According to Bloom’s Taxonomy there are various types of questions which when used correctly can help develop “Higher Order Thinking”.

How to use various question types to our advantage?

For smaller aged kids, it is wise to start with the basic questions and then take the understanding to the next level and yet I do like to slip in a higher order thinking question to get the brain cells ticking. A question may not necessarily only seek an answer.


  • RECALL: asking children to remember information they have previously learned.


  • Who was…….
  • What is…….
  • Where is……
  • When is ……
  • Can you list three……
  • How would you describe…..

These are basic questions one must ask any learner; just because they are basic questions one must not avoid them. Having a healthy mix of all kind of questions promotes better understanding. These questions can be asked right from toddlerhood so these can be the earliest questions you ask your child.


  • COMPREHENSION: asking pupils to express ideas in their own words or interpret major ideas.


  • What do you mean by…..
  • Can you explain what is happening when…..
  • Can you think of…..
  • What can you say about…..

Growing up, these were some of my favourite questions in primary school where I got to explain what I had understood in my own words. This helps make the constructs of a concept clearer. That is the reason why “peer explanation” or teaching peers has a very high effect size and is considered a great methodology. ( In lay terms it means, it is a very effective teaching technique)


  • APPLICATION: Asking the children to understand general principle and apply it in a new situation.


  • How would you use…..
  • What other examples can you find to…..
  • What would happen if…..
  • What other way would you plan to…..
  • Which facts would you select to show…..

In basic school education in India, sadly application based questions were missing largely and even when they were asked, they had to be answered in a particular way within a limited scope. When I started teaching for Cambridge International Primary Program I was happy to see application based questions so my students found it a bit more interesting and challenging.


  • ANALYSIS: asking pupils to break down subject matter into its parts, study the nature of its parts and their relationship with one another


  • What evidence can you find that…..
  • What are the key features of…..
  • What information will you need to…..
  • What might it mean if…..
  • What conclusions can you draw from…..

When I started teaching in middle school, high school and training teachers, I started using concept mapping and other graphic organisers. These organisers are very useful tools for analysis; we will cover how to use each of these question types in a separate blog post.


  • SYNTHESIS: asking children to build a new idea or theory, plan, experiment or forecast using sophisticated thinking


  • Could you design something to…..
  • How could we solve…..
  • What do you think is likely to…..
  • Suppose you could….. What would you do?…..

In IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma that is equivalent to 12th std according to Indian boards) children are given projects where they need to design something out of all the knowledge they have gained and help solve a problem and find a solution. One of the students designed a nutrition bar using local ingredients which was economical too. This is what synthesis is all about.


  • EVALUATE: asking pupils to assess or judge


  • What do you think about?
  • How effective was it when…..
  • Can you say which is better and why?
  • How would you prove…..
  • What is your opinion of…..
  • Is there a more reliable way of finding…..
  • How well do you think you understand…..


Learning has to be translated into relatable form. One of the things every human faces daily is the act of making choices and decisions. It is imperative for a parent and a teacher to ensure that the child has necessary skills and practice to make objective decisions. Evaluation does that and so is one of the most important things one should learn and teach.

Asking the right questions can be one of the highest and most effective techniques for teachers, parents and students. May we be wise enough to ask the right ones at the right time.

The author of this article, Kshama Dudpuri is an enthusiastic reader and writer,education influencer, founder of POISE7 and wants to bring a change in the compassion meter in this world.