberately has two complementary elements: school self-review and external evaluation.

The AQS has 4 tiers for evaluation: International, National (the 4 Salesian schools opted for this), State and Local.  In all cases, the schools are evaluated with the same rigor as the international standard and use the same criteria.

To begin with, a time-table of the description of activity to undertake the SSRE for the 4 schools was sent to the respective Principals. The time period: Oct 29 to Nov. 9, 2012. This activity included:

  • The Orientation session for the School’s SSRE team (10-12 leaders identified from the Management, staff –teaching and non teaching, parents, students, alumni) led by Adhyayan Lead Assessors. They introduced the SSRE Model and Diagnostic to the leaders.
  • The schools SSRE team undertakes its own review (with no intervention by the Adhyayan).
  • External Evaluation by Adhyayan Lead Assessors.
  • Award (Platinum, Gold, Silver or Star) followed by Quality Dialogue and Action Plan for School Improvement with the school SSRE team.
  • Joint Conference (Adhyayan Lead Assessors and the 4 Principals) to have a shared understanding of their success stories and challenges.

The activity generated enthusiasm and a tremendous interest in the entire process of evaluation. Parents and students worked alongside the management and the staff for long hours of the day that always stretched beyond the schedule time, while the Adhyayan Lead Assessors led by the strapping and erudite Irishman, Mr. Spokey Wheeler, and curricula management guru, Ms. Kavita Anand provided the impetus for the animated discussions at the training sessions and meetings.  The self-review was an exercise in introspection and honest dialogues, class observations and interactions, Learning Walks and Book Looks.

The quality dialogues that followed the evaluation by the Adhyayan Lead Assessors, were engaging – at times negotiations bordering on parleys (after all the leaders representing the school were passionate about their institution)-perky and riveting. It was time for action plans and targets, and the enthusiastic school band seemed equal to the task.

The joint conference of the Adhyayan lead assessors and the Principals was a forum to exchange the success stories, evaluate procedures, strategize and carry the action plan forward. The Adhyayan team has indeed left behind in their wake a string of success stories to celebrate, yet many other areas that need an honest reflection for change and excellence.     

“I would encourage educators to take this golden opportunity and renew and reinvent your instructional practices through these workshops.” – Anu Pazhayannur

The face and view of education is constantly changing due to research and development and hence encourages educators and students to embrace new techniques and innovation to discover better approachesto solving problems. This leads to using varied instructional practices and it prompts students to use creative and cognitive thinking to analyse solutions to complex problems. Children must engage, grow and innovate not just with their curriculum but also with each other and the world around them. The classroom culture must cater to invite creative thinking, questions and also failure in order to grow and learn. Teachers must
adapt different strategies and should be flexible to create a positive classroom culture to create opportunities for students to connect with the content, their peers, the environment and themselves.

Workshops are a great way to engage with fellow educators, share instructional practices and learn from experienced members in the field. The 10 different topics that Adyayan had curated were topics that I have been reading about but was eager to implement in the classroom. The workshops were more practical, hands on and gave a lot of understanding on how to go about implementing strategies in the real classroom. The engagement and exercises during the workshop pushed us to participate actively throughout the 90 minutes. Something I really appreciate about Adhyayan is their commitment to time and content!!

The outcome for me personally from these workshops were to focus on practical application in the classroom and to be able to share the knowledge with my colleagues at school. I have had a very diverse classroom this year in LKG which includes children with special needs, children who have not attended any formal school due to the pandemic, and a couple of children who were performing above basic standards.
This prompted me to implement a number of techniques of differentiated instruction in the classroom to engage the students and manage the diverse set of students. I am currently pursuing my Master’s in Education and these workshops were a great sounding board for me as they included many topics that I am currently studying. I have also taken a few topics from the workshops attended and some material from my current educational degree to create some PD presentations for my peers and colleagues at school that focuses on creating “Equitable Classrooms”. In my point of view ‘Knowledge’ is to be shared and the more we share we learn and grow as individuals.

The panorama of education is changing and evolving constantly. It is a necessity and
moral responsibility for educators to revisit and rethink approaches to teaching and learning. We are living in an era where the needs of learners are constantly varying. As, learning is an
ongoing process, teaching methods and practices need reinvention and innovation over time.
When we collectively conceive a clear idea of our objective, the experience leads to flexible
paths that adapt creative approaches to instruction.

This prompted me to attend the workshops organized by Adhyayan. I would encourage educators to take this golden opportunity and renew and reinvent your instructional practices through these workshops.


Anu Pazhayannur
First Five Nursery School


Thanks Adhyayan and the wonderful team for an enriching learning experience!!