Relational connection is fundamental to teaching, learning and wellbeing outcomes. Students learn better when they feel connected and respected. To build connection and mutual respect, we must ask questions, we must listen and we must get to know our students. Here are 25 questions that will help you do that.
1. Is there anything I don’t know about you that you would like me to know?
2. If you could be any historical figure, who would it be and why?
3. Describe a quality you admire in your best friend.
4. What are you grateful to your parents (or friends) for?
5. Who is your idol and why?
6. What is your biggest challenge right now and how can I help?
7. If you were the Principal, what would you change about the school?
8. If you were the Principal, what would you have done differently during <insert important event>? E.g. what would you have done differently during COVID-19?
9. What lesson have you learned that you would like to share with others?
10. What is one quality that you like about yourself?
11. When was the last time you felt really frustrated and what triggered it?
12. How do you feel about making new friends?
13. When was the last time you felt really anxious and why? Tip: for younger students (13 and below) consider using the word 'worried' instead of anxious.
14. Do you feel the world is a fair place, why or why not?
15. How do you cope with failure?
16. What don’t you like about school?
17. What, if anything, concerns you about your future?
18. What is one thing you wish you were better at?
19. How do you feel about your life outside of school?
20. Why do you turn up to school?
21. What haven’t you tried yet that you would like to try?
22. Do you feel it is easier, the same or tougher growing up in today's world, why?
23. What is one thing you regret?
24. How do you feel about what you’re learning at school?
25. What is something that you have changed about yourself this year?
One more question for students on social media
26. Do you feel social media has made us more connected or more disconnected, why?
General tips for questioning
When asking questions, it is important to not suggest anything, e.g. 'How are you feeling, good?'. That one word at the end significantly reduces the likelihood of a meaningful conversation stemming from that question. The easiest way to start asking authentic questions is to ask in the following way 'Why do you feel/think that way about X', or 'How do you feel about X'. Clarifying is also a really good technique to let the student know you are listening, so for instance, you might say 'What do you mean when you say X' or 'Just so I am understanding this, you are saying X?'.
If you're using Skodel to check-in with your students, you may wish to use our customisation functionality to add these questions into your check-ins.
Get more guidance on what to look for in responses to these questions and wellbeing resources for your school delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Timely Wellbeing Resources.