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Text-based Questioning: An Empirical

Study of the Practice of Three Junior EF Teachers


2004 5
!" #$
!Ed Thesis
Text-based Questioning: An Empirical
Study of the Practice of Three Junior EF Teachers
iu "ei
#nder the Super$ision of
Professor %hou iuxi
School of Foreign anguages and iteratures
&ei'ing (ormal #ni$ersity
!ay )**+
First and foremost, I should express my most sincere acknowledgements to my
supervisor, Professor Zhou Liuxi, who has patiently given me his insightful guidance and
incessant encouragement. Without his help and suggestions, I could not have written this
y heartfelt thanks are also extended to Professor !ian "uisen for his kind, patient and
su#stantial advice and warm encouragement in the process of my thesis writing and during
my study in $ei%ing &ormal 'niversity.
I owe much o#liged to Professor (heng )iaotang for his critical eyes and thoughts,
which has impressed me much and from which I have learnt a lot.
y gratitude should also #e expressed to *enior Professor (hen +axing for his
readiness in helping me #y kindly and patiently giving guidance during the course of my
thesis writing.
y sincere acknowledgements also go to all the teachers who have taught my ed
courses. With their excellent instructions, I have learnt a lot. !herefore, I here#y would like
to express my thanks from the depth of my heart to Professor Luo *hao,ian, Professor
Wang -iang, Professor )iao Li,ian and other teachers.
I am inde#ted to s. Pan .un, s. Lu Peiwen and other li#rarians who have helped me
with many valua#le reference materials on my topic.
Last #ut not the least, my special thanks should go to all the teachers as well as their
lovely students who have participated in my class o#servation and interviews. Without
their cooperation, I could not have o#tained the valua#le data to accomplish this thesis.
(lassroom ,uestioning has a long history with its great importance in teaching and
learning. !he study of classroom ,uestioning in #oth su#%ect and language pedagogy has
#een stressed #y experts and practical teachers in and out of (hina and there are prolific
research studies in this regard. !he existing a#undant research studies so far are mainly
focused on the esta#lishment of ,uestion taxonomies and theoretical discussion a#out
,uantity and ,uality of teacher ,uestioning. In addition, researchers have as well put
forward suggestions and proposals on the use of various strategies/techni,ues which
teachers can adopt in classroom ,uestioning 0e.g. the use of ,uestions, the use of strategies
such as se,uencing, presentation, direction, reaction and structuring1. 2owever, the
empirical studies of teacher classroom ,uestioning are very few in (hina. 3ven those that
have #een carried out are confined to the description and analysis of the general situation
in teacher classroom ,uestioning and no study has explored the current condition of
classroom text4#ased ,uestioning #y teachers. 5long with more attention paid to text
linguistics and text instruction in 3FL pedagogy, the issue of how teachers use text4#ased
,uestions and their exploitation of strategies in the course of text4#ased ,uestioning has
#ecome increasingly highlighted. !herefore, the present study first proposes a framework
of descri#ing and analy6ing teacher text4#ased ,uestioning which is #ased on related
literature review, and then investigates three %unior 3FL teachers7 #ehaviors in text4#ased
,uestioning #y means of class o#servation, tape4recording, field4note taking and irregular
interviews with the teachers and their students.
!he findings of this study show that there are many similarities #etween the three 3FL
teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning8
9. 5s to the use of text4#ased ,uestions, it is found that text display ,uestions 0text
comprehension ,uestions1 are predominant in num#er whereas text referential ,uestions
0lead4in ,uestions and personali6ed ,uestions1 are devalued: text comprehension ,uestions
tend to #e local, factual ,uestions in terms of content orientation: text comprehension
,uestions are mostly those seeking locali6ing, text4explicit, sentential information in terms
of cognitive re,uirement: a vast num#er of text4#ased ,uestions are in the form of special
,uestions in linguistic terms.
;. With regard to the strategies used #y the teacher in text4#ased ,uestioning, it is
o#served that8
% text comprehension ,uestions are se,uenced merely with the development of text
& text4#ased ,uestion presentation is always dis%ointed with text contact: two framing
formats <,uestion4then4direction= and vice versa are interchangea#ly used: ,uestions are
presented mainly in the oral form: mechanical repetition of ,uestions is the most fre,uently
used techni,ue in ,uestion presentation:
' most text4#ased ,uestions are directed to individual students #ut ine,uity exists in
,uestion distri#ution: the techni,ue of redirection is infre,uently adopted:
( reaction is su#stantially performed #y teacher feed#ack #ut occasionally peer
feed#ack is also introduced: the teachers tend to immediately redirect the same ,uestions to
other students when student response is silence or wrong: positive reaction is rarely given
to student response:
) the ,uestioning is mainly structured in the #asic pattern I>F while other variant
patterns are rarely o#served which are used to pro#e, redirect and teacher4learner meaning
?ariations are also found #etween the three teachers in their text4#ased ,uestioning8 for
example, the sources of text4#ased ,uestions, ,uestioning pace, the se,uence #etween
,uestion presentation and text contact, reaction to student response, etc.
@n the whole, there are more similarities than differences #etween the three teachers in
their text4#ased ,uestioning. !heir text4#ased ,uestioning #ehaviors are conducted #lindly
at will and are therefore ineffective. !he underlying reasons are mainly due to their lack of
knowledge and guidance from relevant teaching theories. In addition, their text4#ased
,uestioning #ehaviors are also influenced #y their own previous learning experiences,
personality differences, viewpoints a#out students and text instruction, peer teachers7
modeling, school test pressure, etc.
.ey -ords: text4#ased ,uestions: se,uencing: presentation:
distri#ution: reaction: ,uestion structuring
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Abbre$iations and Symbols in the Thesis
!3FL8 !eaching 3nglish as a Foreign Language
!3*L8 !eaching 3nglish as a *econd Language
3FL8 3nglish as a Foreign Language
FL!8 Foreign Language !eaching
L;8 the *econd Language
!8 !eacher
P8 Pupil
*8 *tudent 0*98 the first student: *;8 the second student1
*s8 *tudents
?8 ?olunteer 0?98 the first volunteer: ?;8 the second volunteer1
4448 the dragging/duration of the voice
A8 inaudi#le
/8 distri#ution to students #y teachers
Table of /ontents
Abbreviations and Symbols in the
Table of Contents..........................................................................................................vii
Chapter 1 Introduction..................................................................................................1
9.9 $ackground of !his *tudy...........................................................................................................9
9.; *ignificance of !his >esearch.....................................................................................................;
9.B @rgani6ation of !his !hesis .......................................................................................................C
Chapter 2 iterature !eview " Theoretical #asis........................................................$
;.9 +efinition/Function of -uestion D -uestioning.........................................................................E
;.9.9 +efinition of -uestion D -uestioning..........................................................E
;.9.; Functions of -uestions D -uestioning ........................................................F
;.; !ypology of -uestions ................................................................................................................G
;.;.9 (riteria of -uestion (lassification...............................................................G
;.;.; Fre,uency of !ypes of -uestions...............................................................9H
;.B *trategies of -uestioning..........................................................................................................9G
;.B.9 *e,uencing..................................................................................................9G
;.B.; Presentation.................................................................................................;9
;.B.B +istri#ution/ *tudent Participation ............................................................;C
;.B.C >eaction......................................................................................................;I
;.B.H *tructuring..................................................................................................BB
;.C 3valuative (onsiderations of -uestions D -uestioning..........................................................BE
;.C.9 -uantity of -uestions D -uestioning........................................................BE
;.C.; -uality of -uestions D -uestioning .........................................................BI
Chapter % !esearch &esign.........................................................................................'2
B.9 >esearch -uestions...................................................................................................................C;
B.; *u#%ects/Participants..................................................................................................................C;
B.B Procedures of the *tudy ...................................................................................CB
B.C >esearch ethods.....................................................................................................................CB
B.C.9 +ata (ollection...........................................................................................CB
B.C.; +ata Processing...........................................................................................CH
Chapter ' &ata &escription " Analysis......................................................................'$
C.9 !eacher 57s !ext4#ased -uestioning ........................................................................................CE
C.9.9 5spects of !ext4#ased -uestions................................................................CE
C.9.; *trategies of !ext4#ased -uestioning.........................................................H9
C.9.B "eneral Impression of !eacher 57s !ext4#ased -uestioning .....................EI
C.; !eacher $7s !ext4#ased -uestioning ........................................................................................FJ
C.;.9 5spects of !ext4#ased -uestions ...............................................................FJ
C.;.; *trategies of !ext4#ased -uestioning.........................................................FB
C.;.B "eneral Impression of !eacher $7s !ext4#ased -uestioning ................IF
C.B !eacher (7s !ext4#ased -uestioning ........................................................................................II
C.B.9 5spects of !ext4#ased -uestions................................................................II
C.B.; *trategies in !ext4#ased -uestioning..........................................................G9
C.B.B "eneral Impression of !eacher (7s !ext4#ased -uestioning....................9J;
Chapter ( Conclusions...............................................................................................1)'
H.9 Findings from !his *tudy........................................................................................................9JC
H.9.9 !eacher *imilarities..................................................................................9JC
H.9.; !eacher +ifferences..................................................................................9JF
H.; Pedagogical Implications from !his *tudy.............................................................................9JG
H.B !heoretical Implications .........................................................................................................99J
H.C Limitations in !his *tudy D *uggestions for Further *tudies ...............................................999
5ppendix I8 Field notes in class o#servation.................................................................................99F
5ppendix II8 !ape transcripts........................................................................................................99I
/hapter 0 1ntroduction
!his thesis is an empirical study of text4#ased ,uestioning in (hina7s %unior 3FL
classrooms. It is #ased on classroom o#servation and data analysis. !his chapter gives an
introduction to the present study, providing the corresponding #ackground of the research,
the significance of the study and an organi6ation of this thesis.
020 &ac,ground of This Study
-uestions are as old as speech itself and the use of ,uestions in teaching K and
learning L is at least as old as classrooms 0$rown D 3dmondson 9GIC8 GF1. 3ver since the
time that *ocrates the "reek philosopher first exemplified their use, ,uestions have #een
addressed for their uni,ue significance in education and as promising devices in the pursuit
of right knowledge and action. In education, especially in schooling, ,uestions have #een
extensively utili6ed for #oth teaching and learning. -uestioning is one instructional
techni,ue to serve educative purposes in classroom circumstances and classroom ,uestions
are said to #e the most widely used instructional strategy in the classrooms 0*ee +illon
9GII8 9: @rlosky 9GI;8 ;9C: Mauchak D 3ggden 9GII8 9JB: etc1. .ust as @rlich et al.
09GGJ8 9II1 point out, < &ext to lecturing, the single most common teaching method
employed in the schools N in the world may well #e the asking of ,uestions. 5s an art, it
may have started with *ocrates and remains the most often used of all teaching strategies=.
>esearch dating #ack to 9G9; 0i.e. >omiette *tevens7 pioneering study of ,uestioning in
that year1 has highlighted the centrality of ,uestions in classroom procedures.
In language classrooms, ,uestions are one of the commonest types of utterances in the
course of classrooms 0*inclair D (oulthard 9GFH1 and ,uestioning #ecomes a most
prevalent phenomena that can #e found in classrooms 0>ichards D Lockhart 9GGE8 9H1.
!ompson 09GGF8 GG1 also admits that one of the main forms of interaction #etween a
language teacher and learners is through ,uestions. !herefore ,uestions and answers 0-
and 51 form a high percentage of classroom activities 0(hastain 9GII89C;, cited in
!ale#ine6ahd 9GGG8 ;J1. For example, "all 09GIC, cited in >ichards D Lockhart 9GGE8 9IH1
o#serves that in some classrooms over half of class time is taken up #y ,uestion4 and O
answer exchanges. In (haudron 09GII1, it is reported that ,uestions constitute twenty to
forty percent of classroom interaction.
2ence, whether in general classrooms or in language classrooms, ,uestioning is a very
important part of classroom discourse. It can #e clearly seen that ,uestions play a very
crucial role in classrooms and ,uestioning is one of the most important strategies for #oth
teachers7 teaching and learners7 learning. It has #een proposed that in language ac,uisition,
,uestions can #e used to < allow the learner to keep participating in the discourse and even
modify it so that the language use #ecomes more comprehensi#le and personally relevant=
0$an#rook D *kehan 9GIG8 9C;1. >ichards D Lockhart 09GGE8 9IH1 sum up several reasons
why ,uestions are so commonly used in teaching and learning classrooms8 91 stimulate and
maintain students7 interest: ;1 encourage students to think and focus on the content of the
lessons: encourage students participation in a lesson: B1 ena#le a teacher to clarify what a
student has said: C1 elicit particular structures or voca#ulary items: and H1 check students7
understanding. $urden D $yrd 09GGI8 9B1 identifies that the purpose of the ,uestions is to
encourage dialogue. *kilful ,uestioning can stimulate learners to produce wonderful ideas.
It7s supposed that through ,uestions and answers, learners get involved in the creation or
recreation of meaning through language 0!ale#ine6ahd 9GGG8 ;J1. uch of the research has
#een informed #y the assumption that L; learners7 learning will #e enhanced if the
,uestions result in active learner participation and meaning negotiation 03llis 9GGC8 HIG1.
!herefore, the ,uality and ,uantity of ,uestioning is thought to influence the ,uality of
classroom learning 0@rlich et al 9GIH, cited in >ichards D &unan 9GGJ8 E1. !hose of us
who are interested in education should recogni6e the significance of ,uestioning as the
means #y which teachers help students to construct meaning in learning.
(lassroom teacher ,uestioning is an extensively researched su#%ect and many studies
on classroom ,uestioning have #een carried out. 5 study of the #ulk of related literature
reveals that most of the existing research has focused on the following aspects of
classroom ,uestioning8 91 purposes/reasons/functions of ,uestioning: ;1
taxonomies/types/classifications/categories of ,uestions as well as fre,uency of types of
,uestions: B1 fre,uency of ,uestions: C1 ways/techni,ues/strategies/tactics of ,uestioning
including wait time, direction, responding to learners7 answers and others such as
pro#ing/prompting and se,uencing. In addition, there are also some studies addressing the
pattern/framing ,uestions.
'p to now, some studies have addressed the effects of ,uestioning on learning
0Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII: Lemlech 9GII: 5rends 9GGF: .aco#sen 9GGG1. 5lso, some
empirical studies on classroom ,uestioning have #een carried out in focusing on the
relationship #etween types of ,uestions as well as their fre,uency and cognitive
development 0e.g. @rlich et al 9GGJ: 3ric 9GGC: .ensen D Miley ;JJJ1. 5nd some other
studies provide tips for teaching practitioners to utili6e in their classrooms in order to
produce good/effective ,uestioning which will in turn result in good/effective learning
0$ull D *olity 9GIF: Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII: (ohen, anion D orrison 9GGE:
(hriskyacou 9GGF: *iyakwa6i D *iyakwa6i 9GGG: .ensen D Miley ;JJJ1. @nly a few
empirical studies in the west are concerned with correlational research on effects of
classroom ,uestioning on students7 learning or achievements in content classrooms
0Mleinman 9GEH: 2unkins 9GEG: (ole D William 9GFB: 5rnold, 5twood D >ogers 9GFC:
Winne 9GFG: ills, >ice, $erliner D >osseau 9GIJ: +illon 9GI9: >edfield D >ousseau
9GI9: 2onea 9GI;: >iley 9GIE: *amson, *trykouski, Weinstein D Wal#erg 9GIF: !o#in
9GIF: Moivukari 9GIF1.
02) Significance of This 3esearch
From *ocrates to the modern times, classroom ,uestioning has attracted more and more
attention from educators, theorists and teaching practitioners #oth in the west and in the
east #ecause of its uni,ue function in schooling. In (hina, though there are many articles
addressing classroom ,uestioning, most of them are #ased on logical reasoning or
experience4 induced knowledge #y theorists and gross4root teachers 0e.g., Luo 9GIE: ei
9GIE: Li 9GGJ: .Li 9GGJ: 2uang 9GG9: )ue 9GGF: Pan 9GGG: u ;JJJ: )ue ;JJJ: etc.1
*o far, especially in recent years, with the advocacy and prevalence of empirical
studies in educational research, there are few empirical studies on classroom ,uestioning in
teacher talk 0Zhao 9GGI: y 9GGI: Luo 9GGG: Zhou D Zhou ;JJ;: "uo ;JJ;: "ao ;JJ;:
Zhao ;JJ;: (ao ;JJ;1. *ome empirical research studies have also #een done focusing on
classroom ,uestioning with the attention on the techni,ues/ strategies in teacher
,uestioning 0(ao 9GGI: Pin ;JJJ:Pan ;JJ9: etc1.
