Resource person Bhooma Venkatesan kicked off the ‘Speaking Skills’ module with a simple task. Placing an orange and apple on the table, she prompted students to shoot questions.

A question may mark the birth of knowledge. But as students of Brindavan Vidyalaya ICSE School found out in the recent Newspaper in Education (NIE) session, it is also the road to acquiring speaking skills. Raising a question in class is the first exercise in public speaking for many students.

Resource person Bhooma Venkatesan kicked off the ‘Speaking Skills’ module with a simple task. Placing an orange and apple on the table, she prompted students to shoot questions. From simple questions like the shape, colour and sheen of the fruits, students moved on to imaginative and amusing queries. The art of questioning can be used to gain competence in a subject, she observed.

Classifying questions

Knowing what kind of question to ask can help a student learn and remember lessons better. Students were taught how to categorise questions under labels like ‘analysis’- ‘What are the vitamins that the two fruits have in common? ; ‘evaluation’- ‘Is an apple healthier than an orange? ; synthesis–‘What kind of a cocktail do you get when you mix both fruits?’; and application- ‘How do you eat the apple if you find a worm in it?’

The subsequent activity had students repeating the exercise of categorising questions based on a news story from The Hindu.

Reading out a news feature, the resource person set students the task of separating hard facts from the author’s opinions.

‘Sachin scored a century’ is a fact while ‘Sachin scored a majestic century’ is a description, Ms. Bhooma explained. By applying the techniques of spotting facts and self-questioning, a student can expand his or her knowledge of a subject.