Lesson 2 of 6
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Open ( Effective ) Questions

Definition:

Open questions are questions with unlimited responses, where the questioner cannot possibly know what answer they will receive as they are not based on knowledge and information and typically cannot be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.

Purpose:

The purpose of open questions is to help the learner to reflect on their performance. Effective open questions target the beliefs, emotions and attitudes that motivate behaviour.

When to use:

Since the process of reflection requires much focus, these types of questions must be generally asked at the side of the road. However, at times, it might be necessary to ask simple, forward-focused, effective questions (example below) to check your pupil’s emotional state on the move, therefore enabling you to manage any potential risk.

It’s not always easy to categorise a question as open or effective. How do you ‘feel’ that right turn went? Is not an effective question, as although it contains the word ‘feel’ within the question, the question itself is centred around the platform and as such the answer returned will centre around the behaviour and skill. It might be better to ask ”tell me about that right turn?”. As an open question instead as thus we are less likely to receive a limited response such as ‘okay.. good’ and instead require the pupil to reflect more fully in contrast to the initial question where more detail would likely require more questioning.

What we understand is that our feelings motivate our behaviour, so asking ‘how did you feel as you approached the right turn’ is an effective question which enables the pupil to reflect not on the behaviour, but on their emotional state (good or bad) that produced the behaviour. Through further questioning, we can then help our pupils to better understand the impact that their emotions (good or bad) will always have on their ability to drive well. This understanding is the starting point for drivers in the pursuit of safer driving through self-management. Without understanding what motivates good and bad driving it is simply impossible to produce good driving in all situations. The process of reflection here requires focusing on the past, therefore reducing the focus on the present and as such in general, it is safer for these questions to be asked at the side of the road.


Example Q’s:

  • How are you feeling about this junction we are approaching? (Emotions)
  • What are your thoughts on the speed limit in this area? (Beliefs/attitudes)
  • What were you thinking about on the approach? (Thoughts/focus)
  • What will be different for you beyond the driving test? (Motivation)

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