2owever, in all those aforementioned empirical studies that have #een done so far in
the (hinese context there are clearly some limitations8 first, their su#%ects are mainly
chosen from college or senior high school classroom teachers, %unior or primary school
teachers are seldom addressed and therefore are excluded from those studies: second, the
focus of those studies in terms of classroom teacher ,uestioning is too general, in other
words, the description and analysis in those studies are concerned with depicting the
general picture of classroom teacher4initiated ,uestioning, addressing not only teachers7
procedural ,uestions, #ut also their language4orientation ,uestions as well as meaning4
orientation ,uestions. &o research study has ever #een conducted focusing on one specific
type of teacher4initiated ,uestions and ,uestioning #ehaviors. In effect, different teacher4
initiated ,uestions and ,uestioning strategies have different impacts on students7 language
learning. !hus, studies focusing on specific type of teacher ,uestions and ,uestioning are
necessary and important. *o research on teacher ,uestioning at micro level should receive
more attention from #oth experts and teachers.
With the increasing attention in text studies and text instruction in language
classrooms, text4#ased ,uestioning #y classroom teachers should never #e ignored when
classroom ,uestioning is concerned, #ecause there is a close link #etween text instruction
and the ,uestioning method. !he essence of classroom instruction is #asically a text4#ased
interaction/dialogue #etween the teacher and learners. !ext teaching is an activity or a
process of understanding and even recreating texts. >eading or listening to texts in
text#ooks in the form of dialogues/conversations or short passages are good samples of the
target language in use for students, which present them with models of texts. For non4
native students who learn the target language mainly #y means of text#ooks, texts provide
them with #oth linguistic elements and living language.
!ext instruction is a goal4driven process8 o#taining and interpreting text meaning,
analy6ing and studying linguistic features of texts. !ext4#ased 3FL teaching and learning
has dual orientations8 studying and using language. 5s for the use of language, it indicates
comprehension and production of utterances in the target language. !ext4#ased ,uestioning
is an ideal techni,ue that integrates text understanding and meaning expression8 ,uestions
guide students to make sense of texts and elicit their understanding of texts #y way of oral
production. In other words, text4driven ,uestions re,uire students to express what they
know a#out the texts they contact and deal with. In turn, students7 responses to text4#ased
,uestions reflect to a large extent whether and to what extent they comprehend the given
texts. *tudents7 responses also help #oth the teacher and students themselves perceive the
linguistic competence of learners.
With regard to texts and ,uestions, according to *un 09GGG1, >ichards and +ivesta first
proposed that ,uestions #e attached to texts and students are re,uired to read texts and
answer those text4#ased ,uestions. !ext4#ased ,uestions and ,uestioning have some
advantages8 text4#ased ,uestions guide students and focus their attention on certain text
information: they instruct students to choose appropriate cognitive processing strategies to
tackle with text information. In addition, studies #y $oker and other researchers 0cited in Pi
9GGF8 ;E98 ;E;1 provide evidence of the relationship #etween text learning effects and text4
#ased ,uestions8 when dealing with texts with attached ,uestions, learners achieve #etter
grades in intentional learning than when dealing with texts without any attached ,uestions.
!his manifests that text4#ased ,uestions are used as a form of learning tasks and the result
of text learning with ,uestions as tasks is significantly different from that without
,uestions in terms of intentional learning.
In 3FL classroom text instruction is an intentional pedagogic activity guided #y
teachers. !herefore, the significance of text4#ased ,uestions to text learning, %ust as 'r puts
it, lies in that a text4#ased ,uestion as a learning task is useful for two reasons8 first, it
canprovide the learners with a purpose in text contact and make the whole activity more
interesting and effective: second, we need to know how well our learners are learning, and
we can get this information conveniently through the results of comprehension tasks
0'r9GGE89CB49CH1. In effect, it is possi#le that text4#ased ,uestions and ,uestioning shifts
the classroom style from focusing on teacher to focusing on students, which formally
provide opportunities at which students can speak in a few seconds what otherwise will
have #een spoken #y the teacher in the lecture method. eanwhile, text4#ased ,uestions
are #rought to students as purposeful tasks for them to accomplish, which can motivate
students to a great extent. For teachers, text4#ased ,uestions are used as tasks for text
instruction and also as a kind of effective teaching strategy that, as an external condition,
assists learners in text learning.
*ince text4#ased ,uestions and ,uestioning #y teachers are so important in 3FL
classrooms, empirical research should #e carried out in this respect. !he latest related study
is Pei 0;JJ;1, which investigated senior 3FL teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning in reading
classes. !he limitations of that study lie in that8 firstly, the method of data collection is the
use of ,uestionnaires, which cannot reflect the real situation of teacher text4#ased
,uestioning: secondly, the study only examined types of teacher ,uestions in terms of
cognition as well as wait time. *o, Pei7s study, though a good attempt, fails to achieve good
results of getting a comprehensive picture of teacher text4#ased ,uestioning. !he present
study therefore aims to serve the purpose of helping educators and teachers to have a #etter
understanding of the current situation of text4#ased ,uestions and ,uestioning strategies #y
%unior 3FL teachers in (hina and providing a picture of teacher4initiated text4#ased
,uestioning in %unior 3FL classrooms #y descri#ing what actually happens to text4#ased
,uestioning in several real classrooms. !his study also helps teachers to see themselves
more clearly, #oth their strengths and weaknesses, there#y helping them to raise relevant
awareness of text4#ased ,uestioning and improve their techni,ues. In addition, this study is
intended to provide some insights for pre4service !3FL programs and in4service teacher
pro%ects as well as text ,uestions design in text#ooks. 5lso, it is hoped that this research
can provide some pedagogical and theoretical implications for further studies. 5lthough the
study is concerned with only three cases of %unior 3FL teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning, it
is expected that it can make some contri#utions to the study of text4#ased ,uestioning in
(hina7s 3FL classrooms.
024 5rgani6ation of This Thesis
!he present thesis consists of five chapters8
(hapter @ne gives an introduction to the present study, providing the corresponding
#ackground of the research, the significance of this study and an organi6ation of this paper:
(hapter !wo presents the related literature review and theoretical #asis, concerning
studies on definition/function of ,uestions and ,uestioning: typology of ,uestions:
strategies of ,uestioning: and evaluative considerations of ,uestions and ,uestioning:
(hapter !hree descri#es the research design of this study, presenting research ,uestions
and o#%ectives, information a#out the su#%ects and participants involved in this study,
instruments and procedures adopted in data collection and the framework used in data
presentation and discussion:
(hapter Four is devoted to data description and analysis, focusing on depicting the
features of the su#%ect teachers7 text4#ased ,uestions and ,uestioning #ehaviors and #riefly
analy6ing the merits and shortcomings of those characteristics identified in the data
(hapter Five provides the ma%or findings concerning similarities and differences
among the three teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning. It also draws the conclusions of the study
#y giving some pedagogical implications for pre4and in4service teacher training and text4
#ased ,uestion design in text#ooks, #y providing theoretical implications from this study
and making some suggestions for further studies in this regard in the future.
/hapter ) iterature 3e$ie- 7 Theoretical &asis
!his chapter reviews previous studies in ,uestions and ,uestioning, and supplies a
framework of looking at the various aspects of ,uestions and ,uestioning. It presents the
related literature review and theoretical #asis, concerning studies on definition/function of
,uestions and ,uestioning: typology of ,uestions: strategies of ,uestioning: and evaluative
considerations of ,uestions and ,uestioning.
)20 8efinition9Function of Question 7 Questioning
)2020 8efinition of Question 7 Questioning
)202020 8efinition of Question
What is a ,uestionQ $y common sense it may #e a re,uest for information. $ut it is not
easy to give it a scientific definition. 5ccording to Li D Fan 0;JJ;8 9H;1, many scholars
0e.g. $olinger 9GHF: 2alliday 9GFJ: -uirk 9GF;: (rystal: $rown 9GFF1 propose different
criteria as regards what a ,uestion is in terms of form, function as well as communicating
process. +ifferent researchers 0e.g. $an#rook and *kehan 9GIG: Lynch 9GG9: $orich 9GG;:
'r 9GGE1 have their own ways in expressing what a ,uestion refers to, #ut in essence they
share roughly the same thing.
#r:s definition
5s a language teaching researcher, 'r defines ,uestion in the context of teaching as < a
teacher utterance which has the o#%ective of eliciting an oral response from the learner.=
09GGE8;;G1. In his definition two points are emphasi6ed8 first, ,uestions in the context of
language teaching usually refer to teacher4initiated ,uestions, not student4generated ones:
second, teacher ,uestions function as soliciting and stimulating oral responses from
learners. *o, according to 'r, the key point in identifying a teacher ,uestion in the context
of language classrooms is to find out whether it is intended to solicit speech from students.
ongman:s definition
In Longman +ictionary of the 3nglish Language 0cited in Lynch 9GG98 ;J91, a ,uestion
is defined as a command or an interrogative expression used to elicit information or a
response, or to test knowledge. !his definition is given with two criteria8 form and
function. With regard to the form, this definition stresses that real ,uestions are not
necessarily parallel to grammatical ,uestions: in relation to function, this definition
distinguishes the occasions when we do hope to learn something and those when we want
to know whether the other person knows what we think they ought to know #ecause the
first purpose is to ac,uire knowledge while the second is to measure knowledge.
;oody:s definition
"oody 09GFI, cited in van Lier 9GIC1 points out that ,uestions are speech acts that
place two people in direct, immediate interactions. In so doing they carry messages a#out
relationships 444 a#out relative status, assertions of status and challenge to status. !his
definition highlights the mutual information exchange #etween the ,uestioner and the
3inne:s definition
>inne 09GGF8;FC1 identifies ,uestions #y making a contrast #etween a statement and a
,uestion8 whereas a statement supplies a piece of message, a ,uestion asks for a piece of
message. !he purpose of a ,uestion is to elicit an answer. >inne further contends that in the
teaching context teachers can often control a class more effectively #y asking ,uestions
than #y making statements. 2e also points out that some statements mas,uerade as
,uestions when in fact they contain message they intend to convey and such statements can
#e called <false ,uestions=. >inne7s definition attaches importance to two functions of
,uestions8 seek information #y eliciting an answer: make a control over the class.
)20202) 8efinition of Questioning
!he word <,uestion=, stemming from <,uaerere= 0a Latin word1, means <seek=. "iven
in parts of speech, it is #oth a noun and a ver#. 5s a ver#, it is defined as <ask a ,uestion or
,uestions=. @n the #asis of various definitions of ,uestion listed a#ove, it seems that to
,uestion is to use a ,uestion/,uestions. In effect, using a ,uestion or ,uestions is
considered as an activity or a process. In this procedural sense, +illon 09GII8EC1 provides
the following illustration to show the whole picture of a ,uestioning activity8
Pedagogy of teacher ,uestions
Prepare the ,uestions
9. Purpose4444what are the ,uestions forQ
;. Preparation444how to read them for the askingQ
Pose the ,uestions
B. -uestion444how to pose the ,uestionQ
C. 5nswer444who is to answerQ
H. >eaction444what to do with the answerQ
>eflect on ,uestions
E. 5ssessment444how did the ,uestions workQ
F. >edesign444which next ,uestions will workQ
)202024 Summary
>egarding the definition of a ,uestion, nearly all those definitions are given with
consideration over the teaching context. any other researchers 0e.g. $rown D
3dmondson9GIC: van Lier9GII: $orich9GG;:1 contend that instructional ,uestions are
distinguished from conversational ones #y their eliciting function, not #y their linguistic
form. !he nature of an instructional ,uestion is essentially a ver#al stimulus that elicits a
ver#al response. 2ence, a ,uestion can #e descri#ed as any oral statement or gesture
intended to evoke a student response in classroom ,uestioning.
5s for ,uestioning, in +illon7s view, the scheme of teacher ,uestioning #egins with
preparing the ,uestions, continues through posing the ,uestions and ends in reflecting on
the ,uestions. @#viously, +illon positions that teacher ,uestioning is a complete process
constituted #y advance preparation, class implementation and post4class reflection. !his
framework of classroom teacher ,uestioning is so far the most comprehensive one, which
can help researchers as well as practicing teachers to o#serve, descri#e, analy6e and
interpret the features and aspects of classroom teacher4and4student exchanges in
,uestioning activities.
)202) Functions of Questions 7 Questioning
)202)20 Functions in the !acro-sense
In a macro4sense, one view holds that <,uestioning helps promote a student4centred
learning environment= while maintaining a goal4focused activity, leading teaching away
from the lecturing method full of teacher talk occupying most of the class time towards
setting the stage and drawing students into dialogues et al. 9GGG1. any
researchers 0e.g. Mim D Mellough 9GFI: organ D ario9GII: ac+onald 9GG9: $urden
D $yrd 9GGI1 advocate that ,uestioning can encourage classroom dialogues, direct the
flow of conversations, promote discussions. !herefore, ,uestions can #e used as classroom
conversation/dialogue enhancers. !his implies that one way to switch from teacher4centred
instruction to student4centred instruction is through the use of ,uestions. -uestioning is
#asic to good communications and lies at the heart of good interactive teaching, or dialogic
instruction, though such communication in students7 perspective remains <remarka#ly
restricted= 0eighan, >oland 9GIE8 9HF1 #ecause teachers have the privilege to control
over every aspect of instructional communications such as what to talk a#out, who to
speak, when and how long to talk, etc..
In language pedagogy, it is also assumed that <one of the interactional features that is
more or less universal characteristic of teacher talk is ,uestions= 03llis9GGJ8 FI1. 5n
important dimension of classroom interaction #etween the language teacher and the
learners is through teacher ,uestions 0!hompson 9GGF8 GG: !sui ;JJ9, cited in (arter et al.
;JJ91 #ecause teacher ,uestions <provide necessary stepping stones for
communication=0$rown 9GGC8 9EH1. *tevick 09GII89;;1 holds that of all the techni,ues
availa#le to teachers for moving their students toward real conversation teacher ,uestions
are the ,uickest and easiest.
$esides the role of ,uestions/,uestioning in esta#lishing student4centeredness,
researchers also generali6e ma%or functions of ,uestions/,uestioning. For instance, (ohen
et al. 09GGE1 summari6es that teachers use ,uestions for three reasons8
cognitive/intellectual reasons 0concerning the su#%ect matter of the lesson1,
emotional/social reasons 0to cater for different personalities1 and managerial reasons 0to
minimi6e #ad #ehavior and to keep students on task1. *imilarly, Mauchak D 3ggen 09GII1
group various functions of teacher ,uestions into three #road areas8 diagnostic,
instructional, and motivational. Pollard D !ann 09GGB8 ;;I4;;G1 also advance that of
,uestioning functions two main categories8 psycho4social and pedagogic. Psycho4social
,uestions centre on relationships #etween children or #etween a teacher and the children
#y encouraging shy mem#ers or integrating #y participation, showing interest in and value
for group mem#ers, developing respect for each other7s views, and implementing routines
and procedures. Pedagogic ,uestions relate to more specifically educational concerns, and
to the teaching and learning of skills, attitudes, concepts and knowledge.
)202)2) Functions in the !icro-sense
In a micro4sense, the use of ,uestions serves diverse specific pedagogic purposes.
!eachers should #e informed a#out why they ask ,uestions in classrooms. *everal studies
have #een carried out to search out the actual reasons for teacher ,uestions. In Pate D
$remer7s study 09GEF1, 9GJ elementary teachers were asked to each provide reasons for
asking ,uestions and the results are8 EGR emphasi6ed the use of ,uestions to check
understanding and knowledge to aid teaching, HCR were concerned with diagnosing
pupils7 difficulties, CFR stressed the recall of facts, and only 9JR highlighted the use of
,uestions to encourage pupils to think. 5nother study #y !hanarrootoo 09GI9, cited in
$rown D 3dmondson 9GIC1 investigated experienced teachers why they presented
,uestions in class and all the teachers replied that they used ,uestions to gain information
#ut they asked ,uestions of pupils either to test knowledge or maintain control. It appears
that the ma%ority of teachers don7t exploit ,uestions mainly for evoking learners7 higher
thought processes over time.
$rown D 3dmondson7s 09GII1 investigation into reasons for asking ,uestions shows
that teachers7 reasons for using ,uestions vary with the su#%ect #eing taught and the level
of class8 the teachers with high a#ility classes tended to use ,uestions to gain attention and
encourage thinking most fre,uently: teachers of medium4a#ility classed reported more
checking and revision purposes in using ,uestions, whereas teachers of low4a#ility classes
were likely to stress understanding and management. !eachers of mixed4a#ility classes
were inclined to emphasi6e understanding, gaining attention to moving towards teaching
points, management and revision. 5mong all the teachers in the sample, the most common
reasons were8 thought4provoking, comprehension checking, attention gaining, revision and
management. $esides, teachers of different su#%ects highlight different functions in
,uestioning. !hus, teachers with different class level and different su#%ects may have
different intentions when asking ,uestions.
5 variety of functions teacher ,uestions can perform have #een listed #y experts and
researchers 0e.g. !urney 9GFB, cited in $rown D 3dmondson 9GII: $ull D *olity 9GIF:
Lemlech 9GII: +illon 9GII: 2olden 9GIG: $orich 9GG;: *otto 3ric 9GGC: @rnstein 9GGH:
>ichards D Lockhart 9GGE: $urden D $yrd 9GGI: (hris Myriacou 9GGG: *iyakwa6i D
*iyakwa6i 9GGG1. "i##ins draws a conclusion on the use of teacher ,uestions thus saying8
-uestions are an essential part of every lesson. !hey ensure that the pupils take an active part in the
lesson and they are the #est guide for the teacher in finding out how much the class understands the
lesson. 'sed properly, they also encourage children to form the most important ha#it of thinking
logically 0cited in *iyakwa6i D *iyakwa6i 9GGG8HJ1.
