Follow-Up Questions pt. 2

If you took the challenge and surveyed your textbook for the number of follow-up questions that appear, perhaps you’ve discovered the same thing as me. In general, they don’t appear in the New Horizon textbooks.

As you may know, follow-up questions are critical to having a conversation. Without one person asking for more questions, conversations die.

So, when we say, “Why can’t students handle simple follow-up questions?” Part of it has to do with the book. The New Horizon textbook rarely organizes its questions in this manner. Most of the questions are presented as dead-end questions. That is, once they are answered the conversation dies.

Second, often teachers make the mistake of not offering follow up questions. They simply say “Okay, good!” after a student successfully answers a question. Perhaps this is a good strategy in a math class, where the correct answer truly is the end of the conversation. But in the English class it can stunt the language skills of students.

The point: if the textbook isn’t doing it, we as English teachers must try to ask follow-up questions and make the connections for students when new questions appear in the book. We have to pick up where the book leaves off. The first question may be the start of the conversation, but follow-up questions is where the conversation really begins. 

I can only speak for New Horizon because that’s the textbook I’ve used for my entire time here. How are the other textbooks?