There is a delicate balance to be struck with these types of question, as in fact they are often a response to when a student is stuck or when a student has ﬁnished a problem. To the student, this can be as frustrating as it is as a parent when your child goes through the ‘Why?’ phase in their learning: ‘How does that work Daddy?’, ‘Why can’t we see the stars in the daytime Mummy?’ etc. Many a parent has reached exhausted frustration with the child who just goes on and on with one question after another. Of course, this is not something to discourage, but it can be sapping of your
energy. The same feeling will occur with students if, as soon as they offer a solution, you say, ‘How did you get that answer?’ ‘Are you sure it is correct?’ ‘How can you be sure?’ These questions and more, as I will go on to discuss, are essential to build reasoning and a deeper understanding, but we must be careful that, as we question them, students are not frustrated with our constant barrage, when they seek reassurance.