Using Questions to Teach Children

Questions encourage and help children to pay attention and to think about what is being said. Their answers can give us insight into their thinking.

Questions also model good Bible study habits & skills and can be helpful in your personal study & lesson preparation.

How do you use questions to teach?
Think of a few simple questions (there’s a brief list below). Don’t overlook simple questions with simple answers (sometimes these can lead to deep insights).
The basics are a good place to start:

In the verses you are covering, pause and consider if there is a…
Promise to claim?
Sin to avoid?
Warning to heed or a command to obey?
Good example to follow? Or a bad example to shun?
New/fresh thought about God the Father? God the Son? God the Holy Spirit?
Fresh insight into the person of Satan? Or Satan’s cruel goals and subtle devices?

Speak in the language of your listeners.
Vague questions can be confusing, and kids lack a robust vocabulary, so use words they understand. Kids are also very literal—so use clarity in your questions.

Open-ended & close-ended questions.
Close-ended questions have a yes/no answer or a one-word answer. They can help start conversations & build confidence in kids to continue answering questions.
Open-ended questions require more thought to answer—and usually more than a one-word answer. These questions encourage more thorough answers & get kids talking more.

Some tips for using questions
Actively listen to their answers—show them that you value what they have to say. Let them be heard (don’t interrupt their answers—but don’t let them keep on if they get off topic).

Ask questions in a way that indicates you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. We’re more interested in their engagement with the scripture than in getting the answer right. Your response to wrong answers are important. If a wrong answer is given, protect them from embarrassment by responding with kindness and sensitivity. Right or wrong, appreciate them for their answers.

Make your times of questions like a conversation—give them time to think about the question and time to answer. Pauses (although sometimes uncomfortable) are OK. Kids want to have enough time to feel the freedom to give their input.

Incorporate questions outside of the lesson. Make a habit of talking with the kids & ask them questions about their life. Kids are excited to talk about themselves.

Kids love questions—which is why they ask them all the time! They are curious about their world as they try to make sense of what’s around them. By asking them questions about the Bible passage, we’re helping them explore the scripture for themselves. It’s a great way to get them involved—don’t you think?

(Adapted from Calvary Curriculum)