)202)24 Summary
!eacher ,uestions in classroom circumstances #ear important pedagogical purposes and
therefore they should have teaching and learning values. In students7 perspectives, as
+illon puts it, <we perform as teachers=, <we are using ,uestions for learning= 09GII8 HH1.
!he critical fact in why teachers pose ,uestions is that the teacher is asking ,uestions when
speaking. In turn the students speak in answers. @ne #road purpose is to set students in
talking, that is, to stimulate their responding and class participation so as to do various
things with the talk in response. !herefore, it can #e said that teacher ,uestions as well as
student responses <provide #oth teachers and students with valua#le feed#ack a#out
learning process=03ggen D Mauchak 9GGF, cited in .aco#sen et al. 9GGG1, which can help
teachers ad%ust content and expression in su#se,uent teacher talk. In teachers7 perspectives,
,uestioning assists a teacher to #ecome and remain flexi#le and responsive to students, a
critical characteristic of effective teaching 0@7Meefe D .ohnston 9GIE, cited in .aco#sen et
al. 9GGG1
In language classrooms, elicitation is a common feature of classroom teacher ,uestions.
In other words, ,uestions are the most widely used way of getting learners to speak. 5s
language teachers, their motive in ,uestioning is usually to get learners to #e engaged with
the target language material actively through speech and pushed output are re,uired of
students #y the teacher using ,uestions. In this sense, ,uestioning in language lessons
provide opportunities for learners to practice the target language to express their
understanding of the material they are gaining. !hus, ,uestioning in language classes
integrates comprehension and production. !eacher ,uestions re,uire responses and
therefore they serve as a means of o#liging learners to contri#ute to the interaction 0c.f.
Lynch 9GIG: &unan 9GG9: (ross 9GG9: 'r 9GGE1. +illon7s words are %ust to this point8 @nly
education seems to #elieve that asking ,uestions of Sclients7 KlearnersL would stimulate
thoughtfulness and encourage expression= 0+illon 9GII8ix1.
)2) Typology of Questions
)2)20 /riteria of Question /lassification
5ccording to >ichards D Lockhart 09GIE8 9IH1, ,uestions can #e classifed in many
different ways 0ehan 9GFG: *inclair D $ra6il 9GI;: White D Light#own 9GIC1, and as
researchers have o#served, it is sometimes difficult to arrive at discrete and directly
o#serva#le categories 0$an#rook D *kehan 9GIG1. .ust as 3llis 09GGC8 HII1 makes the
point, whereas there are few pro#lems in assigning teachers7 ,uestions to formal
categories, difficulties do arise with functional/communicative or cognitive categories,
which are <high inference= and often call for su#stantial interpretative work on the part of
the analysist on the #asis of the familarity with the context where ,uestioning occurs. 3ven
in the same context, different people may have different approaches to the same ,uestion.
&evertheless, it is found that much of the research work on ,uestions has #een centred on
developing taxonomies to descri#e different genres. !hus far, researchers have attained
many systems of ,uestion classification according to different criteria. !o put all the
threads together, those standards cover four aspects8 grammatical form, communicative
value, content orientation and cognitive level.
)2)2020 /riterion 1: ;rammatical Form
In terms of the linguistic resources which a student needs in order to give the shortest
possi#le correct and natural answer, %ust in traditional grammar, ,uestions are usually
classified into general ,uestions, special ,uestions, alternative ,uestions and
dis%unctive/tag ,uestions. 2owever, most scholars do not mention all the four interrogative
sentences when addressing types of ,uestions in terms of syntactic features.
*ome researchers in their classifications of ,uestions emphasi6e only two types of
,uestions8 wh4,uestions and yes/no ,uestions 0c.f. Paulston D $ruder 9GFE: "ower et al.
9GGH8 9BG, cited in !hompson 9GGF: !hompson 9GGF: >ichards 9GGI8 GB1.
2owever, a taxonomy consisting of three types are also availa#le. +off 09GII1, *tevick
09GII1, 2akansson D Lind#erg 09GII, cited in 3llis 9GGC8 HII1 and (ross 09GG91 discuss
three groups of ,uestions8 91 yes/no ,uestions or nexus ,uestions, which expect affirmation
or negation: ;1 <or7 /alternative/choice ,uestions, to which students can reply #y merely
echoing one of two options supplied within the ,uestion itself: B1 wh4 / x4s/ information
,uestions, to which students must reply #y coming up with some information which is not
contained within the ,uestions.
)2)202) /riterion 11: /ommunicati$e <alue
(lassroom teacher ,uestions play various roles 0cf. ;.9.;.1. With more concern with
communication in language classrooms, a further distinction #etween procedural,
referential and display ,uestions has #een made #y some researchers.
5s to procedural ,uestions, also termed <social ,uestions= 0$arnes 9GEG: 9GFE: cited in
3llis 9GGC8 HIF1, <managerial ,uestions= 0Zhang 9GIC, cited in Pan ;JJJ1, or <instruction
,uestions=0Wang et al.;JJ91, they refer to those lesson4oriented ,uestions that have to do
with classroom procedures and routines, and classroom management, as opposed to those
concerning the content of learning #ut are necessary complements to the text4oriented
,uestions. !he characteristic features of such ,uestions consist in their purpose in
directing, propelling and managing classroom activities. Wang et al. 0;JJ91 contend that
those ,uestions can serve other functions in developing learners7 pronunciation, intonation,
sense of language and the use of language, which is considered in terms of teachers7
provision of comprehensi#le input and samples of real 3nglish use in the context of
language classrooms.
5ccording to the simple fact of whether the teacher already knows the answer or not,
teacher ,uestion can #e distinguished into <display= and <referential= ,uestions. If s/he
does, the ,uestion is merely intended to prompt the learners to display their text
comprehension and/or command of accurate 3nglish: if s/he does not, the purpose of the
,uestion will normally #e to gain new information. !he category is #ased on
communicative value of teacher ,uestions.
+isplay ,uestions, sometimes called <psudo ,uestions= 0!sui ;JJ91, or <factual
,uestions= 0$org et al. 9GFJ, cited in &unan 9GG91, or <known4information ,uestions=
05llright D $eiley 9GG91, are those used as a means of measuring knowledge students have
ac,uired, which serve the function of feed#ack #oth to teachers and students. !herefore,
display ,uestions are form4oriented or known4information4#ased. In contrast, referential
,uestions, sometimes called <real/genuine ,uestions=0+off 9GII: !sui ;JJ91, are those
used as a means of ac,uiring unknown messages. *o, referential ,uestions are meaning4
Language is a com#ination of form and meaning. In language lessons where the focus
is on form, display ,uestions are likely to predominate whereas in lessons taking a content4
#ased approach to teaching referential ,uestions may #e overwhelmingly used 0see 3llis
9GG;1. !he use of either of two types of ,uestions may have a #earing on learners7 L;
level. &evertheless, researchers 0e.g. !ollefson 9GIG: Lynch 9GG9: 3llis 9GGC: !ale#ine6ahd
9GGG:!sui ;JJ9: etc.1 advocate the use of referential ,uestions in language classrooms,
which are more likely than display ,uestions to contri#ute to an ac,uisition4rich
environment and conform to the recommendation of the communicative use of the target
)2)2024 /riterion 111: /ontent 5rientation
!he dimension of content orientation of a ,uestion is an area that has long #een ignored
in ,uestion/,uestioning studies. *o far, much attention has #een given to the analysis of the
cognitive level and recently of the communicative value of ,uestions, #ut there are still
some researchers who show their concern over the content aspect of ,uestions
@ne of 2akansson D Lind#erg 09GII, cited in 3llis 9GGC8 HII17s category in an
analysis of ,uestion type concerns language/meaning distinction according to whether the
,uestion is focused on the language itself 0medium1 or on the message 0content1. In
language classes, the focus may #e on the content444the information of a given text and
sometimes the focus may #e shifted to the form444the language itself. !herefore, ,uestions
in language lessons are likely to #e either language4oriented or message4oriented.
!ext4#ased ,uestions can #e grouped into a#out4the4text ,uestions and #eyond4the4text
,uestions. !he first type is more #ased on information the text provides explicitly or
implicitly: the second type is more dependent on the learner7s imagination, creativity and
critical thinking. 'sually, ,uestions a#out the text are o#%ective information4#ased whereas
those #eyond the text are su#%ective opinion4#ased. In relation to text comprehension
,uestions or ,uestions a#out the text, many researchers stress that the fundamental and
comprehensive understanding of a text should engage learners with the general idea/gist
and supporting details and that there should #e a #alance #etween glo#al and local
,uestions 0Weir 9GGB: Pang 9GGE: "ao D (hen 9GGE: )u 9GG;: Li 9GGF: etc1. 5lso, other
kinds of information such as facts, opinions, attitudes, tone, purposes are of great
importance in texts comprehending. Information ac,uired at #oth macro and micro level is
essential to a full comprehension of a given text. !his can #e concluded #y Li7s 09GGF8 9EH1
framework of text meaning #eing communicated 0cf. !a#le ;.91.
Table )20: The frame-or, of text meaning communicating
eaning communicated
#y texts
(ategories of meaning
(ategories partial factual attitudinal relational
glo#al conceptual functional ...
.ensen et al. 0;JJJ8BJG4B9J1 and 2u D +ai 09GGI89CI49H;1 classify ,uestions in the
teaching context into8 text ,uestions a#out the material and learner ,uestions a#out
learners7 mind. !he former type is text4#ased ,uestions which are related to the text
information while the latter is schemata4#ased ,uestions that are closely concerned with
learners themselves.
!hompson 09GGF1 categori6es ,uestions into facts and opinions genres8 fact4oriented
,uestions, according to the origin of the information they carry, are su#divided into
,uestions a#out outside/non4personal facts 0information in the text: information in the
situation on which the teaching is #ased: information a#out the world outside the
classroom1 and ,uestions a#out personal facts: opinion4oriented ,uestions refer to those
which re,uire the learner7s personal investment in perspectives and %udgements. In
!hompson7s classification of classroom ,uestions are included #oth su#%ective ,uestions
regarding learners7 thoughts and o#%ective ones concerning facts a#out the text, people and
the world. !he taxonomy shows that the content of teacher ,uestions go #eyond the text
and the classroom into learners7 inner world as well as the outside world. !herefore,
!hompson7s taxonomy of ,uestions in terms of content orientation can #e said to #e so far
the most comprehensive one that can #e exploited to guide practicing teachers in designing
and distri#uting classroom ,uestions at the content level.
)2)202+ /riterion 1<: /ogniti$e e$el
-uestions should <serve to propel the individual along a cognitive developmental
tra%ectory, leading to new knowledge and understanding.=0*igel D Melly, cited in +illon
9GII8 9JH1. !he existing diversified systems of ,uestion classification can fall into two
categories8 those from general education and those from language pedagogy and #ased on
the achievements from the former.
9. Ta+onomies of ,uestions in general education
In general education, most representative and influential hierarchies of ,uestions are
$loom et al. 09GHE1, *anders 09GEE1, "uilford 09GHE1 /"allagher D 5schner 09GEH1, which
are sorted out and listed in !a#le ;.;. $esides those pioneering taxonomies, there are still
others8 !a#a 09GEF1, Laiser D *mith 09GEG1, 2er#er 09GFI1, 2yman 09GFG1, etc. which are
all #uilt on the #asis of those early classifications 0cf. @rlich et al. 9GGJ: oore 9GG;:
@rstein 9GGH1.
@ther researchers 0e.g. (unningham 9GF9, cited in "ruenewald D Pollak 9GGJ8 CG:
>edfield D >ousseau 9GI9, cited in "ood D $rophy 9GG9: "ood D $rophy 9GG9: oore
9GG;: @rstein 9GGH: 5rends 9GGF: .aco#sen et al.9GGG: etc1 distinguish high4/low4level
,uestions, narrow/#road ,uestions, or content /process ,uestions8 ,uestions of the first kind
are usually convergent, simple, factual, which are information ,uestions that re,uire
mental recalling of previously ac,uired knowledge or recognition of specific correct
information: the second type of ,uestions tend to #e thought4provoking, divergent, open,
conceptual, a#stract, complex, which are opinion/%udgement4oriented ones that involve
mental processes in creativity, analysis, synthesis and valuing/evaluation, pro#lem4solving.
-uestions of these two kinds are #oth important in learning. Factual ,uestions esta#lish
students an information #ase that will #e used in higher4order mental operations. !hought4
provoking ,uestions are the extension and ela#oration of lower4order ,uestions. 2ence,
#oth types of ,uestions are mutually dependent on each other.
Table )2): Taxonomies of =uestions in general education
$loom et al. 09GHE1 *anders 09GEE1 "uilford 09GHE1 /"allagher D
5schner 09GEH1
!o know
!o comprehend
!o apply
!o analy6e
!o synthesi6e
!o evaluate
9. For the source of $loom7 and *ander7s, cf. @rlich et al. 09GGJ1, 5rends 09GGF1, @rnstein 09GGH1,
oore 09GG;1, "ruenewald et al. 09GGJ1.
;. For "uilford7s, cf. oore 09GG;1.
B. For "allagher D 5scher7s, cf. @rnstein 09GGH1.
;. Ta+onomies of ,uestions in language teaching
$arnes 09GEG,9GFE, cited in (haudron 9GII: 9;E49;F and 3llis 9GGC8 HIF1, on a #asis
of his o#servation in secondary school classrooms in $ritain, makes a distinction #etween
Sclosed reasoning ,uestions7 that are framed with only one accepta#le answer which is
convergent in character, and Sopen reasoning ,uestions7 which permit a num#er of different
accepta#le answers which are divergent in nature. *uch two types of ,uestions are often
called close4ended/open4ended or in short close/open ,uestions. 5 similar contrast is made
#y some L; researchers #etween Sspecific7 and Sgeneral7 information ,uestions8 specific
,uestions expect a particular, usually #rief, closed set of responses while general ,uestions
are those which leave open the nature and length of the expected responses 0cf. &aiman et
al. 9GFI: $ialystok et al. 9GFI.: cited in (haudron 9GII1.
Moivukari 09GIF, cited in 3llis 9GGC: HIF1 from the perspective of depth of cognitive
processing, classifies ,uestions into8 rote ,uestions refer to those calling for the
reproduction of content, which are considered to operate at the surface level:
comprehension ,uestions include those calling for the reproduction of content, i.e.
recognition or identification of information of a text, and those calling for the
generali6ation of new content, i.e. production of new information #ased on old
5s to the cognitive dimension of text4driven ,uestions, several systems have emerged
0cf. !a#le ;.B1.
*o far it is still not clear how the #rain operates when one is comprehending a given
text and no one can exactly tell analy6ing, synthesi6ing, logic reasoning and
critical/appreciative thinking apart. !herefore, *tevick 09GII8 9;B49;C1 provides three
types of text4driven ,uestions according to where a student goes in order to find the reply
to a text ,uestion8 91 use #oth words and information taken directly from the text. !he
information and words of the answer are all in the text.: ;1 draw on information from the
text, #ut not on its actual wording8 text contains the information needed #ut not the words:
B1 use wording from within the text, #ut the information must come from outside8 text does
not contain the information needed. ehan 09GFJ, cited in "ruenewald D Pollak 9GGJ8 H91
also classifies the intellectual operations on a given text into three levels8 level one, Sread
the line7: level two, Sread #etween the lines7: level three, Sread #eyond the lines7. In other
words, those #eyond4the4text ,uestions are at the level of Sread #eyond the lines7 0i.e.,
application, invention, evaluation, appreciation ,uestions1 while text comprehension
,uestions are at two progressive levels8 Stextually explicit7 and Stextually implicit7.
5ccording to .ensen et al. 0;JJJ8 BJG1, Stextually explicit7 ,uestions can #e answered #y
ready4made or right4there information printed in the text on the pages, and therefore such
,uestions are sometimes called Srecall/factual ,uestions7. 2owever, Stextually implicit7
,uestions may #e responded using information contained in the text #ut the information
might not all #e located in one place and the answer might re,uire the learners to think and
search and then put them together, or even the use of inference.
Table )24: Systems of text-based =uestions in language teaching
Paulston D $ruder 09GFE1 2eaton 09GI;1 !homas $arrett 0cited in !ollefson
9GIG1/&uttall 09GI;1
yes/no ,uestions
,uestions a#out information
directly4,uoted in one spot
information ,uestions
literal comprehension ,uestions
,uestions a#out integrated
information in more than one
comprehension ,uestions reorgani6ation/reinterpretation
implicit information
inference ,uestions
application ,uestions
invention ,uestions
evaluation ,uestions evaluation ,uestions
appreciation/personal response
5nother approach to the examination of cognitive level of text comprehension
,uestions is to refer to Sthe manner of communicating meaning7 in a text, #y which one
can make %udgements a#out what level of intellectual processing each text comprehension
,uestion re,uires 0cf. !a#le ;.C1.
