Jesus Christ often asked questions to help people ponder and apply principles. His questions prompted thought, soul searching, and commitment.
Good questions will help you understand interests, concerns, or questions that others have. They can enhance your teaching, invite the Spirit, and help the members learn.
Poor questions can intimidate, irritate, and offend members. They can also cause you to lose control of the teaching situation. Try to ask questions that:
- Are simple and easy to understand.
Help people think about what you are teaching.
- Help you determine how well the investigator understands what you are teaching.
Help people apply what they learn.
Examples of effective questions include:
- What questions do you have about what we have taught?
- Do you believe that Heavenly Father loves you? Why?
- How do we sometimes make the same error as the people in this story?
To help those you teach prepare to answer questions, you may want to say, “As I explain the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy, ask yourself, ‘What does this commandment mean to me?’” Avoid asking questions that:
- Include more than one idea.
- Pertain to doctrines you have not yet taught.
- Do not have a clear purpose.
- Interrogate and pry unnecessarily.
Following are examples of less-effective questions:
- Who was the first prophet? (Asked before teaching about dispensations.)
- How will keeping our bodies pure help us have the Spirit and show that we are willing to follow a prophet of God? (More than one idea.)
- Is it important to know about God’s commandments? (Yes-no answer and too obvious.)
- What is something we can do every day that will help us feel close to God? (Vague question looking for a specific answer: pray.)
- Who was the next prophet after Noah? (Asking them to guess.)
Learn to ask questions as prompted by the Spirit. The right type of question at the right time can greatly help those you teach to learn the gospel and feel the Spirit. Likewise, the wrong type of question or a question at the wrong time can interfere with their learning. Asking appropriate questions at the right time requires that you are in tune with the Spirit, that you listen to those you are teaching, and that you focus throughout the teaching experience. Effective teaching can be hard work and requires concentration and effort on the part of you.