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Leading Through Quality Questioning


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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures Preface: What Have We Learned From Our Work? Quality Questioning is Not Just for the Classroom Anymore Acknowledgments About the Authors 1. Quality Questioning: Why Is This an Important Practice for Leaders of Learning Communities? 2. Questioning as a Process: What Are the Essential Elements? 3. Maximizing: How Can Leaders Increase Individual and Collective Capacity? 4. Mobilizing: How Do Leaders Build Constituent Commitment to Act? 5. Mediating: How Does Quality Questioning Help Create Common Ground? 6. Monitoring: How Do Leaders Use Quality Questioning to Facilitate Reflection on Progress Toward Identified Goals? 7. Promoting Adult Learning and Growth in Schools: How Can Leaders Nurture Communities of Quality Questioners? Resource A: Examples of Closed and Open-Ended Questions Resource B: Structured Group Processes That Engage Members of the School Community in Thinking and Dialogue Resource C: The Quality Questioning Quotient (QQQ): A Self-Assessment References Index

About 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


"A leader's job is not to have all of the right answers, but to ask the right questions-questions that help the team dig deeper into more meaningful solutions. Not only does this book address self-inquiry for school leaders, it offers tools and learning support for leaders committed to improving and refining their inquiry-based leadership." -- Betty Burks, Deputy Superintendent
"One does not immediately think of questioning as a leadership tool. Yet the compelling and engaging strategies thoughtfully described in this book will make any leader realize the power of an artful question. This is an invaluable handbook for those eager to listen differently to people, enter into dialogue about sensitive topics, and structure opportunities for people to talk constructively." -- Joellen Killion, Deputy Executive Director
"Walsh and Sattes have captured the essence of one of the key features of a good leader: the ability to coach others. Their quality questioning framework helps school leaders understand that the way they structure a question can be the key to building organizational capacity." -- Yvonne V. Thayer, Certified Professional Coach
"A must-read for all school leaders. This practical guide on how to create an inquiry-oriented approach to decision making enables adult learners in the school to sustain school improvement and that fosters a higher level of thinking that will benefit students, parents, and the community." -- Betsy Rogers, School Improvement Specialist
"The focus of the book complements the work we are currently doing in our school district to create reflective practitioners. For the past year we have been training our school administrators and teacher leaders in how to support the professional growth of our faculty by using coaching language. The concept of applying quality questioning provides the perfect vehicle for furthering our work in reflective practice! The Leading through Quality Questioning Framework is a clear and concise way to get the big picture of how questioning can be used to foster a culture of continuous improvement. The chapters that follow allow the reader to put the meat on the bones of the framework!" -- Christopher Corallo, Director of Staff Development
"This is a wise, practical, and inspiring work that offers great advice on how leaders can keep inquiry at the heart of adult learning. Any coach, principal, or superintendent who is interested in accelerating professional learning will find this book useful." -- Jim Knight, Research Associate, Center for Research on Learning, University of Kansas

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