!a#le ;.C indicates that the mental operation of a given text at the comprehension level
has much #earing on how text information is communicated8 91learners employ more
intellectual powers of reasoning in dealing with underlying information than with surface
meaning: ;1they make more efforts in putting together scattering relevant information than
in picking up the right4there information in one spot.
)2)202> Summary
!his section reviews the related research studies on types of ,uestions in general
education as well as in language pedagogy. .ust as !ollefson 09GGI8 E1 puts, typologies
such as $loom7s 09GHE1 or "allagher D 5schner7s 09GEB1 were not specifically designed to
#e used as training instruments to improve teachers7 ,uestions, nor were they developed
respectively for language classrooms. 5s a result, they are not easily adapted for analy6ing
teachers7 classroom ,uestions in 3*L/3FL classes. It is the same with most other
taxonomies of ,uestions #y language experts. In this respect, it should #e acknowledged
that in language classrooms the distinction #etween ,uestions focusing on form/language
and ,uestions concerning meaning/content is first and foremost. !hen what follows is to
esta#lish different cognitive hierarchies for the identification of the intellectual level of the
corresponding types of ,uestions. 5s for language oriented ,uestions, they are mostly at
the level of memory and application in terms of mental processing: with regard to text4
oriented ,uestions, there are recall, comprehension, identification, reorgani6ation,
inference, application types, and so forth.
In a word, cognition/mind and language are closely linked. Language ac,uisition goes
along with cognitive development. In teacher ,uestions, there should #e a com#ination of
high and lower level cognitive ,uestions, no matter what orientation they have, in terms of
linguistic form, content, or communicative function. 5lthough the proportion of different
cognitive ,uestions is largely dependent on the teaching goals and the learners7 level, a
mixture of teacher ,uestions of various cognitive levels should #e always an important and
practical principle in teacher ,uestion construction and implementation.
Table )2+: 1ntellectual processing in text comprehension
!ypes of comprehension literal comprehension inferential comprehension
anner of communicating
explicit/direct/straighforward/at the
locali6ed/in one
dispersed /in more
than one spot
(ognitive processing recognition/
finding out
&ote8 !he a#ove diagram is designed on the #asis of the work #y Li 09GGF1, 2u D +ai 09GGI1, Zhou
et al. 0;JJJ1, 5lderson D Lukmani 09GIG8 ;EJ, cited in Zhou et al. ;JJJ1, Paulston D $ruder 09GFE1,
Weir 09GGB1, Pang 09GGE1, .ensen et al. 0;JJJ1, 2eaton 09GG91, etc.
)2)2) Fre=uency of Types of Questions
From the a#ove review, it can #e said that researchers have classified ,uestions from
various perspectives and that different sorts of ,uestions serve diversified functions and
distinct types of ,uestions expect varied kinds of responses. !he focus in this section will
#e on he issue what practicing teachers have #een really done with their ,uestions in #oth
content su#%ects and language classes from the past to the present day and the related
studies will #e reviewed.
)2)2)202 Fre=uency of Question Types in Terms of /ognition
5s regards the cognitive level of teacher ,uestions, early studies in the west such as
2aynes 09GCH1, (orey 09GCJ1 and $arnes 09GF91 0cited in Walkin 9GIF: 3llis 9GGJ1
estimate that FJR4IJR of all ,uestions re,uire the simple recall of known facts while only
;JR4BJR call for the higher4order intellectual functioning of classifying, expanding,
generali6ing and making inferences 0cited in $orich 9GG;1. @thers suggest that only a#out
H percent of teacher ,uestions can #e categori6ed as divergent or high4level, whereas IH
percent or more of teacher ,uestions are at the recall level 0+owning D "ifford 9GGE, cited
in .ensen D Miley ;JJJ1. 3ven in "allagher7 study 09GEH1 #ased on classrooms with gifted
students, it revealed that of the total ,uestions of the teacher, more than HJR were
cognitive4memory ,uestions, with convergent ,uestions the second most fre,uently asked
and few divergent or evaluative ,uestions asked 0cited in @rlosky 9GI;1.
$oth Panike7s 09GFH1 and Wragg7s 09GIJ1 review of the research into teacher
,uestioning in classrooms show that, for every five ,uestions teacher ask, three 0EJR1
re,uired data recall 0that is, those are all cognitive4memory ,uestions1, one 0;JR1 was
managerial 0procedural ,uestions1, and only one 0;JR1 provoked higher level thinking
0thought4provoking ,uestions1 0cited in Wragg 9GIC: "ruenewald D Pollak 9GGJ1.
(hina is no exception in im#alance in the use of teacher ,uestion types. any reports
in recent years 0e.g. *hi ;JJJ: Wang ;JJ9: -iu ;JJ;: *u ;JJ;: )ie et al. ;JJ;: etc.1 show
that despite of the #ig ,uantity of teacher ,uestions in the (hinese context, they are
overwhelmingly at the low cognitive level. In other words, factual /rote ,uestions
constitute approximately IJR of the total teacher ,uestions and thought4provoking ones
are rarely o#served.
It appears that whether in (hina or in other parts of the world, it is a common
phenomenon that teachers worldwide are #eing overusing and even misusing far more
closed, factual, lower4level ,uestions than open, thought4provoking, higher4level ones.
>esearch findings show that most classroom ,uestions are on the mnemonic level: high4
level ,uestions only from a small percentage or are rather rarely noticed. 5s #oth $org et
al.09GFJ, cited in "ood D $rophy 9GG9: &unan 9GG91 and $orich 09GG;1 point out, despite
the demonstrated need for more variety in the use of teacher ,uestion type, evidently little
has changed in types of teacher ,uestions in more than half a century since *trevens7
pioneering work on ,uestioning in 9G9;.
)2)2)2) Fre=uency of Types of Question in Terms of Function
*peaking of the fre,uency of teacher ,uestions in terms of purpose, research studies in
the west mainly focus on the identification of the fre,uency of display/referential ,uestions
#y teachers. 5 num#er of studies in L; classrooms have shown that in 3*L teachers7
classroom ,uestioning patterns, 3*L teachers ask more display than referential ,uestions
0&unan 9GG91. In Long D *ato 09GIB cited in 3llis 9GG;1, the ma%ority of teacher ,uestions
0CFE, IER1 were display ,uestions, which outnum#ered referential ,uestions 09;I, 9CR1.
Pica D Long7s study 09GIE1 adopted a similar position, in which #oth experienced and
inexperienced teachers showed a remarka#le preference for display ,uestions 0c.f.
(haudron 9GII: !ollefson 9GIG:5llright D $ailey 9GG9: etc1. !his significant finding was
corro#orated #y further and other studies in this respect 0e.g. White D Light#own 9GIC,
3arly 9GIH, +insmore 9GIH, >amire6 et al. 9GIE, .ohnston 9GGJ, White 9GG;, etc. cited in
(haudron 9GII: 3llis 9GGC:1.
2owever, not every finding is conclusive. 3ven in Long D *ato7s study 09GIB1, one
su#%ect teacher in their samples was found to have asked more referential ,uestions than
display ones. .ohnson 09GGJ1 also reported that EJR of the ,uestions asked #y three
teachers on content classrooms were display. $ut one of them divided her ,uestions of the
two genres 0display/referential1 more or less e,ually 03llis 9GG;1. $esides, $rulhart 09GIE,
cited in a 9GGI1 has found a significant higher fre,uency of display ,uestions and a
significantly lower fre,uency of referential ,uestions with #eginner students than with
advanced ones. White 09GG;, cited in 3llis 9GGC1 found that one of his su#%ect teachers
used more referential ,uestions with a high4level class and more display ,uestions with a
low4level class, #ut the other sample teacher in the same study followed the opposite
pattern. 5ll these seem to indicate that there exists great variation of the distri#ution of
display and referential ,uestions asked #y inter4and intra4teachers due to various reasons.
*tudies in this regard are also availa#le in (hina #oth in higher, secondary and
elementary education. 5t the tertiary level, Zhao7s 09GGI1 investigation on eight college
3FL reading lessons in teacher4centred classrooms indicates that closed/display ,uestions
are excessively more than open/referential ones, with the total ratio B;J8 ; and six of eight
sample teachers used closed/display ,uestions only. a7s study 09GGI1 into four university
intensive reading classes confirms the previous general findings #ut it finds that there may
#e the tendency that teachers with high4a#ility students may ask more referential ,uestions
than teachers with low4a#ility learners. 5nother study #y Zhou D Zhou 0;JJ;1 reported
that in college student4centredness 3FL classrooms the teachers were found to have used
fewer ,uestions focusing on language points and there#y referential /open ,uestions were
increased and outnum#ered display/closed ones.
!he investigations in a large scale into teacher ,uestions at elementary and secondary
level in (hina can #e found in Wang et al.09GGG: ;JJ9a: ;JJ9#1, in which more than thirty
3FL teachers who participated in the national high4,uality 3FL class contests were
o#served in classrooms with learners at various levels 0primary, %unior and senior1. !he
fre,uency of the use of teacher ,uestion type in terms of function is summari6ed #elow8
Table )2>: Fre=uency of teacher =uestion type in terms of function
Learner level !ype of teacher ,uestions in terms of function !otal
text4#ased ,uestions genuine
the primary level FBG
the %unior level EH9
the senior level ;FJ
!he a#ove statistic data as well as the reports #y Wang et al. indicates that 91 at the
primary level, procedural ,uestions occurred more fre,uently than was expected: real
,uestions constitute BC.99R of the total teacher ,uestions: display ,uestions for the texts
were no more than 9J.BBR and there were no referential ,uestions nor evaluative
,uestions: ;1 at the %unior level, procedural ,uestions constitute more than one third of the
teacher ,uestions in total: of text4#ased ,uestions 9C.IGR #elonged to display ones and
referential and evaluative ,uestions occurred less fre,uently with a small ratio in amount:
B1 at the senior level, of the total teacher ,uestions managerial ,uestions were fewer than
one seventh: ;9.JER were real ,uestions: the ma%ority were text4#ased ,uestions with
display ones far more than referential and evaluative ones.
@n the whole, all these data suggest that procedural ,uestions were used too much with
a high proportion of the total teacher ,uestions at the lower level of student grades and
gradually reduced along with the increase of student grades. 5lso, real ,uestions are
highlighted in the primary and %unior 3FL lessons #ut are infre,uently o#served in senior
classes. In addition, text4#ased ,uestions, along with the upgrading of student levels, are
increasingly stressed #y teachers. 2owever, nearly all the ,uestions are at the lowest level
of comprehension cognition and referential/evaluative ,uestions stimulating students to do
deep mental operations are rather small in num#er and rarely o#served in the classes. !hese
findings can #e further supported #y other empirical studies at a small scale 0e.g. Zhao
;JJ;: "ao ;JJ;: "uo ;JJ;1.
In addition, two other comparative studies are note4worthy. Wang et al. 0;JJ;1
compared the ,uestions of four foreign and four (hinese teachers of 3nglish who taught
students at %unior and senior grade two, the results of which show that the foreign teachers
used far more referential ,uestions than the (hinese counterparts and that the (hinese
teachers deployed far more display ,uestions than their foreign counterparts. !hese
findings imply that the (hinese teachers attach great importance to language knowledge
and input whereas the foreign teachers emphasi6e language use #y interactional meaning
negotiation #etween the teacher and learners. Luo 09GGG1, #ased on the recorded classroom
teaching data, made a comparison #etween a good in4service and a pre4serve 3FL teacher
in terms of their teacher ,uestions and discovered that of the good teacher7s ,uestions open
ones are approximately parallel to and even slightly more than closed ones 0E98HC1: of the
student teacher7s ,uestions, closed ones are four times as many as open ones. It seems that
inexperienced teachers are more inclined to resort to lower4level ,uestions merely and
fewer higher4level ,uestions if possi#le whereas experienced teachers are adept in using
low4order ,uestions and exploit more ,uestions that re,uire deep and divergent thinking.
)2)2)24 Fre=uency of Question Types in Terms of Form
With relation to the fre,uency of teacher ,uestions in terms of the grammatical form,
Long 09GIB1 found that the fre,uencies of types of ,uestions 0such as yes/no, wh4, un4
inverted and tag ,uestions1 are significantly different in the speech of native speakers to
non4native speakers and of native speakers to non4native speakers on the same task. In Pica
D Long 09GIE1, their results reveal a slight #ut non4significant trend that the relative
fre,uency of wh4,uestions is higher and of yes/no ,uestions is lower in 3*L classroom talk
than in the informal conversation. 2owever, in #oth settings there are more yes/no than
wh4,uestions, which is similar to that in Long 09GIB1.
2owever, a7s 09GGI1 investigation into four college 3FL regular intensive reading
teachers provides findings that there are significant differences in the fre,uencies of
,uestion types in the speech of the su#%ect teachers8 more wh4,uestions were asked than
the other two types 0yes/no and uninverted ,uestions1 in general: the four teachers
individually also had the same tendencies to ask more wh4,uestions. a 7s findings 09GGI1
are not uni,ue and can #e confirmed #y other studies 0e.g. Luo 9GGG1. *uch results are
,uite contrary to those in the studies #y Long 09GIB1 and Pica D Long 09GIE1, that is,
teachers use more yes/no ,uestions than wh4,uestions. !his contrast of the results in
findings may #e attri#uted to the difference in lesson types whose focuses are found to #e
placed on different goals of language teaching.
)2)2)2+ Summary
In this section we have reviewed the fre,uency of distinct types of teacher ,uestions
in terms of cognitive level, communicative value and linguistic form. It is found that the
reality is far from what methodologists and theoreticians have #een argua#ly advocating
and that a great im#alance exists in the use of ,uestion type. *ome conclusions might #e
drawn #elow8
91 related studies of the cognitive level of teacher ,uestions show that lower4order
,uestions are more fre,uently exploited than high4order ones in classrooms:
;1 investigations into the communicative value of teacher ,uestions indicate that
generally speaking, real/referential ,uestions are less o#served than display ones and
display ,uestions #eing used are usually at the lower4level of thinking. !his is highly
consistent with 91:
B1 studies on the linguistic types of teacher ,uestions have mixed results8 some studies
report that teachers use more yes/no ,uestions than wh4,uestions: however, other studies
claim that wh4,uestions are significantly more adopted #y teachers than other types of
,uestions. Perhaps, as research studies suggest, there are many factors that exert influence
on the fre,uency of teacher ,uestion types8 topic #eing talked a#out, teaching experience,
student level, teaching goal, teaching context, etc. !herefore, the inconsistent findings need
to #e further interpreted #y finding out the a#ove4mentioned factors.
&evertheless, teachers should #e encouraged to vary the types of their classroom
,uestions instead of always overusing certain kinds of ,uestions. For instance, .ensen D
Miley 0;JJJ1 advance that teachers should ask at least twice as many higher4order
,uestions as lower4order ones. $rophy D "ood 09GIE, cited in 5rends 9GGF8 ;JE1 also
conclude that a large proportion 0perhaps as high as three4fourths1 of teacher ,uestions
should #e at a level that will elicit correct responses: the other one4fourth should #e at a
level of difficulty that will elicit some replies from students, even if the answers are
incomplete. *imilarly, *anders 09GEE, cited in 2udgins 9GF98 9EE1 has produced a guide
for teachers to assist them in asking ,uestions at a variety of cognitive levels, suggesting as
rule of thum# that teachers aim at devoting at least one4third of the class time to
,uestioning at levels a#out memory.
)24 Strategies of Questioning
)2420 Se=uencing
)242020 8efinition and Significance
*e,uencing refers to the way a series of classroom ,uestions are arranged and ordered
with the following one #uilding on the previous one. In "ood D $rophy7s terms,
se,uencing reflects <the interconnectedness of ,uestions= 09GG98CIJ1.
any experts advocate that ,uestions should #e asked logically and se,uentially. !hat
is, ,uestioning should #e implemented in a logical and systematic way. 3ach ,uestion must
#e related to students7 answers to the previous one. <-uestions and answers should #e used
as stepping stones to the next ,uestion= 0@rnstein 9GGH8 9FI1 and randomly %uxtaposed
,uestions lacking clear focus and intent should #e avoided 0$urden D $yrd 9GGG1 #ecause
such se,uencing confuses learners and hinders their learning. "ood D $rophy state more
clearly, <If ,uestions are intended as teaching devices and not merely as oral test items,
they should #e asked in carefully planned se,uences with teachers o#taining answers to
each ,uestion and integrating each answer with previously one #efore moving on to the
next ,uestion=09GG98CFG1. 5sking ,uestions in an appropriate se,uence <contri#utes to
continuous learning= 0@rnstein 9GGH8 9FI1, thus <enhancing student thinking and
promoting learning= 0Wilen 9GG98 9J1. !herefore, ,uestions should never #e asked
hapha6ardly in the hope that students will reach an insight somewhere along the line
05venant 9GIE8 ;CE1.
