Guiding Questions that Move Teacher Performance Forward

Guiding questions prompt reflection and higher level thinking. When instructional coaches and administrators use them to support teachers, they are able to grow at a faster pace.

Guiding Questions that Move Teacher Performance ForwardRead the blog post below to find out what these questions are, why we need to use them, and how it actually moves teacher performance forward.

What are guiding questions?

Guiding questions are a series of questions asked of a learner (in this case teachers) to help them arrive at a solution. They are often used to problem solve, bring clarity to confusion, and empower the learner into a position of innovator. Most often, they provide insight into what, why, and how teachers make the decisions they do in the classroom.

In essence, this questioning technique “guides” the teacher towards resolution. This leads to greater performance in the classroom.

These questions can be stems where the coach or administrator fill in the specifics of that teacher’s obstacle or area of focus. Or these questions can be generated ahead of time based on the school or district goals and expectations for proficiency. Either way, guiding questions are intentional prompts to steer one’s thinking. This allows the learner to have more ownership in the problem solving experience, having an immediate positive impact on their critical thinking capability. This increases the chances that the learner will repeat this questioning technique themselves in the future to trouble shoot obstacles.

Guiding questions lead to growth.

Why do we need to use guiding questions?

When supporting the growth of teachers, specific questions allow for simple prompts to guide the mind towards expansion. Reflection and realization allow the teacher to understand what they were doing before and the impact it had on students. It then allows them to revise their actions to have a more positive impact on student learning in the classroom.

Without specific types of questions, teachers are unable to train their brain to follow a thinking pattern that leads to growth. They will rely on others to tell them what to do. If no one is around to do so, teachers will result to repeating the same behaviors and actions stunting their growth in the process.

Guiding questions empower learners and increase their ownership in their own growth journey. They ensure that the focus of coaching and mentorship remain aligned with school and district goals/initiatives. They also improve the collaborative relationships between colleagues.

Supporting learners with questions ensures they receive personalized assistance while remaining at the wheel of their own career trajectory.

How do guiding questions move teacher performance forward?

It can be hard to get “unstuck.” Sometimes teachers are faced with obstacles that they cannot see a way around. Through bite-sized questioning, teachers are able to see a clear path forward to overcome their obstacle and unleash their potential as an educator.

These questions illuminate a path forward. This allows the learner to avoid derailing on rabbit holes of frustrations and surface level struggles. Guiding questions get to the root of problems, bring clarity to a resolution, and get teachers unstuck quickly.

Instructional coaches and leaders can ensure guiding questions effectively move teacher performance forward. They need to become well versed in the types of questions to ask, and gain proficiency in varying the delivery based on the teacher they are supporting. Reading quality sample questions, developing your own, and rehearsing them in a practice round of coaching are important. This ensures all leaders are normed on how to execute guiding questions effectively.

If you’re in need of a resource to help develop strong guiding questions to move teacher performance forward, grab it here.

Instructional Coaching: Guiding Questions Template









What guiding questions do you use to move teacher performance forward?

About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.