In my programming tutorial, I often ask a question to the class along the lines of "what is my next step?" or "should I do X or Y?". In previous years I've had lots of student participation, but this year I get nothing. I've adjusted my tactics accordingly - I no longer ask the class for a response. Instead, I propose a practice problem, give them a short time to answer it on their own or with peers, and then show my answer to the problem. Usually, students will ask questions about my approach at this stage, but very rarely will they offer insight into how they thought they should be solving the problem.
I had the feeling that the students didn't like my tutorial (or me), so I asked for and received anonymous feedback from them and it turns out they think it's great, with only a few helpful suggestions for how I can be more effective. So I wonder, is there any actual benefit to asking questions for students to answer openly in class, or is that just a recipe for awkward silence?