)24202) Patterns of Se=uencing
*tudies of se,uences of sections of lessons are relatively sparse 0cf. +unkin D $iddle
9GFC1. *mith D eux 09GFJ1 explored se,uences in transcripts of lessons in the '*5 and
in the same year Wright D &uthall 09GFJ1 followed suit #y using their notions to make an
investigation in &ew Zealand. $oth studies discover that one of the most commonest
se,uences teachers adopt is a Sgeneral to specific7 approach, which is found to #e a
successful strategy in ,uestioning. In detail, it is a type of ,uestion se,uencing which starts
with open /divergent ,uestions and ends with closed/convergent ones 0see $orich 9GG;:
3dmondson D $rown 9GIC1. >edfield D >ouseau7s 09GI9, cited in $orich 9GG;1 reviews
on many studies further confirm that this funneling se,uence is most fre,uently adopted #y
practicing teachers.
$rown D 3dmondson 09GIC1 conducted an investigation of BE teachers in 'M. In this
study, they did not attempt to identify se,uence through a lesson. Instead, they invited the
teachers to provide their own examples of se,uences of ,uestions that those sample
teachers used as well as the context in which the se,uences were exploited #y them. @n a
#asis of such data, $rown D 3dmondson made classifications and identified eight types of
,uestion se,uencing which are listed #elow8
Table )2?: Types of =uestion se=uencing
!ype +escription
3xtending 5 string of ,uestions of the same type and on the same topic
3xtending D lifting Initial ,uestions re,uest examples and instances of the same type, followed #y
a leap to a different type of ,uestions: a common se,uence is likely to #e
recall, simple deduction and description leading to reasons, hypothesis
Funneling $egins with open ,uestions and proceeds to narrow down to simple
deductions and recall or to reasons and pro#lem solving
*owing D reaping Pro#lem posed, open ,uestions asked, followed #y more specific ,uestions
and restatement of initial pro#lem
*tep4#y4step up 5 se,uence of ,uestions moving systematically from recall to pro#lem
solving, evaluation or open4ended
*tep4#y4step down $egins with evaluation ,uestions and moves systematically through pro#lem
solving towards direct recall
&ove4dive $egins with evaluation and pro#lem solving and then moves straight to simple
*ource8 <5sking -uestions= #y ". $rown D >. 3dmondson, in 3. Wragg 09GIC1, (lassroom !eaching
*kills, pp G9499G.
5ccording to the $rown and 3dmond study, the commonest one among the a#ove
patterns of ,uestion se,uencing is Sextending and lifting7. !his study also evidences that
some teachers always utili6e only one certain type of se,uence while some other teachers
deploy more than one pattern in their ,uestion se,uencing.
Palmer 09G9F1 suggests that ,uestions should #e se,uenced from easy to difficult. 2e
proposes a pattern of ,uestion se,uencing from the perspective of the cognitive demands
of syntactical structures of ,uestions. In his point of view, ,uestions should #e arranged in
the following se,uence8 yes4no ,uestions: tag ,uestions: choice ,uestions: who/what
,uestions re,uiring the su#%ect: what/whom ,uestions re,uiring the o#%ect: where
,uestions: why ,uestions answering Sin order to7 0c.f. Zhang 9GGG8 9GF1.
)242024 /onsiderations in Se=uencing
!eaching and learning in practice is so complicated that the issue of ,uestion
se,uencing is not an easy %o#. "ood D $rophy point out that at a certain point in a class
discussion factual ,uestions are important and at other times ,uestions of value and
priority are essential and that the mere logical thinking a#out se,uences of ,uestions is
insufficient when the issue of se,uencing ,uestions is addressed. !hey further argue that
the meaningfulness of information exchange is of critical importance and not the cognitive
level of ,uestions per se. In this sense, even a se,uence of low4level factual ,uestions, if
properly and reasona#ly progressed, can lead to a meaningful exchange of information and
to further insight 0cf. "ood D $rophy 9GG98 CFH4CFE: CFG4CIJ1. !herefore, the emphasis
should go #eyond the apparent cognitive levels of individual ,uestions considered in
isolation from one another and #e placed on the internal se,uence of ,uestions.
It is self4evident that o#%ectives of lessons should #e the key factors to #e considered
when teachers plan the se,uences of their ,uestions. <-uestion se,uence reflects a goal4
seeking process of strategy=0Poung 9GG;1. *o certain se,uences of ,uestions are
appropriate for some concrete purposes at some episodes of a lesson whereas other types of
se,uences are needed to fulfill additional intended lesson orientations. !hus, se,uences that
#egin with higher4order ,uestions and then proceed through several lower4level follow4up
,uestions can #e %ustified at some instructional stages. *e,uences featuring a series of low
level ,uestions followed #y a high4level ,uestion would #e also legitimate at a certain
phase of a lesson 0cf. "ood D $rophy 9GG98 CFE1. !wists and turns in ,uestion se,uencing
should #e rational if they serve the desired purposes. -uestions of the same or different
0cognitive1 type may #e used together in a se,uence. For example, open ,uestions may
lead into more specific ones or several ,uestions may #e asked which seek examples of a
principle already given in the lesson 0$ull D *olity 9GIF8 GE1. !he principle in se,uencing
is that any se,uence should #e relevant to the learning task.
)24202+ Summary
!here is no evidence that one specific se,uencing strategy is any more effective than
any other in promoting student achievement. 5lso, it is unnecessary that teachers adhere
rigidly to a prepared se,uence of ,uestions though planning helps ensure an orderly
progression through the se,uence of o#%ectives. @ther worthwhile topics may #e opened up
#y student ,uestions and these should #e pursued. !herefore, prepared, flexi#le and
responsive se,uences of teacher ,uestions are admira#le.
It is certain that the specific se,uence chosen should depend upon the #ehavioral
o#%ectives, the instructional content and the a#ility level of students. With appropriate
considerations for the essentially relevant factors, all offer a variety of useful strategic
options to the teaching repertoire 0Wilen 9GG9: "ood D $rophy 9GG9: $orich 9GG;1.
!hough se,uencing is of vital importance to ,uestioning practice as well as its
outcomes, there are few empirical data on this point. !herefore, researchers who wish to
understand and improve instruction should study the interconnectedness of ,uestions
0"ood D $rophy 9GG98 CIJ1. !he se,uence identified as well as the arguments a#out them
could provide the #asis of a more detailed study of ,uestions in classrooms, which could #e
used to draw out the implicit psychological models of learning teachers can adopt 0cf.
$rown D 3dmondson 9GIC8 99H1.
)242) Presentation
)242)20 Question Presentation 7 Text /ontact
!he time of text comprehension ,uestion presentation first refers to the se,uence of
,uestion presentation and text contact, i.e. whether the teacher presents the ,uestions
#efore or after students have read/listened to the texts.
!he time of ,uestion presentation and the students7 contact of the text have a close
relationship and it reflects two distinct teaching propositions8 if ,uestions are presented
#efore text exposure, the teacher intends to train or teach students how to tackle texts: if
,uestions are presented after text exposure, the teacher wants to test or check students7
understanding of the texts. In the first case, text comprehension ,uestioning is considered
as a testing device whereas in the second it is regarded as a learning tool 0"ower D *teve
9GIB8 9B91. 5lso, the teacher7s #ehavior of ,uestion presentation #efore or after text
contact has influence on student affect. >ecent research has shown that #y not giving any
task the first time students listen to/read a passage, it can take the anxiety out of
listening/reading 0Wang et al. ;JJ98 IG1. In addition, different se,uences of ,uestion
presentation and text exposure produce different types of learning results 0Pi 9GGF8 ;E94
)242)2) Question Presentation 7 Question 8irection
!he first and perhaps the most o#vious rule a#out ,uestioning is how to frame
,uestions 02olden 9GIG1. 2ow teachers present ,uestions is as important as ,uestions they
ask. Practically two options are open to teachers8 one is, ask a ,uestion #efore calling on a
student or inviting choral response: the other is, nominate a student #efore posing a
,uestion. *uperficially, the difference #etween the two alternatives lies in the se,uence of
nomination and presentation of ,uestions. 2owever, if there is no pause or too short wait
time #etween the teacher7s two moves, then it makes no difference at all. !hat is to say, the
teacher keeps a fast pace in either nomination or asking ,uestions. !herefore, many
researchers 0e.g. (ham#erlin 9GF9: "ower D *teve 9GIB: 5venant 9GIE: Mauchak D
3ggen 9GII: 2olden 9GIG: @rlich et al. 9GGJ: ac+onald 9GG9: oore 9GG;: @rnstein
9GGH: $urden D $yrd 9GGI: .ensen D Miley ;JJJ: etc.1 advocate that #etween nomination
and presenting ,uestions there should #e a reasona#le and ample thinking time. !hus, there
emerges two distinctive patterns of how to frame ,uestions8 se,uence one, nominate a
student444pause444ask a ,uestion: se,uence two, ask a ,uestion444pause444nominate.
With regard to se,uence one, it is applica#le for management or motivational reasons
0Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII1. *pecifically speaking, se,uence one is likely to #e adopted in
three situations8 91 when the teacher wants an inattentive student to respond to a ,uestion,
thus the ,uestion will #e well heard: ;1 when the teacher addresses slow students or if shy
students are called on without #eing warned, so that they can get themselves prepared.
@therwise they may #e shocked #y teacher ,uestions: B1 when the teacher wants to ask a
follow4up ,uestion of a student who has %ust responded 0"roisser 9GEC, cited in "ood D
$rophy 9GG9: oore 9GG;1.
3xperts suggest that without the a#ove4mentioned exceptions or situations, se,uence
one should #e avoided in use. In other words, teachers had #etter not #egin a ,uestion
session #y first calling out a student7s name #efore asking a ,uestion. !here are
disadvantages underlying this pattern of framing ,uestions8 for the rest of the class, as soon
as they hear that the ,uestion has #een put to some#ody, i.e. someone else will #e
responsi#le for the work, they may make less or even no effort, tend to leave the thinking
to the targeted student, their attention lessens, and they are off the hook 0"ower D *teve
9GIB: 5venant 9GIE: 2olden 9GIG: @rnstein 9GGH:1: as for the person who is nominated
#efore the ,uestion is posed, s/he may even panic and switch off without hearing clearly
the ,uestion 0"ower D *teve 9GIB1. !hus, the attention level of the class remains high.
5s far as se,uence two is concerned, the pattern especially with a short pause after the
,uestion and #efore the nomination implies to the entire class the idea that any student in
the classroom may e,ually #e selected for a response to the ,uestion and this encourages
all students to attend to the ,uestion and think a#out the reply 0@rlich et al. 9GGJ: $urden
D $yrd 9GGI1. 5s 5venant 09GIE1 points out, the application of the ,uestion4and4answer
method must #e advantageous to the whole class. It must motivate all the learners to
intellectual operations. 5ll the class should #e given fairly and e,ually time and
opportunities to #e engaged with learning tasks. !hus, presenting a ,uestion first and
following a pause 0sufficient time1 gives all the students the chance to search for and work
out the answer, and students all gain the necessary learning experience #efore they hear it
from one of them. 2owever, without such a pause, students may only get as far as hearing
the ,uestion 0"ower D *teve 9GIB: 5venant 9GIE1. !herefore, pause/wait time #etween
posing a ,uestion and nomination is crucially necessary and of significant importance in
framing ,uestioning when pedagogical implications are considered. 5nd se,uence two
ensures that any ,uestion given #y the teacher is distri#uted to the whole class and suggests
that every student sitting in the classroom is given e,ual opportunities of getting involved
actively in mental participation, for there are limited chances for everyone in #ig classes to
#e called out in each lesson. 2ence, se,uence two #ecomes the #asic rule for framing a
,uestion, which is grounded in the psychological principle that when a ,uestion is asked
and then followed #y a short pause, all students will attend to the communication 0@rlich et
al. 9GG98;JB1.
2owever, in applying se,uence two, teachers should #e cautious. !hey should not ask
the first student who has ,uickly discovered the answer #y putting up his/her hand.
@therwise, students especially those slow thinkers or weaker ones are inclined to stop
trying to think as soon as they hear that the teacher has turned to those ,uicker students.
(onse,uently, the teacher7s ,uestioning in effect is confined to a small proportion of the
class, leaving the rest demotivated 05venant 9GIE1. In order to prevent such things from
occurring, pause time is a critical issue, the topic of which will #e touched in next section.
)242)24 Question Presentation 7 "ait Time
5s mentioned a#ove, pauses #etween ,uestions and nominations are important in
,uestioning. !he technical term for the pause is Swait time7 which is defined as the length
of time the teacher waits after asking the ,uestion #efore calling on a student to answer it,
rephrasing the ,uestion, directing the ,uestion to another student, or giving the answer
0>owe 9GFC, cited in Mindsvatter et al. 9GII, cf. >ichards D Lockhart 9GGE8 9II: also cited
in >ichards D &unan 9GGJ11 or the interval/pause #etween teacher ,uestion and student
response and #etween student response and teacher su#se,uent reaction 05rends 9GGF:
;JF: .aco#sen et al. 9GGG89EB1. *ome experts prefer using Sthinking time7 or <silence7 to
indicate a deli#erate act #y the teacher 0+illon 9GIB8 BI, cited in organ D *axton 9GG98
I;: organ D *axton 9GG98 I;1.
5lthough many studies have found that in all classrooms in all content areas and at all
school levels in various settings, teachers tend to pace instruction much too fast: <the
patterns of ,uestions and responses were remarka#ly alike= 0iller 9G;;, cited in 2udgins
9GF98 9E;49EB: >owe 9GFC#8 I;, in 5rends 9GGF1 and this pattern is even said to #e
<generally resistant to change=0+e!ure 9GIH, cited in Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII1, it is
#elieved that wait time could encourage thought and response and therefore influence the
,uality as well as the ,uantity of teacher4student interaction. 0*wift, "ooding D *wift
9GII8 9GB1. >owe7s experiments 09GEG, 9GFC, 9GFH, 9GIJ, 9GIH, 9GIE1 and su#se,uent
research #y others 05rnold et al. 9GFB: >ice 9GFF: 5nderson 9GFI: !o#in 9GIJ, 9GIF:
!o#in D (apie 9GI9, 9GI;: Wise D @key 9GI9: Fagan, 2assler D *6a#oo 9GI9: *wift D
"ooding 9GIB: etc.1 have confirmed impressive advantages of extended wait time
including #enefits on #oth the teacher and student part, which are outlined in !a#le ;.9;.
*tudents should #e given enough time to think a#out the ,uestion. In order to #e a#le to
perceive the necessary relationship, the pupil must delve around in his/her representational
world, look up old concepts and compare them with new hypotheses a#out the ,uestion,
look for similarities and differences, make decisions, etc., and this takes time. !he teacher
who expects instant answers hinders the pupil7s thinking, encourages them to risk wild and
unscientific guesses and conse,uently wrecks the #asic principles which are essential to in4
context viewing and sta#le extension of the pupil7s knowledge structure 05venant 9GIE8
Table )2@: "ait-time Payoffs
!eacher payoffs *tudent payoffs
+ecrease in teacher talk
+ecrease in the repetition of teacher ,uestions
+ecrease in teacher repetition of student
+ecrease in the total amount of teacher ,uestions
+ecrease in the num#er of low4level ,uestions
Increase in student participation/talk. @r, fewer
non4respondents, more voluntary 0unsolicited #ut
appropriate 1 responses
ore student discourse
Increase in response complexity
Increase in response length
Increase in the num#er of higher4order ,uestions
response/analysis/synthesis ,uestions1
Increase in teacher pro#ing
Increase in anxiety as implementing the strategy
of wait4times
$eing more responsive to students
Increase in student confidence in responses
ore student4initiated ,uestions
ore student4to4student interactions
Improvement in student achievements.
Fewer peer interruption
Less student confusion
Increase in speculative responses
Increase in evidence4inference statements
!he a#ove is #ased on the related literature review #y Mauchak D 3ggen 09GII1, *wift, "ooding D
*wift 09GII1, *adker D *adker 09GGJ1, @rlich et al.09GGJ1, "ood D $rophy 09GG91, organ D *axton
09GG91, @rich 09GG;1, @rnstein 09GGH1, 5rends 09GGF1, $urden D $yrd 09GGI1, and .ensen D Miley
)242)2+ Summary
-uestion presentation involves several factors8 the time, the mode and the techni,ues.
5s for the time, the se,uence #etween ,uestion presentation and material contact and the
se,uence #etween ,uestion presentation and ,uestion direction should #e considered in
learning psychological perspectives8 for the former issue, teachers should #ear in mind
whether they focus on accidental or intentional learning outcomes: for the latter issue, they
should #e aware of whether there is wait time given #etween the teacher7s two acts. 5s to
the ways teachers present their ,uestions to students, they should ensure that ,uestion
presentation make students perceive and understand them well, otherwise they fail to do
the task. In presenting ,uestions, teachers have many alternatives to implement the %o# #ut
they should take into account the effects each strategy they resort to on student learning. In
short, ,uestion presentation is no easy %o# and therefore practical teachers should consider
many factors in their ,uestioning work.
)2424 8istribution9 Student Participation
)242420 3eality of 8istribution
!he term <distri#ution=, also called <targeting=, refers to the way in which ,uestions
are directed.. -uestions, depending on their functions, may #e directed towards
individuals, small groups or to the class as a whole 0organ D *axton 9GG9: $ull D *olity
9GIF1. 5s for individuals, ,uestions can #e addressed to more4a#le learners, average
learners, less4a#le learners, and learners of mixed4a#ility 0$rown D 3dmondson 9GIC:
$orich 9GG;1. !here is nothing wrong with any way of direction mentioned a#ove <as long
as the teacher has a specific reason for so doing= 0organ D *axton 9GG98 II1.
