Complex Underlying Structures to Correctly Restate Questions in the Answer

To correctly restate the question in the answer requires metalinguistic awareness and working memory. By the upper elementary grades, teachers are requiring students to restate the question in their answers, especially in written assignments. It is important to look at the underlying skills required to restate the question in the answer.

Underlying skills to restate the question in the answer

Restating the question in an answer is a valuable skill in education, as it demonstrates a student’s comprehension of the question and their ability to communicate a relevant response. This skill is often encouraged to ensure that students provide complete and coherent answers. The underlying skills involved in restating the question in an answer include:

1. Listening and Comprehension: To restate the question effectively, students must actively listen to the question, understand its meaning, and extract the key points.

2. Critical Thinking: Students need to think critically about the question to identify its main components and what information is being sought. This involves analyzing the question’s purpose and requirements.

3. Paraphrasing: Restating the question requires the ability to express the question in a different way, using different words while preserving the original meaning. Paraphrasing skills are essential for this.

4. Vocabulary and Language Skills: A good grasp of vocabulary and language is essential to rephrase a question effectively. Students need to use appropriate terminology and language to express their thoughts.

5. Clarity and Communication: Effective communication is vital. Students should restate the question in a clear and concise manner, ensuring that their answer is understandable to the audience.

6. Organization: Students should structure their answers logically, with the restated question typically appearing at the beginning of the response. This demonstrates organizational skills.

7. Inference and Application: In some cases, students may need to infer additional information from the question and apply relevant knowledge to form their response. This involves higher-order thinking.

8. Relevance: Restating the question helps ensure that the answer directly addresses what was asked. It is essential for students to provide a relevant response to the question.

9. Reflective Thinking: Restating the question can also encourage students to think more deeply about the question and consider their response thoughtfully.

10. Self-Assessment: Encouraging students to restate the question and compare their response to the question can help them self-assess the completeness and accuracy of their answers.

Now let’s take a look at the linguistic knowledge required to restate the question in the answer.

linguistic skills needed to restate the question in the answer

Being able to restate the question in your answer requires metalinguistic awareness, which is the ability to talk about language as a system or process. Metalinguistic awareness has been defined as “the ability to reflect consciously on the nature and properties of language” (Van Kleeck, 1982, p. 237). Meta is an ancient Greek term, meaning ‘beyond.’ In the context of language learning ‘meta’ can be interpreted as going beyond communication and meaning, and to instead focus attention on the underlying structures.

Let’s look at the necessary steps when using the question in the answer.

  1. First, the question word has to be dropped
  2. Next, the main idea or the subject has to be identified and is usually moved to the beginning of the statement.
  3. Then, the verb needs to be found and understood so that the answer is consistent with the question.
  4. Finally, the student has to have the working memory skills to hold the answer in mind, while they formulate the sentence correctly.

Here is an anchor chart for students, showing the process from a Thanksgiving Teachers Pay Teachers product.

Before students can answer the question correctly, they need to understand how to pull apart the question to find the subject and the verb. For that reason, I created these task cards, which only require to restate the question in the answer. Students are not required to answer the question. Here are some examples.

To learn more about this resource, please check out the preview on Teachers Pay Teachers.

What do you think? Do you agree that restating the question in the answer is a metalinguistic skill? Please let me know what you think.