In this #PLtogether Lounge Talk with instructional coaching expert Jim Knight, Jim said, “A good question highlights a teacher’s brilliance.” 

This discussion highlights which questions to start – and stop – asking teachers in coaching conversations.

You can find a breakdown of all of Jim Knight’s recommended questioning techniques on our blog:

Jim Knight on How To Ask Questions That Highlight Teacher Brilliance

Working on Questioning Techniques? Why You Should Use Open AND Closed Questions

Here’s an excerpt of the conversation, or scroll down for the full captioned video of Jim Knight’s 4 Ways to Collect Student Engagement Data.

Adam Geller- But I am curious, as you’ve kind of reflected on this question of real questions versus leading questions, have you found any examples? I’m hearing myself the answer could be no. So that’s okay. But have you found any examples where in a way like coaches have been taught to be asking accidentally leading questions? Like are there examples of that that, you know that habit is kind of built into the muscle memory of what people think is what they’re supposed to be doing?

Jim Knight- I think, I like that idea of intellectual muscle memory, but I think people feel often they go into coaching without a lot of experience thinking their job is to give the other person advice and tell them what to do. But really I think the job of a coach is to help their collaborating teacher be all they can be for example, or to realize their full potential or help them at least move forward. And so a good question invites the person to think deeper and I think the reason why people would, give advice with a question mark is they think their job is to get the teacher to do what they need to do. But I don’t think that’s the job.

John Campbell says, “A less than perfect goal chosen by the teacher is better than the perfect goal chosen by the coach.” What I wanna do is I wanna set up the opportunity for the teacher to do what they want to do but I will ask questions that help them think deeper. And it’s really helpful to have a second person to talk it through with who, who might help you think. But I’m not trying to get them to do my thing. I want them to get really clear on their thing. I want them to do the thing that is emotionally compelling to them. And some people might say, “Well, what if they pick the wrong thing?” In our experience, they may not pick what I think is important but they’re gonna pick something important. And I’d much rather have a teacher who’s deeply committed to focusing and also learning how to take control rather than coming to me and me telling them what to do. Because pretty quickly what happens is people stop thinking for themselves and they just come to you and say, “Hey what do we think I should do here?” And I want them to solve the problem.

See more from Jim Knight here: Lounge Talks with Jim Knight

Watch the full video of Instructional Coaches, Use These Questioning Techniques with Teachers with Jim Knight below.