2owever, the reality of ,uestion direction is not optimistic. For a long time, teachers
#ased on their expectations of learners have #een found to treat students differently in
,uestioning, which are manifested, in part, #y the following tendencies8 ask more ,uestions
of #oys than girls and vice versa: address more ,uestions to volunteers than to non4
volunteers: give more ,uestions to high achievers: target specific types of ,uestions to
specific kinds of students 0complex and a#stract ,uestions to the high4academic students
and simple, factual ones to the academically less a#le1: focus ,uestions to specific high/low
,uestion rate 6one 0the front/#ack/middle rows: the right/left/middle side: a fan/triangle:
etc1 0c.f. >ay (. >ist 9GFJ, cited in @rlich et al. 9GGJ8 ;9G4;;J: $rown D 3dmondson
9GIC: oore D "lynn 9GIC, cited in Mevin D "lynn 9GIG: @rlich et al. 9GGJ: oore
9GG;: $orich 9GG;: @rnstein 9GGH: (hen et al. 9GGH: >ichards D Lockhart 9GGE8 9BG:
Wang et al. 9GGG: .aco#sen 9GGG: etc1.
In the a#ove cases, students soon learn to gravitate to the Shot spot7 if they want to #e
noticed and to the Scold spot7 if they do not. 5ll these ways in which teachers distri#ute
,uestions are pro#lematic #ecause there exist serious ine,uity in teacher4student
interaction8 discrimination in student gender, location, academic achievements and so
forth. 5n interesting and somewhat ironic aspect of these phenomenon, however, is that
teachers are ,uite unaware of the patterns and will often deny their existence, even to an
o#server who has pointed them out to the teachers immediately after a lesson o#servation 9GGG8 9HH49HE1.
)24242) Principles in 8istribution
*tudents are not innate good learners and they enter school to #e taught how to learn
instead of #eing left there catering for themselves. !hey are diversified in many aspects
0gender, character, learning style, etc.1. 3very student including the slowest and the most
disruptive one should #e involved in active learning #y themselves and #y the teacher.
5lso, in students7 perspective, most kids, unless unduly shy, want the teacher to call on
them. 3ven in large classes where their chances of recognition are slim, they still want to
#e involved in learning 02olden 9GIG8 ;H1. !hus, one #asic principle is to give students
e,uita#le distri#ution in classroom interaction 0"roisser9GEC, cited in "ood D $rophy
9GG9: Merman 9GFG, cited in Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII1. 5s a concept, e,uita#le distri#ution
means that all students in the classroom should #e asked ,uestions fairly or teachers should
spread ,uestions evenly among learners, or ,uestions should #e e,uita#ly distri#uted
around the class.
!he idea of e,uita#le distri#ution has #een constantly stressed #y experts and
researchers 0e.g. $rown D 3dmondson 9GIC: 5venant 9GIE: $ull D *olity 9GIF: Wilen
9GG9: oore 9GG;: *iyakwa6i D *iyakwa6i 9GGG: etc.1. !he significance of e,uita#le
distri#ution lies in that #y calling upon all students e,ually and communicates to all the
class that they are mem#ers of the class learning community and the teacher expects all of
them can attend, participate and learn and that each student will #e a#le to answer 0or at
least to make an attempt1. If teachers practice e,uita#le distri#ution as a pattern, student
engagement rates can #e dramatically increased and learning will increase 9GGG8
9EE: Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII8 99H1. !herefore, teachers should distri#ute ,uestions widely
rather than allow a few students to answer most of them. !he idea is supported #y the
#elief that students learn more if they are actively involved in activities than if they sit
passively day after day without participation and most students #enefit from opportunities
to practice oral/ver#al communication skills and distri#uting response chances helps keep
them attentive and accounta#le 0"ood D $rophy 9GG98 CIB4CIC: @rlich et al. 9GGJ1.
3ven though teachers may feel that all the students in the class should have an e,ual
opportunity to participate in the lesson, #ut practice shows that it is not always the case.
+espite their #est intentions, teachers tend to sometimes interact with some students in the
class more fre,uently than with others and it is often hard to avoid such ine,uita#le
interaction. !hen, the most knotty pro#lem in distri#ution is8 2ow should the teacher select
the respondent among the whole class Q >esearch indicates randomi6ed selection is
prefera#le to patterned turns.
?ariety and unpredicta#ility in asking ,uestions in ,uestion distri#ution are argued #y
many researchers 0Mounin9GFJ, cited in $urden D $yrd 9GGI: $ull D *olity 9GIF: $urden
D $yrd 9GII8 ;C;: Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII8 99F: oore 9GG;8 ;CB: @rnstein 9GGH8 9FI1.
!hat ,uestions should #e randomly distri#uted among the group indicates that students
know that they may #e called upon at any time regardless of what has gone #efore 0$urden
D $yrd 9GGI8 ;C;1. In other words, unpredicta#ility in students7 perspective is putting
them in a position where they know for certain that they will #e addressed #y the teacher at
any moment in the learning course. !hus, their attention will #e improved more markedly
and learners have far more incentive to remain focused on the teacher and the task than if
allowed to chat in safety with a neigh#or under the cover the child in front, or dream up
strategies for causing a disruption as soon as the occasion arises 0Fontana 9GGC8 9;F49;I:
.aco#sen 9GGG8 9EE1. In addition, using name cards or regularly ad%usting student positions
have #een proved to #e practical and effective ways of undetermined distri#ution 0c.f.
oore D "lynn 9GIC, cited in Mevin D "lynn 9GIG: $ull D *olity 9GIF: Mauchak D:
3ggen 9GII8 99F: @rlich et al.9GGJ1.
)242424 Techni=ues in 8istribution
5 ma%or goal in developing effective ,uestioning strategies is to increase the amount of
student participation 9GGG1. *o far, researchers and experts have developed a lot
of techni,ues that can #e used to ensure the participation of all the class8
1. The -,uestion...pause...nomination/ format of framing ,uestions
!his pattern of framing is descri#ed as < the #est strategy= 0>inne 9GGF89IE1 and <the
first and perhaps the most o#vious rule= a#out ,uestioning 02olden 9GIG8 ;H1. It is a good
way to <encourage total Kprivate mental or ver#alL participation and still maintain
individual KvocalL accounta#ility= 0>inne 9GGF8 9IE1. It can #e used to sustain attention,
getting everyone in thinking rather than %ust the student towards whom the ,uestion is
addressed 0(ham#lin 9GF9: $ull D *olity 9GIF: +off 9GII: organ D *axton 9GG91. 5
caution should #e noted when using this strategy8 teaches should not try to select those
#righter and ,uicker students whose hands always go up immediately after a ,uestion is
posed. >ather, teaches can ask them politely and sincerely to wait for a while. In so doing,
many more other students may have an opportunity to think and respond 0(ham#lin 9GF9:
2olden 9GIG: @rlich et al. 9GGJ1.
2. Choral responding
!he entire class answering the same ,uestion in the same way at the same time is
technically termed as <choral responding=. When used appropriately, this techni,ue is
simple and its advantage is that it allows all students to ver#ally participate. @ne study at
the elementary level showed that group responses resulted in higher rates of on4task
#ehaviors 0cken6ie D 2enry 9GFG, cited in Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII1. 2owever, teachers
should #ear in mind that choral responding is effective when ,uestions are convergent and
re,uire #rief, single and closed answers and is improper for higher4order
/divergent/multiple4responses ,uestions 0$ull D *olity 9GIF: Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII1. In
addition, teachers should ensure all the class to respond at the same pace #y using a
standard expression or signal such <(lass, #egin=. !herefore, $ecker 09GFF, cited in
Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII1 advocated a #lend of choral and individual responding to provide
opportunities for #oth wide participation and diagnosis of individual strengths and
%. !edirection
>edirection is defined as using any ,uestion that is asked of several different
individuals 9GGG89HI1. In order to involve as many respondents as possi#le,
redirection is an effective and powerful strategy to increase student involvement and
motivation and also promote achievement 0$rophy D 3vertson 9GFE: +enhaam D
Lie#erman 9GIJ: *oar 9GFB. cited in .aco#sen 9GGG1. !he essence in redirection is that8 the
teacher poses a ,uestion to the whole class, pauses for all students to ponder how to
respond and then calls upon several individuals one after another. !he key point in
redirecting is that the teacher does not immediately acknowledge any correct response
from the first respondent and even if a student offers a completely wrong reply, the teacher
should accept it and goes on to ask the next student. !hat is, the teacher continually
addresses the original ,uestion to the following targets and until hearing a few answers can
s/he discusses student participation #y commenting on the merits of the many responses or
offering his/her own input. In so doing, the teacher eliminates possi#le dominating of the
activity #y those eager students. @therwise, the teacher7s reaction will choke off further
replies from other average or less4a#le learners #y deeming one to #e right. Further, the
teacher increases the fre,uency of ,uestions, thus widening student participation
9GGG: 2olden 9GIG1.
'. Ask more non.volunteers than volunteers
>estricting distri#ution to volunteers, enlarging distri#uting to non4volunteers is
another strategy that can #e used #y teachers to increase the scope of learner participation
in class activities. 5s volunteers in class are small in num#er #ut most teacher ,uestions are
undirected, it is highly pro#a#le that volunteers are called upon #y teachers to answer
classroom ,uestions and the ma%ority of those non4volunteers are left remaining silent.
"iven such situation, "age D $erliner 09GIC8 EBE1 propose that in a ,uestioning session
teachers should call on volunteers less than ten to fifteen percent of the time 0cited in
Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII: .aco#sen 9GGG1. !his suggests that most teacher ,uestions 0IJ4
GJR1 should #e directed to students who do not always have their hands raised. !his also
communicates that teacher ,uestions should #e mostly framed for and serve the ma%ority of
the entire class. 5dditionally, it implies that all students, ,uiet or talkative, shy or #old,
#right or slow, disruptive or disciplined, and even those who say <*orry, I don7t know=,
when targeted should #e directed and involved #y teacher ,uestions as far as possi#le and
any student should not #e allowed to opt out of ,uestioning #ecause ,uestions draw student
attention, increase involvement and generate learning 05dam D $iddle 9GFJ: $rophy D
"ood 9GIE. cited in >inne 9GGF1.
)24242+ Summary
In general, teachers do not direct ,uestions to particular learners 9GGG8 9HH1
and most ,uestions are framed for a mixture of a#ilities aimed at the average4a#ility level
in the class and are directed to the entire class. 2owever, teachers should specifically target
some ,uestions to #oth the less4 and more4a#le students 0$orich 9GG;1. !hat is, to #e an
effective teacher, s/he should vary not only the targets 0different individuals or full class1
#ut also the difficulty level of ,uestions, thus maintaining all students7 involvement and at
the same time signaling to individuals to get them re4involved 0(hris Myriacou 9GG;8 IG1.
-uestions specifically framed for low4 and high4a#ility learners and targeted to individuals,
sprinkled among ,uestions framed for a mixture of a#ilities and directed to the entire group
will keep all students alert and engaged in the learning process 0$orich 9GG;1.
3very teacher needs to #e aware of his/her own particular ,uestioning distri#ution
patterns in order to work the room and a num#er of decisions must #e made #y teachers
when they try to implement successful e,uita#le distri#ution8 Firstly, how to ensure the
whole class on the taskQ *econdly, how to cater for the idiosyncrasies of learnersQ !hirdly,
how to select individual students to respond ver#ally to teacher ,uestionsQ 3ssentially,
when using ,uestioning strategies to motivate students, we want to esta#lish two
expectations8 first, we want students at all achievement levels to #e engaged with the
learning process, and we want to put them in a position where they know for certainty that
they each will #e called upon at any time in the course of learning: second, when students
are called upon, they know that their teacher will arrange the ,uestion with provision for
their individual differences so that they can give an accepta#le answer without losing their
face or #eing threatened or shocked 9GGG8 9EH49EE: $urden D $yrd 9GGI8 ;C;1.
)242+ 3eaction
)242+20 8efinition of 3eaction
>eaction concerns how student responses to ,uestions are treated or dealt with #y
others 0the teacher/peers1, which is as important as ,uestions 0$ull D *olity 9GIF8 GE1. !o
address reaction, there are procedural and pedagogic matters to #e considered 0(ohen et al.
9GGE8 ;C;1. 5s for procedural matter, there arises a ,uestion8 when does reaction start and
endQ In terms of the process of ,uestioning, reaction refers to what the teacher as well as
students does ver#ally or non4ver#ally during two periods of time8 Period @ne #etween one
student is called upon and the student response is over: Period !wo #egins with the end of
the student response and ends up with the start of another student7s #eing nominated. !he
former can #e called >eaction I, the latter >eaction II.
)242+2) 3eaction 1
>eaction in Period @ne 0>eaction I1 reflects how the teacher and the class respond
while or #efore a respondent gives a reply. It is often referred to as <attending #ehaviors=
0ac+onald 9GG98 9HI1. !he first act should #e to listen to the answer 0+illon 9GII8 FJ1.
!herefore, reaction in this period is mainly reali6ed and em#odied #y #ody language, such
as maintaining eye contact with the speaking person, listening in silence 0(hris Myriacou
9GG;8 BG1. !he teacher may utter <2mmm=, <'h, huh=, <I see=, etc. to show his/her
attention and interest 0organ D *axton 9GG91. In other words, after a student is called
upon, #oth the teacher and the classmates should show a courtesy to and convey their
respect for that student #y listening attentively and thoughtfully 0(hris Myriacou 9GG;:
@rlich et al. 9GGJ: oore 9GG;1. !eachers should encourage students to show tolerance of
one another7s answers in relation to #oth accuracy of response and manner of speech
0*iyakwa6i D *iyakwa6i 9GGG8 HC1. *ometimes, the teacher needs to try and hold #ack
others with a hand gesture if necessary #ecause lack of control can ,uickly irritates those
students who are slow off the mark and do not get away opportunities to contri#ute 0"ower
D *teve 9GIB8 HJ1. !he ha#it of attending to the responding should #e reciprocated during
ver#al interactions. !he pedagogic value of so doing lies in one reason that teachers ask
,uestions8 to teach the whole class through pupil answers 0$rown D 3dmondson 9GIC1.
2owever, experts have identified some common pro#lems in >eaction I, which all
teachers should #e on alert8
1. Teacher self.answering before student response
5 common pro#lem with 0especially #eginning1 teachers is o#served to pose a
,uestion, nominate a student and them shortly answer it themselves #efore the nominated
student can think up and utter the response 0$orich 9GG;1. !his practice reveals that the
teacher7s impatience #y leaving the respondent too short a wait time 0which is insufficient
to think and phrase an answer1 and the teacher7s intention to save time #y hurriedly giving
an answer to the ,uestion personally. @rlich et al.09GGJ1 point out that self4answering
,uestions is first a morale defeater and conse,uently, students will #e discouraged to think
when they know their teacher will hardly allow them to voice their words: second, it tends
to discourage volunteers and causes students to #e negatively reinforced. !herefore,
experts 0e.g. "ower D *teve 9GIB8 HJ1 suggest that teachers should avoid doing such
things and #e firmly insist that the nominated person answer the ,uestion if at all possi#le.
3ven if the nominated fails to give a reply, instead of self4answering the ,uestions, the
teacher can still resort to other effective strategies such as offering ample thinking time,
giving prompts to help the target student, or inviting other classmates who may provide the
response 0(ham#erlin 9GF98 ;9F4;9I1.
2. Teacher inter0ection while the respondent is speaking
In $orich 09GG;8 ;FE1 two situations are illustrated in which the teacher is descri#ed
<%umping onto a response #efore a student has had time to finish it= 0(ohen et al. 9GGE8
;C;18 sometimes a student #egins a response #ut is cut off, only to hear the remainder of
the response supplied #y the teacher: sometimes the reverse occurs. 5 student #egins a
response that the teacher detects is wrong and then is cut off #y the teacher, who gives the
correct response. !eachers always interrupt students #y completing or #y adding personal
comments without attempting to elicit students7 more responses. *uch idiosyncrasy is
distracting, inappropriate and rude 0@rlich et al. 9GGJ1. !he outcomes demorali6e the
students who either is deprived of the chance to completely give a right answer or is shown
to have a response so incorrect that it is not even worth hearing in its entirety. &either of
these outcomes may #e intended 0$orich 9GG;8;FF1. !eachers who fre,uently interrupt
student responses #ecause of a desire for perfect answers, a dominant personality, or
talkativeness, may ultimately produce frustrated learners who never learn to give full and
thoughtful responses or to participate voluntarily 0$orich 9GG;8 ;FF4;FI1.
%. Teacher repeating ,uestions before student response
&ormally, ,uestions should not #e repeated 0assuming they are audi#le and clearly
expressed1. 2owever, fre,uent repetition or rephrasing of ,uestions when students have not
formulated their answers teach them that they need not pay attention to ,uestions when
they are first presented #y the teacher #ecause they know the teacher always repeat or
rephrase then time over time. >epeating ,uestions conditions students to catch the <replay=
of the ,uestion instead of <attending to= it. oreover, this ha#it causes a loss of valua#le
class time 0@rlich et al. 9GGJ1. 5nother draw#ack of teacher repetition of the original
,uestion #efore student response may seriously interrupt their preparation for the response
and hold them #ack. !herefore, the #est strategy for teachers is to provide students enough
time for them to get their answers ready and meanwhile show their patience and
attentiveness for student response.
