Thinking Through Quality Questioning: Deepening Student Engagement

Thinking Through Quality Questioning: Deepening Student Engagement

by Jackie A. Walsh, Beth D. Sattes

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Asking the right questions is the answer

This groundbreaking book provides teachers with an accessible, research-based blueprint for developing student metacognitive skills and ensuring that students take responsibility for their own learning. The authors use the findings of cognitive scientists to highlight quality questioning behaviors and explain how to apply


Asking the right questions is the answer

This groundbreaking book provides teachers with an accessible, research-based blueprint for developing student metacognitive skills and ensuring that students take responsibility for their own learning. The authors use the findings of cognitive scientists to highlight quality questioning behaviors and explain how to apply them for improved student outcomes. Key features include:

  • Short vignettes of quality questioning in action
  • Evidence that ties question strategy to student achievement
  • An overview of collaborative, written, electronic, and group response strategies
  • Examples of how quality questioning connects to formative assessment

Special note regarding the e Book version: Some figures have been redacted in compliance with digital rights permissions.

Editorial Reviews

Nancy Love
"This book delivers on the double meaning of its title. It makes a compelling argument that quality questioning is the primary catalyst for thinking in the classroom and offers practical tools for crafting questions worth thinking about.I have found no better resource for unleashing the power of questioning as a force for student learning in the 21st century than Thinking Through Quality Questioning. "

Sally Piepenbrink
"Any educator who believes that our students MUST be able to think deeply in order to flourish in our world today and in the future, will not be able to put this book down!"
Jamalya Jackson
“Thinking Through Quality Questioning is an excellent resource for teachers to promote student thinking, student engagement and hold students accountable for their learning. The power of this book is that it not only outlines teacher behaviors but it specifically connects them to student outcomes and behaviors. It truly supports the notion of students being more involved in the classroom translates into increased student learning!”
Melissa M. Adams
“I believe one of our goals as teachers is to have students who can think at high levels and apply that knowledge across disciplines. Thinking Through Quality Questioning is a practical way for teachers to guide students as thinkers not just doers in the classroom. The book gives support to teachers as they promote personal responsibility for learning in their classrooms. I recommend this book to all teachers as they continue guiding students through this journey.”
Charlotte Danielson
"The skillful use of questioning in a classroom is vital to student engagement and learning.It's difficult to imagine a classroom in which students are involved in deep conceptual learning that did not depend for its success on the teacher's use of questions to promote thinking and engagement. The authors fully explore this important topic."
Sharon Sigley
"Be prepared to question how you teach. Thinking through Quality Questioning provides an easy to follow format of how teachers can authentically engage students and instill in them a desire to question and search for answers. A must-read for teachers!"
Jamie Parris
“Thinking Through Quality Questioning not only provides the tools needed to frame effective questions, it also provides the structures necessary to elicit thoughtful student responses and dialogue. The book guides educators through the process of creating a classroom rich in productive interactions by providing both practical examples and supporting frameworks."
Katie Bazzani
"For educators who value student engagement, inquiry, and self-efficacy, this is the book. Based on 22 years of study, Jackie Walsh and Beth Sattes provide a framework for posing quality questions that promote student metacognition and responsibility, as well as provide feedback to inform instruction. As partners in learning, teachers and students will both benefit as a result of the researched knowledge and practical strategies offered in Thinking through Quality Questioning."
Sherrill W. Parris
“The critical challenge for educators today is to successfully prepare students for a world which we don’t yet know, andfor jobs that don’t yet exist. Schools must transform students into independent, lifelong learners equipped to make thoughtful decisions. Thinking through Quality Questioning is a valuable resource for teachers committed to helping students learn how to learn."
Joy B. Williams
“Anyone in an educational leadership position knows the pressure to do more with less. Thinking through Quality Questioning reminded me that providing teachers with quality teaching tools is the best and most inexpensive means of improving teaching and learning. The book is clear, concise, and well-researched. As a recently retired superintendent, I can easily see this book becoming the focus for a year-long book study and professional learning experience.”
Jody M. Westbrook
“Teachers and educational leaders will expand their students’ thinking by doing what the authors so eloquently model in Thinking Through Quality Questioning: focus on questions prior to teaching, create an environment for questioning, provide feedback and assist the learner in the development of their own thoughtfulness. It is remarkable to note that a book can model behavior! In an era of 'quick fixes' which result in short-term gains, Quality Questioning will result in purposeful, careful and thoughtful educators AND their students!”
Debbie Brooks
"Quality Questioning has provided an invaluable framework for our staff by supporting our adopting effective questioning practices and monitoring student response patterns school wide. Our faculty has found value in sharing and discussing the Quality Questioning practices and creating an environment conducive to inquiry and reflection. It is our belief that Thinking Through Quality Questioning goes beyond improving teacher practice to provide tools teachers can use to support students in becoming active, responsible learners through a reciprocal process of questioning, discussion, and response."
John Barell
“With a solid foundation in research, Thinking Through Quality Questioning reestablishes an essential element of a fully engaged classroom—teachers and students sharing control of instructional decision making. Walsh and Sattes’s strong emphasis on nurturing new norms for students’ metacognitive awareness, responsibility, and personal self-determination is long overdue! Well Done!”
Dylan Wiliam
"Thinking Through Quality Questioning provides a welcome framework that is rigorous in directing teachers to reflect on their practice in ways that are likely to benefit their students, while being flexible enough to be relevant to every teacher."

