Ask open-ended questions that encourage multiple responses. Scaffold and vary the types of questions through the tour.
Integrate opportunities on your tour for nonverbal participation.
Ask follow-up questions that encourage even closer looking, and invite individuals to support their observations with evidence.
Ask questions that are appropriate for the group (consider age, experience with looking at art, language skills, etc.).
Avoid run-on questions, or questions that ask more than one at a time (e.g., What kinds of colors do you notice and what shapes are in the painting?).
Avoid asking “yes or no” questions. These types of questions stop a discussion as soon as the responses are given.
Avoid asking questions that begin with “Can you…” or “Who can… ” These types of questions automatically set participants up to fail if they “cannot.”
Embrace moments of silence. Allow people time to observe, process, and respond.
Listen to responses and treat all responses as equal even if you think some are not the “right” answers. Remember that art has multiple interpretations.
Paraphrase when appropriate.
Practice using the phrase “Yes…AND…” (such as “yes, AND what else do you notice about the figure?) to validate a response and promote discussion.
If a comment or response is unclear, clarify by saying “Tell me more about that.”
Ask “Who haven’t we heard from?” or “Who hasn’t had a turn yet?” to encourage more participation.
Be flexible enough to let participants’ responses determine how the discussion of an artwork will unfold.