)242+24 3eaction 11
>eaction in Period !wo 0>eaction II1 is an issue that has #een studied more than
>eaction I. In literature it is often referred to as the third part of a ,uestioning se,uence,
which is also termed <reinforcement=, <response=, <follow4up=, <feed#ack= and the like.
2owever, answers can #e diversified8 silence, correct or incorrect, accepta#le or
impermissi#le, partial incomplete, direct or indirect, expected or unanticipated, and
com#inations of these. 5s for correct responses, they may #e correct and firm, or correct
#ut hesitant. In relation to wrong replies, they may #e incorrect and careless, or incorrect
and lacking knowledge of facts or process 0+illon 9GII8 FJ: .ensen D Miley ;JJJ8 B9B1.
With different patterns of responses, teachers should have access to many options.
!eachers7 >eaction II can #e ver#al and nonver#al 0Mim D Mellough 9GFI: *adker
D *adker 9GGJ: organ D *axton 9GG918 ver#al reinforcement refers to comments,
evaluations, acknowledgement, praises, criticisms, etc: nonver#al feed#ack includes facial
expressions, gestures, #ody position and so forth. &onver#al responses sometimes may #e
even more powerful than ver#al responses. ?ariety in ver#al and nonver#al reaction to
student response should #e much #etter than always resorting to a single method of
reaction in treating student response.
!eachers can respond to learners7 answers of different types in varied ways.
91 5s for a correct answer, teachers need not spend time providing overly gushy praise
05rends 9GGF8 ;9I1, otherwise students may assume that their responses are not good.
>ather, they can acknowledge it with #rief affirmations such as <!hat7s right=, <@kay=,
<Pes=, etc..
5 very controversial issue with relation to correct answers in research is that teachers
are found to #e inclined to repeat student responses 0e.g. $ull D *olity 9GIF: (ohen et al.
9GGE: "ood D $rophy 9GG9: +illon 9GIF8 ;;: >inne 9GGF8 ;JB1. @ne position holds that
the restatement indicates that the teacher7s understanding of a student7s contri#ution not
only signaling the importance of the teacher7s careful listening to the learner #ut also
giving the speaker an opportunity to ela#orate on his/her thought, or most commonly
makes sure that all students hear the reply. !he motive for this #ehavior seems to #e
pedagogically positive. &evertheless, more researchers contend the opposite position.
5ccording to @rlich et al. 09GGJ1 and "ood D $rophy 09GG91, fre,uent repetition of
student responses is generally distracting and time4wasting8 it lessons the perceived value
of students7 responses and fails to hold students accounta#le for attending to what their
classmates say thus causing class mem#ers to ignore their peers7 replying and conditioning
than to wait until the words come from the <fount of all wisdom=: another negative
outcome may #e that the individual answering the ,uestion does not need to speak loudly
since the teacher will eventually amplify his/her voice 0$urden D $yrd 9GGI8 ;CB1: in
addition, one position holds that even if the teacher insists on repeating student responses,
it should not #e the teacher him/herself to do that. >ather, the teacher should have the
student or another repeat the answer. !he reason is very simple8 teachers talk a great deal,
perhaps too much and should use students to do the talking whenever practical
0(ham#erlin 9GF98 ;9F4;9I1.
;1 When a student fails to answer a ,uestion 0i.e. staying silent1, most teachers tend to
do things in a wrong way8 91 answer the ,uestion themselves: ;1 move on to another
student 0sometimes termed Sredirection71. !hese tactics get the ,uestion answered, #ut it
fails to involve the original student in the activity. It leaves that student with a sense of
failure which, more than likely will result in even less future participation 0oore 9GG;8
;BB4;BC1. 3ven if the nominated fails to give a reply, instead of self4answering the
,uestions, the teacher can still resort to other effective strategies such as offering ample
thinking time, giving prompts, or inviting other classmates who may provide the response
0(ham#erlin 9GF98 ;9F4;9I1.
B1 5s to dealing with wrong/incorrect responses, it is a more complicated situation.
(ommon errors in responding to totally or partially incorrect responses are listed as
negative ver#al reinforcers such as <&o=, <!hat7s incorrect=, <Pou7re way off=: negative
nonver#al reinforcers such as a pause or change in the teacher7s facial expression which
cam #e sufficient to make students feel foolish or em#arrassed: ridicule, sarcastism,
criticism, or punishment such as standing there long or even till the end of a class: teacher
correction: redirection 0pose the same ,uestion to another student 0c.f8 "ower D *teve
9GIB8 9HH: $ull D *olity 9GIF8 GE: @rlich et al. 9GGJ: @rnstein 9GGH: 3ggen D Mauchak
9GGF, cited in .aco#sen 9GGG :1
5ll the a#ove4mentioned reactions to wrong replies are considered as <put down=
strategies, #ecause they result in two dangers8 reduce that student7s desire to participate in
a future ver#al classroom interaction: the <ripple effect= descri#ed #y Mounin 09GFJ, cited
in @rlich et al. 9GGJ1 will occur to other students 0@rlich et al. 9GGJ: organ D *axton
9GG91 #ecause in the implementation of the ineffective responding, the student who is
una#le to respond as the teacher desired often #ecomes confused, discouraged, and
psychologically removed from the learning activities 9GGG8 9HG1. (onse,uently,
a flow of answers from the class will ,uickly dry up #ecause such pro#lematic teacher
#ehaviors go against the desira#ility of total success4oriented involvement in classroom
learning 0oore 9GG;8 ;BC1.
2andling wrong answers is a particular sensitive area for #oth the teacher and learners
within a class. !herefore, in treatment of wrong answers, first of all, there is a need to
create an atmosphere in which contri#utions/attempts at least are welcomed and mistakes
are accepted #y the teacher and students alike 0$ull D *olity 9GIF8 GE1: second, teachers
should never let incorrect answers pass 0oore 9GG;8 ;BC1 #ecause wrong responses can
#e of value in clearing up misunderstandings, o#scurities and difficulties providing they are
treated tactfully and without disrupting the lesson to any great extent. 0oore 9GG;8 ;BC1.
!eachers should turn a wrong answer to good account #ecause it will #e a guide to the
pupil7s understanding 0$ull D *olity 9GIF1.
Wait time/Prompting/ Pro#ing8 !hree magic weapons
!eachers should follow up any responses. <It7s necessary to develop a responsive
repertoire that encourages students to clarify initial responses, expand their responses, lift
thought to higher levels, and support a point of views or opinions 0Wilen 9GG989J4991. Wait
time, prompting and pro#ing are such three kinds of useful and effective techni,ues.
91 With regard to wait time, it is a kind of silence which is a deli#erate act #y the
teacher that encourages thought and response 0+illon 9GIB8 BI, cited in organ D *axton
9GG98 I;1. 5ccording to oore 09GG;8 ;BG1, *wift, "ooding D *wift 09GII8 9GB1 and
Mauchak D 3ggen 09GII8 9;G1, there are two types of wait time8 wait time 90W! 91 refers
to the first wait time which occurs after teachers ask ,uestions and #efore students respond:
wait time ; 0W! ;1 means the second wait time that occurs after students pause
momentarily in their replies, often #efore teachers have ascertained that the students have
completed their replies. @#viously, W!9 and W!; correspond to >eaction 9 and >eaction
; respectively. 3xisting studies show that when the waiting period is extended #eyond
three seconds, teacher #ehavior and student performance can #e #oth improved.
!here are several %ustifications for this deli#erate teacher #ehavior8 first, it gives
students a chance to think a#out first of all teacher ,uestions and then their responses to the
,uestion. !his is especially essential when it is applied to higher4level thinking ,uestions:
second, it provides the teacher with a little time to Sread7 the nonver#al clues from the
class, thus making teachers #ecome more affectively sensitive to humanistic considerations
in the classroom: third, it helps teachers #ecome more patient with learners when
,uestioning 0@rlich et al. 9GGJ1.
;1 5s to prompting, it involves the use of hints or clues given immediately after the
student has #een una#le to respond to the teacher7s initial ,uestion or after an unaccepta#le
answer #y using a directive or a ,uestion 0+illon 9GIF: Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII:
>inne9GGF: $urden D $yrd 9GGI: .aco#sen 9GGG1. !he purpose of application of prompts
is to assist the student in responding successfully 0Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII: oore 9GG;:
.aco#sen 9GGG1. !herefore, a prompt is a helper or crutch 0>inne 9GGF8 ;JJ1 and prompting
manifests to students that the teacher deals with them in difficulties in an affirmative and
humane manner 9GGG8 9E;1. !hus, this positive manner from the teacher
encourages students and #uilds up students7 confidence in themselves 0(ohen et al. 9GGE:
.ensen D Miley ;JJJ1. >esearch indicates that prompting in response to students7 ina#ility
to give correct responses provides more #enefits to learning than do other options 0*talling
D Maskowit6 9GFC: 5nderson et al. 9GFG: *talling et al. 9GFG.. cf. Mauchak D 3ggen
9GII18 #y prompting, teachers can have the student analy6e his/her own initial response for
the error 0oore 9GG;1: help students tie new to old knowledge or turn difficulty into
easiness 0>inne 9GGF8 ;JJ1. In a word, effective prompting guides students7 thinking as
their understanding of content and skills is developed 0Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII8 9;B1.
B1 .In relation to probing, it refers to any teacher ,uestion that re,uires students to go
#eyond superficial first4answer response. It generally includes ela#orating the response #y
extension and answer %ustification, reply variation 0$orich 9GG;8 ;FJ: $urden D $yrd
9GGI8 GB: ac+onald 9GG9: +illon 9GIF: etc1. !he essence of pro#ing is to direct or guide
students to move away from partial or surface responses, give more and systematic
thoughts to ,uestions, there#y eliciting in4depth replies 0ac+onald 9GG98 9HF: "ood D
$rophy 9GG9: .ensen D Miley ;JJJ8 ;JJ: .aco#sen 9GGG8 9E;49EC: oore 9GG;: (ohen et
al. 9GGE8 ;BE4;BF1. 5s (hris Myriacou 09GG;8 BG1 points out that, pro#ing can give the
teacher some key insights into the thinking involved #y the ,uestion. 5lso, pro#ing is
accepta#le for all students8 with high4achieving learners, it tends to foster high4level
responses and discussion: with low4achieving pupils, it tends to reduce the fre,uency of
<no response= or < incorrect response=. In #oth cases, pro#ing is positively correlated with
increased student achievement 0@rnstein 9GGH8 9IJ1. !herefore, it is applica#le to either
correct, incomplete, insufficient or wrong responses 0(hris Myriacou 9GG;: $urden D $yrd
9GGI: .aco#sen 9GGG1. It is <one of the catalystic #ehaviors in the context of a ,uestioning
strategy= 0$orich 9GG;8 ;FJ1.
)242+2+ Peer Feedbac,
!eachers are generally regarded as the sole feed#ack provider. 2owever, teachers do
not always have to do that personally. 5ny type of answer deserves further comment #y the
respondent him/herself. $esides, other students might also make %udgements in reaction
0+illon 9GII8 F91. !hat is, students can #e allowed to assess one another7s work 0"ood D
$rophy 9GG9: oore 9GG;1. 5ccording to "ower D *teve 09GIB8 9HH1, peer
correction/other repair can #e introduced into classrooms. If a student cannot correct or
complete his/her response, teachers may get another student to do that. !eachers should
never %ump in themselves unless they have to.
It is a good idea to have students respond to classmates7 answers. It is important that all
students attend to their classmates7 responses to teacher ,uestions and this can #e
accomplished #y occasionally asking other students to evaluate or comment on another7s
answer. 5fter one student finishes responding to the teacher7s ,uestion, the teacher might
ask others if they agree with that answer or if they might ela#orate on the response. !his
strategy results in increased attentiveness, encourages additional student4to4student
interaction, contri#utes to group co4operation and achieves a more realistic social situation
0"ower D *teve 9GIB8 9HH: $rown D 3dmondson 9GIC: 2olden 9GIG8 ;E: $urden D $yrd
9GGI8 ;CB1
)242+2> Summary
With student answers, teachers may have many alternative strategies to resort to8
ignore the response, move on to another student, topic or ,uestion: acknowledge the
response: repeat the response ver#atim to reinforce the point or #ring it to the attention of
those who might not have heard it: repeat part of the response to emphasi6e a particular
elements of it: modify the response: paraphrase the response: correct the response 0a
feature that teachers are often reluctant to do, there#y sanctioning error and irrelevance1:
praise the response: prompt the students for further information or clarification: pro#e the
students to develop relevant points: offer it for others to comment upon, extent it 0c.f.
$rown D Wragg 9GIC, cited in (ohen et al. 9GGE8 ;C94;C;: Pollard D !awn 9GGB8 ;BJ4
;B9: 5rends 9GGF8 ;9G1.
With a range of choices, a reflective teacher might usefully consider what the effects
will #e for different children in different situations #ecause the pattern of reinforcement has
a powerful effect on this direction of classroom interaction. *o, teachers should #ear in
mind principles in dealing with student responses8 regarding pedagogic matters of reaction,
it is important in motivation and achievement. !herefore, a #asic principle is treating
student response 0even silence or incorrect ones1 in a positive way 0Merry 9GI;, cited in
(hris Myriacou 9GG;1. !eachers should give some sort of acknowledgement every time
students answer ,uestions so that they can #e informed whether they are on the right track
0"ood D $rophy 9GG9: (ohen et al. 9GGE8 ;BI1. In addition, teachers should give feed#ack
to students on the ,uality, accuracy, range, relevance, amount and significance of their
contri#ution 0(ohen et al.9GGE8 ;C;1. In this regard, some guidelines for reaction in
,uestioning may #e helpful8 feed#ack should #e #rief, short, specific, honest and to the
point: phony, too much, or too ready praise is ,uickly devalued: criticism 0especially
excessive censure at weaker students1 is detrimental to learning: overusing one or two
types of reinforcement may do harm and #ecome ineffectual: the silent #ody language and
the audi#le language must #e congruent if they are to register the kind of reinforecement
intended 0c.f. oore 9GG;: @rnstein 9GGH: (ohen et al. 9GGE: *adker D *adker 9GGJ:
organ D *axton 9GG91. 5lso, #oth the teacher and peers should #e active in giving
feed#ack in >eaction I and II. !he respondent him/herself can also #e involved in >eaction
II phase, thus reflecting his/her own responding process and enhancing student meta4
cognitive strategies.
)242> Structuring
)242>20 Significance of Structuring
3verything that occurs in the classroom goes through a process of live person4to4person
interaction 03llis 9GGC8 HEH1. 5llright 09GIC8 9HE1 sees interaction as < the fundamental fact
of classroom pedagogy=. (lassroom process research views language lessons as <socially
constructed events= 03llis9GGC8 HFB1, the interactional events that take place in a
classroom, which is similar to what 2ymes called <speech events=.
claughlin 09GIH89CG1 points out that, in the existing proliferation of studies, the
#ehavior of the teacher and the learners is often treated separately and conse,uently
information is lost a#out the se,uential flow of classroom activities 0cited in 3llis 9GGC8
HEF1. 2ence, it is of great importance to esta#lish a framework to systematically act out
for what happens #etween the teacher and learners. !he study of discourse structure is right
to the point.
(lassroom discourse has an identifia#le structure 03llis 9GGC8 HFC1. $ellack et al.
09GEE, cited in eighan 9GIE8 9HF49HI1 suggested that the language interaction in
classrooms can #e #roken down into four #asic moves or categories related to the
recogni6a#le functions of language #eing used and to how instances of talk are structurally
related. !here are structuring moves 0utterances working to create and direct the setting for
talk and activity in a lesson1, soliciting moves 0designed to elicit some kind of response1,
responding moves 0which are directly tied to structuring moves1 and reacting moves 0talk
designed to clarify, expand or evaluate a prior move without #eing directly elicited #y the
prior move1. *oliciting444responding444reacting is similar to ,uestion4answer4evaluation.
)242>2) Studies in anguage Pedagogy
5 classic study in ,uestioning structuring is one done #y *inclair D (oulthard 09GFC,
see eighan 9GIE: 9GFH, also see 3llis 9GGC1, who developed a hierarchical model
consisting of lesson, transaction, exchange, move and act. $urton 09GIJ, 9GI91 exchanges
<lesson= with <interaction= thus esta#lishing a system made up of <act444move444
transaction444interaction= 0cited in 2u 9GGC8 ;9I1. !he most clearly defined element is the
exchange part which is also known as the <I>F= pattern typically having three phases
involving three moves8 initiating, responding, and follow4up. 3ach move is reali6ed #y
means of various kinds of act. -uestioning represents the typical structure of classroom
teacher4student interaction8 teacher ,uestion444student response444evaluation.
