In order for students to feel safe asking and answering questions, the first and most important thing a teacher can do is to create an environment that is conducive to asking questions. It is important to create an environment where students feel emotionally safe, and respected in their classroom, once this happens they will be able to grow and learn together. The climate of the classroom needs give students’ the ability to ask questions, answer questions, and share knowledge without the risk of being ridiculed or being made to feel inadequate, unimportant etc. In order to create this type of environment students must be taught that their classmates, and everyone who walks into the room comes with different background experiences, and the potential to perceive things differently then they do. It is important for students to understand and to recognize their classmates are coming in with different experiences and that they must respect those differences. It is important to create an environment that is respectful of students differences, safe for students to express their ideas, and to be open to others points of views. Once students are able to recognize and respect these differences then and only then will they be able to provide and receive constructive feedback. In order to create a safe environment students need to feel they can ask questions, answer questions, and make statements that won’t be ridiculed.
Another aspect to creating a classroom that is conducive to students asking questions is to avoid bias. For example, stereotyping is a form of bias such as in a math and science class the teacher will call on boys more often than girls as stereotypically boys have a more mathematical and scientific mindset. By doing this the teacher makes the girls feel inferior. On the other hand in a language arts class the teacher will ask girls more questions than boys, as stereotypically girls are more of the language art mindset. By doing this they make the boys feel inferior. Another bias is teachers will refrain from asking ELL or struggling students questions because they don’t want to embarrass them or make them feel singled out. However if teachers would utilize questioning strategies that direct students in the right way by using redirecting, probing, and queuing to help students be successful with their answers then those biases can be avoided. By using these techniques you are able to build up the confidence up in the students and this will help create an environment that is conducive to students asking and answering questions. Another example of a bias that teachers need to avoid would be avoiding asking the long-winded students to provide feedback. By avoiding asking this type of students questions you are ultimately going to make this student feel inferior to the rest of the class and that their answers are not even worthy of being called heard. These types of biases must be avoided in order to create a climate that is conducive to students asking questions.
Students can learn from each other’s experiences, as they are able to share those experiences, consider each other’s perspectives, and sometimes push themselves out of their comfort zone for the sake of learning. By allowing students to express their thoughts and ideas, they will learn to build relationships and practice collaboration, they will learn to respect others opinions even if they are different from their own. Students need to be given a chance to problem solve through conversation and collaboration. It's so much better when ideas and solutions come from the student. These are all things that happen in a