INSTRUCTORS’ AND LEARNERS’ QUESTIONING: A CASE OF EFL CLASSROOM DISCOURSE IN IRAN

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

Yasouj University

Abstract

The present study was an attempt to examine how questioning was treated by EFL instructors and learners at a private language center in Yasouj, Iran. This study also intended to explore the types of questions posed by the EFL instructors and learners in different course levels and to scrutinize the extent to which the instructors’ classroom behaviors were geared towards enhancing the learners’ capacity to raise English questions. To accomplish such objectives, classes, from the same institute and with different levels were selected to be carefully observed. The researchers utilized a checklist of question types along with observation field notes to obtain a numeric summary and an in-depth description of the participants’ intended behaviors in the classrooms. The analysis of the numeric data through descriptive statistics and one way ANOVA along with content analysis of the observational data indicated that the instructors teaching in classes with lower proficiency levels practiced questioning more substantially and, unlike their peers teaching in higher levels, mainly resorted to display questions to achieve their pedagogical objectives. Seldom did the learners, regardless of their proficiency levels, venture to phrase English questions, and often appeared anxious and resorted to their first language when they were to pose questions. Further, the instructors’ classroom behaviors hardly intended to enhance the learners’ capacity in asking English questions. This study bears the implications of the findings for language instructors and learners in the context of EFL teaching and learning.

Keywords


Almeida, P. A. (2012). Can I ask a question?  The importance of classroom questioning. Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 31(1), 634-638.

Almeida, P., & Neri de Souza, F. (2010). Questioning profiles in secondary science classrooms. International Journal of Learning and Change, 4(3), 237-251.

Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., & Sorensen, C. (2006). Introduction to Research in Education. Belmont: Wadsworth.

Ausubel, D. P. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive view. New York: Rinehart and Winston.

Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (1998). Qualitative research in education: An introduction to theory and methods. Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon.

Boyd, M. P., & Rubin, D. L. (2002). Elaborated student talk in an elementary classroom. Research in the Teaching of English, 36(4), 495-530.

Brock, C. A.  (1986).  The  effects  of  referential  questions  on  ESL  classroom  discourse. TESOL Quarterly, 20, 77-59.

Brown, G., & Yule, G. (1983). Discourse analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chin, C., & Osborne, J. (2008). Students’ questions: A potential resource for teaching and learning science. Studies in Science Education, 44, 1-39.

David, F. (2007). Teacher questioning behavior and ESL classroom interaction. Humanity and Social Sciences Journal, 2(2), 127-131.

Edwards, A. D., & Westgate, D. (1994). Investigating classroom talk. London: Falmer Press.

Cotton, K. (1988). Monitoring student learning in the classroom. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. 

Dashwood, A. (2005). Alternative to questioning: Teacher role in classroom discussion. Asian EFL Journal, 7(4), 144-165.

Ellis, R. (1994). The Study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Floyd, W. D. (1960). An analysis of the oral questioning activities in selected Colorado classrooms. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Colorado State College, United States.

Gall, M. D. (1984). Synthesis of research on teachers’ questioning. Educational Leadership, 42, 40-47.

Gibbons, P. (2003). Mediating language learning: Teacher interactions with ESL students in a content-based classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 37(2), 247-273.

Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company.

Graesser, A., & Olde, C. (2003). How does one know whether a person understands a device? The quality of the questions the person asks when the device breaks down. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 524-536.

Graesser, A., & Person, N. K. (1994). Question asking during tutoring. American Educational Research Journal, 31(1), 104-137.

Harlen, W. (1999). Effective teaching of science: A review of research. Edinburgh: Scottish Council for Research in Education.

Harlen, W., & Qualter, A. (2004). The teaching of science in primary schools (4th Ed.). London: David Fulton Publishers.

Hart, L. A. (1983). Human brain and human learning. New York: Longman.

Hutchby, I., & Wooffitt, R. (2008). Conversation analysis. London: Polity Press.

Kumpulainen, K., & Wray, D. (2002). Classroom interaction and social learning: From theory to practice. New Jersey: Rutledge Falmer.

Long, M. H., & Sato, C. J. (1983). Classroom foreigner talk discourse: forms and functions of teachers’ questions. In H. W. Seliger & M. H. Long (Eds.), Classroom oriented research in second language acquisition (pp. 268-286). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Margutti, P. (2006). Are you human beings? Order and knowledge construction through questioning in primary classroom interaction. Linguistics and Education, 17, 313-346.

McNeil, L. (2012). Using talk to scaffold referential questions for English language learners. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(3), 396-404.

Mercer, N. (2000).Words and minds: How we use language to think together. London: Routledge.

Mercer, N., & Littleton, K. (2007). Dialogue and the development of children’s thinking: A sociocultural approach. London: Routledge.

Nicholl, H. M., & Tracey, C. (2007). Questioning: A tool in the nurse educator’s kit. Nurse Education in Practice, 7(5), 285-292.

Nummela, R. M., & Rosengren, T. M. (1986). What is happening in students’ brains may redefine teaching. Educational Leadership, 43(1), 49-53.

Petty, G. (1998).  Teaching today: A practical guide (2nd Ed.). Cheltenham, UK: Nelson Thornes.

Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Powell, R. G., & Powell, L. (2010). Classroom communication and diversity: Enhancing instrumental practice. New York: Routledge.

Qashoa, S. H. (2012). Effects of teacher question types and syntactic structures on EFL classroom interaction. The International Journal of Social Sciences, 7(1), 52-62.

Renshaw, P., & Brown, R. A. (2007). Formats of classroom talk for integrating everyday and scientific discourse: Replacement, interweaving, contextual privileging, and pastiche. Language and Education, 21(6), 531-549.

Sachdeva, A.K. (1996). Use of effective questioning to enhance the cognitive abilities of students. Journal of Cancer Education, 11(1), 117-124.

Shomoossi, N. (2004). The effect of teachers’ questioning behavior on EFL classroom interaction: A classroom research study. The Reading Matrix, 4(2), 96-104.

Suk-a-nake, R., Heaton, S. L., Chantrupanth, D., & Rorex, P. D. (2003). Thai university EFL learners’ oral responses to various spoken question types. Second Language Learning and Teaching, 12, 19-31.

Tan, Z. (2007). Questioning in Chinese university EL classrooms: What lies beyond it? RELC, 38(1), 87-103.

Watts, M., Gould, G., & Alsop, S. (1997). Questions of understanding: categorizing pupils’ questions in science. School Science Review, 79(286), 57-63.

Willis, D., & Willis, J. (2007). Doing task-based teaching. Oxford: Oxford University press.

Wu, K. (1993). Classroom interaction and teacher questions revisited. RELC Journal, 24(2), 49-68.

Yule, G. (2006). The study of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.