Product Details

SAGE Publications
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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Meet the Author

Learn more about Jackie Walsh's PD offerings

Jackie Walsh is an independent educational consultant who partners with educators across the country to enhance teaching and leading in classrooms, schools, and districts. Her passion and primary area of expertise is questioning—for both student and adult learning. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Jackie is also the lead consultant for the Alabama Best Practices Center, which affords her the opportunity to work with networks of school teams, district teams, instructional partners, and superintendents.

Jackie’s early experience as a high school social studies teacher contributed to her passion for questioning. As a designer and facilitator of professional learning for teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators, she links quality questioning practices not only to student thinking and learning but also to adult learning and reflection. Her commitment is to collaborative design that customizes learning to the context of the learners. Her experience spans work in K-12, higher education, a regional research laboratory, and a state department of education.

The author and co-author of numerous books and articles focused on quality questioning, Jackie seeks to make research and best practice accessible to practitioners. Her books, co-authored with Beth Sattes, include: Quality Questioning, 2nd Edition (2017), Questioning for Classroom Discussion (2015), Thinking Through Quality Questioning (2011), Leading Through Quality Questioning (2010), and Quality Questioning, 1st Edition (2005), She received her A.B. from Duke University, M.A.T. from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Follow Jackie on Twitter @Question2Think; email,

Learn more about Beth Sattes' PD offerings

Beth Dankert Sattes is a co-developer with Jackie Acree Walsh of Questioning and Understanding to Improve Learning and Thinking (QUILT), a nationally validated professional development program on effective questioning. They are also co-authors of Inside School Improvement (2000) and co-presenters of the Video Journal in Education series Questioning to Stimulate Thinking (1999). These two former classroom teachers have trained hundreds of administrators and teachers across the nation in effective questioning. Their other joint ventures have focused on creating effective professional development for educators, sharing leadership for continuous school improvement, and creating a culture for high-performance learning communities. A recent example of their work is the design and delivery of professional development for school improvement specialists—consultants or staff who work to develop the capacity of schools to improve achievement for all students. They have also developed professional development modules on improving school culture (for the Southern Regional Education Board) and leading learning communities (for the Alabama Leadership Academy). Beth Dankert Sattes holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in early childhood special education from Peabody College. Both Sattes and Walsh have served as faculty for the National Staff Development Council’s Academy.

Contact Beth Sattes at

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