When addressing the issue of what is the unit of classroom discourse, 3llis puts
forward < interactional se,uences=, loosely defined as < a unit of discourse with a unitary
topic and purpose= 09GGCL HFI1. "iven the complexity of classroom discourse, "offman
09GGE, cited in 2u 9GGC1 contends that interactional unit is more appropriate than discourse
unit #ecause interaction can #e #oth ver#al and nonver#al 0e.g. silence1. !he analysis of
discourse interaction is aimed at disclosing how the exchange #etween the teacher and
learners propel the learning activities to move forward 0*inclair D (oulthard 9GFH:
(oulthard D ontgomery 9GI9: *inclair D $ra6il 9GI;. (ited in Li D Fan ;JJ;1.
In (hina, Li D Fan 0;JJ;1 reported their own study of the structuring of ,uestioning in
some university 3FL ma%ors7 oral classes totaling timing ;J hours. $ased on the analysis of
the data collected, they identified the following four patterns of ,uestioning structures8
1attern I2 I!3
It refers to the initiation444response444feed#ack pattern. In this structure the teacher
solicits a student, who gives the response #efore the teacher provides the feed#ack.
e.g. !8 What7s the meaning of this wordQ
!8 Peah. Pou are right.
1attern II2 I!3!
!his is reali6ed #y the structure <initiation444response444feed#ack444response=. It
indicates that sometimes in the move of feed#ack the teacher makes correction of the
student7s error in responding, thus generally leading the student to reacting to the teacher7s
e.g. !8 What do you do every morningQ
P8 I clean my teeth.
!8 Pou clean your teeth every morning.
P8 I clean my teeth every morning.
1attern %. I!4Ia!a4Ib!b553
!his pattern shows that when the student reacts to the teacher7s ,uestion, the teacher
does not give the respondent an immediate response. Instead, the teacher makes further
in,uiries regarding the uncertainty a#out or incompleteness of the learner7s prior reply,
which the student needs to react.
e.g. !8 3very#ody preparedQ 2ave you got preparedQ
*8 2ave a little.
!8 @hQ
*8 2ave a little.
!8 5 little is enough.
1attern I6. I!a3a!b3b
In this structure, the teacher poses a ,uestion, invites several responses. !he teacher
does not acknowledge every student response until s/he has heard a few replies. !hen the
teacher comments on the merits of the answers. *ometimes the teacher may offer a non4
committal response to a student7s reply such as repetition or rephrasing of the student7s
answer, #ut is advised not using too fre,uently 02olden 9GIG8 ;E1.
e.g. !8 'hm, aQ o $ %Q
*98 I disagree with you.
!8 Peah, uh, I disagree with you.
*;8 I7m not sure.
*B8 I don7t think so.
!8 I7m not sure, right. I don7t know. I don7t think so.
Pattern I reflects the <transmission style of education= 0$arnes 9GFE, cited in 3llis
9GGC1 and the #iggest teacher control over teacher4learner interaction. It is a one4to4one
one4way interaction. Pattern II emphasi6es input in language learning. It is still an
unilateral exchange in language classrooms. Pattern III is added up in the structure #y
echoic ,uestions such as clarification re,uests or confirmation checks 0Long D *ato 9GIB,
cited in 3llis 9GGC and (haudron 9GII1, there#y esta#lishing interactional meaning
negotiation in the teacher7s perspective and ensuring the increase in more participation #y
individual students. Pattern I? is essentially a ,uestioning structure for redirection, which
provides opportunity for more students to play the game. !herefore, the teacher controls
lessons and in the meanwhile student participation is widen in scope. In Li et al.7s view,
Patter I, III and I? are varieties of the #asic Pattern I. If Patterns III and I? are fre,uently
used, which shows that the teacher reduces the control over classroom discourse, more
opportunities will #ecome availa#le to students. 5s a corollary, students will #ecome more
active in and responsi#le for classroom language learning and there#y improve their
communicative a#ility.
)242>24 Summary
*tructuring in ,uestioning refers to the systematic and dynamic features of a ,uestion4
and4answer exchange with a definite topic which is reali6ed #y one or two teacher
,uestions. 5lso, a ,uestion may #e answered #y one student or #e responded #y the chorus
response. !he teacher may direct the same ,uestion to several students. $esides, the
teacher may re,uest the respondent to clarify his/her response. !he process of a
,uestioning se,uence may #e very short and simple. $ut sometimes it might #e long and
complex. 5ll this depends upon the patterns of structures in ,uestioning. It should #e
pointed out, however, that Li et al.7s investigation, though a good attempt in this respect, is
to a large extent confined to an analysis of the structure #etween a teacher and a student,
which does not really reflect the comprehensive yet complicated classroom ,uestioning
structuring that may consist of prompting, pro#ing, peer repair, student4initiated ,uestion
and others which might #e em#edded in teacherOinitiated ,uestioning. For instance, 2uang
09GII1 acknowledges that classroom K,uestioningL structure is distinctive from that outside
school 09GII8 9FI49FG1. In some cases, the teacher might make interruptions/inter%ections
while a student is uttering. Wang 09GGI1 also illustrates how the respondent #ecomes the
initiator in the ,uestioning process thus esta#lishing a genuine teacher4student meaning
negotiation and interactional conversation exchange. !herefore, structuring in ,uestioning
should attract researchers7 attention and #e explored in investigating classroom ,uestioning
)2+ E$aluati$e /onsiderations of Questions 7 Questioning
)2+20 Quantity of Questions 7 Questioning
)2+2020 Studies in ;eneral Education
In general education, according to some relevant literature review 0e.g. $rown D
3dmondson 9GIC: Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII: "ruenewald D Pollak 9GGJ: @rlich et al. 9GGJ:
$orich 9GG;: 5rends 9GGF: etc1, school teachers make great use of ,uestions in classrooms.
!hough researchers have not reached a consistent conclusion on how much time is
occupied with ,uestioning, reports in this respect are numerous.
In the west, it is estimated that IJR of school time is spent on ,uestion and answer
activities 0*tevens 9G9;1. 3ight decades later that ratio would range #etween BBR and HJR
0Watson D Poung 9GIE: Fisher et al. 9GIC1. *imilar reports have #een made in (orey
09GCJ1, Floyd 09GEJ1, Flanders 09GFJ1 and Wragg 09GFB1. "enerally, it seems that teachers
spend almost BJR of their time asking ,uestions. In other words, they may ask a#out an
average of 9JJ ,uestions per class hour in the typical elementary and secondary
classrooms. "all 09GFJ1 reviewed several studies and highlighted how fre,uently large
num#ers of teacher ,uestions are asked in classrooms and he illustrated how persistent
pattern has existed over time. $oth "all and *adker D *adker 09GGJ1 mention that
elementary teachers asked ,uestions ranging from EC to 9IJ in one period of class to an
average of BCI ,uestions during a school day. +illon 09GIF1 also reported that o#servations
of ;F senior high school teachers showed an average of IJ ,uestions per class teacher. It
seems that #oth at the elementary and secondary levels an enormous num#er of teacher
,uestions are posed #y typical teachers.
In (hina, very few empirical studies have so far #een done on fre,uency/,uantity of
teacher ,uestions/,uestioning in classrooms. 5 recent investigation into the current
,uestioning status in elementary and secondary school classrooms 0in *hanghai1 indicated
that the 9I sample (hinese and math teachers asked a mean num#er of BJ ,uestions in
each o#served lesson 0cf. *u ;JJ9: -iu ;JJ;1. >esearch shows that elementary teachers in
(hina7s ur#an areas ask an average of 99J ,uestions each class and an average of ;.C
,uestions per minute 0)ie et al. ;JJ91.
)2+202) Studies in anguage Pedagogy
In second/foreign language classrooms, ,uestions are also very commonly used for
instruction, which can #e indicated #y some examinations of language teacher ,uestions
taken #y second language researchers in language learning context.
In the west, according to (haudron 09GII1, i6on 09GI91 and 3arly 09GIH1 found that
in L; classrooms teachers used ,uestions more with non4native4speaking students than
with native4speaking ones. -uestions constituted a#out ;JR to CJR of ma%or syntactic
types of teacher talk in L; teaching settings. .ohnston 09GGJ1 o#served that in B hours of
language4content teaching appeared totally H;; ,uestions of various types, with a rate of
;.G ,uestions per minute on the average. Long D *ato 09GIB1 counted a total of GBI
,uestions asked in six elementary level 3*L lessons, each teacher asking a mean num#er of
9HE.B ,uestions 0cited in 3llis 9GGC1. !sui 09GGH1 studied 3nglish lessons in 2ong Mong
and found that nearly FJR of classroom talk consists of teacher4initiated ,uestioning.
"e#hard 09GG91 o#served in an advanced writing class a skillful non4native teacher raised
altogether HH ,uestions, ;F of which were posed over a ;H4minute period of class time,
averaging over 9 ,uestion per minute.
In (hina, the end of the ;J
century has seen a small num#er of empirical studies on
the fre,uencies of teacher ,uestions in (hina7s 3FL classrooms 0cf. !a#les ;.I T ;.G1.
Table )2A Fre=uency of EF teacher =uestions at the uni$ersity le$el in /hina
>elated *tudies >ange of teacher ,uestions
in amount
edian of teacher ,uestions
a 09GGI1 IC4449C9 HG
Zhao 09GGI1 ;444E; CB.H
Zhou et al. 0;JJ;1 G444HE ;J
Table )2B Fre=uency of EF teacher =uestions at the elementary9secondary le$el in /hina
>ekated *tudies >ange of teacher ,uestions
in amount
edian of fre,uency of teacher
,uestions in general
Wang et al. 0;JJ9a1 9H4449J9 BI
Wang et al. 0;JJ9#1 B9444IB H;
"uo 0;JJ;1 ;J444FJ CI.HJ
(ao 0;JJ91 BJ444HH.;H BI.II
Wang et al. 09GGG1 9E444E9 BC
9. !he data in Wang et al. 0;JJ9a1 is concerned with ,uestioning #y primary school 3FL teachers.
;. !he data in Wang et al. 0;JJ9#1 is a#out ,uestions #y %unior middle school 3FL teachers.
B. It is unclear whether the data in "uo 0;JJ;1 is from six %unior or senior school 3FL teachers.
C. $oth (ao 0;JJ91 and Wang 09GGG1 deal with senior school 3FL teacher ,uestions.
5t the university level, several research studies 0cf. !a#le ;.91 indicate that college 3FL
teachers ask many ,uestions in class, though there are great inter4teacher variations in
teacher ,uestioning fre,uencies. 5t the elementary and secondary level, the situation of
,uantity of 3FL teacher ,uestions is very similar to that in the tertiary classrooms 0cf.
!a#le ;.;1. 2owever, a careful contrast of fre,uencies of teacher ,uestions #etween the
college and elementary/secondary level shows that, when measured #y the unit of class
minute, more ,uestions are seemingly raised in primary/middle school 3FL classrooms
than in university ones.
)2+2024 Summary
*tatistics from numerous investigations of teacher ,uestions #oth at home and a#road
do confirm that su#%ect matter and language teachers all tend to fre,uently ask a great
many ,uestions within a very limited short period of class time, though there is evidence
that not every teacher is likely to do so. @ne fact that a large num#er of ,uestions are posed
within a short period of class time demonstrates that the pace of asking and answering is
inevita#ly rapid and fast, which is pro#a#ly due to a high shortage of or even lack of wait
time and which may result from teacher ,uestions that can #e categori6ed into low4level
,uestions re,uiring students7 least effort and little mental processing, thus taking less time
and increasing the num#er of teacher ,uestions in a given time period. 5nother fact that a
small num#er of teachers don7t ask so many ,uestions in class reveals that they may still #e
inclined to the lecturing method characteristic of too much teacher talk, or that they
perhaps adopt other interactional activities rather than ,uestion4and4answer exchanges.
!o put it in a nutshell, studies concerning fre,uencies of teacher ,uestions can provide
3FL teachers with insights into how ,uestions should #e appropriately exploited in
classrooms. !eaches should not mistakenly e,uate ,uantity to ,uality of ,uestions. @n the
one hand, without a certain num#er of ,uestions, it cannot #e guaranteed that interaction
occurs #etween the teacher and learners in class if no other interactional means are adopted
#y the teacher: on the other hand, however, too many ,uestions do not ensure the ,uality of
,uestioning. !herefore, when teachers make use of ,uestions and ,uestioning, they should
#ear in mind #oth the ,uantity and ,uality of their classroom ,uestioning. In this regard,
*teven7s view may #e instructive8 5 large num#er of ,uestions is an indisputa#le index of
#ad teaching 0except in some modern language and developmental lessons1. 5 small
num#er of ,uestions does not necessarily indicate good teaching 0*trevens 9G9;8 F9, cited
in 2udgins 9GF98 9EH1.
)2+2) Quality of Questions 7 Questioning
)2+2)20 Poor Questions 7 1neffecti$e Questioning
Poor Questions
5s seen in the previous section, teachers fre,uently ask ,uestions of students. It is
acknowledged that some ,uestions are useful #ut some do more harm than good. In other
words, teachers sometimes do the ,uestioning wrong with poor ,uestions. >esearchers
0e.g.. "roisser 9GEC, cited in "ood D $rophy 9GG9: Mim D Mellough 9GFI: .ohnes 9GIF:
$orich 9GG;: @rnstein 9GGH: (ohen et al. 9GGE: .ensen D Miley ;JJJ: etc1 have identified
a variety of ,uestions which are not suita#le for use in classrooms though very few of them
may sometimes #e utili6ed to a very limited extent #y teachers if necessary.
Poor ,uestions include8 am#iguous ,uestions, indefinite ,uestions, dou#le/multiple
,uestions, echo ,uestions, guessing ,uestions, tugging ,uestions, pumping ,uestions,
yes/no ,uestions, choice ,uestions, whiplash ,uestions, fill4in ,uestions, complex
,uestions, rhetorical ,uestions, leading ,uestions, suggestive ,uestions, overload
,uestions, cross4examination ,uestions, off4the4cuff ,uestions, irrelevant ,uestions, too
easy/difficult ,uestions, etc. !ake <yes/no= ,uestions as an example. *uch ,uestions can #e
la#eled <forced4choice pro#lem solving= ,uestions 0.ohnes 9GIF1, which allow a HJ4to4HJ
chance of getting the right answer thus encouraging guessing, impulsive thinking and right
answer orientation, not conceptual thinking or critical thinking or pro#lem solving.
!he kind of ,uestions mentioned a#ove, if used in classrooms, can even hinder rather
than facilitate student learning #ecause they often lead to under4productive student
responses. *o the use of such ,uestions should #e avoided in teacher ,uestioning. When
putting the ,uestion4and4answer method in practice, teachers should keep in mind that
,uestions should #e asked only if they are to provide learners with opportunities to express
themselves a#out the instructional topic, and only if the teacher really expects meaningful
responses from his/her students.
1neffecti$e Questioning
In addition to the poor ,uestions a#ove, some ,uestion4asking idiosyncrasies often
exhi#ited #y practicing teachers have also #een o#served #y experts 0c.f. $rown D
3dmondson 9GII: $rown D 5tkins 9GG9: $orich 9GG;: @rnstein 9GGH: (ohen et al.9GGE:
.ensen D Miley ;JJJ: etc1. 5ccording to the literature, the most common errors/pro#lems
in teacher ,uestioning can fall into the following categories8
Table )20*2 /ommon errors9problems in teacher =uestioning
(ategory (ommon pro#lems 3xamples
5 Why to ,uestion Fail to see why ,uestions are used: 'se ,uestions as
$ 2ow many to #e posed 5sk too many ,uestions 0at once or within a limited period
of time1
( !he manner of ,uestioning 5sk ,uestions in a threatening way/ in harsh terms /in an
aggressive manner: Present ,uestions at a fast pace: Fail to
look at pupils while posing ,uestions: >epeat ,uestions.
+ Wait time 5llow no/insufficient time to think or to present answers.
3 +irecting/!argeting
5sk ,uestions only of the #rightest or most likea#le
students: 3xploit ,uicker learners or volunteers: Fire
,uestions at the same student to draw out information.
F *e,uencing ,uestions 5sk a difficult ,uestion too early: 5llow ,uestions to #e
" Invariety in ,uestion type 5lways ask the same type of ,uestions: Fail to indicate a
change in the type of ,uestions.
2 2ow to frame ,uestioning (all the name of a student #efore asking a ,uestion.
I 2ow to respond to student
Interrupt students while they are responding: 5ccept only
expected answers: >epeat student responses: 5llow
improper speech or incomplete answers to go unnoticed:
Fail to #uild on answers: 'se no pro#ing ,uestions: "ive
no prompts/clues to students in trou#le: 5llow choral
responses: *elf4answer the ,uestion:
)2+2)2) ;ood Questions 7 Effecti$e Questioning
;ood Questions
In order to guide teachers to avoid poor ,uestions, many experts and researchers 0e.g.
2udgins 9GF9: Merry 9GI;, cited in (hris Myricou 9GG;: @rlosky 9GI;: ac+onald 9GG9:
Wilen 9GG9: Fontana 9GGC: 'r 9GGE: etc.1 have raised some criteria for effective ,uestions.
5lthough a complete definition of a good ,uestion depends to a large extent upon the
teaching context, certain guidelines for constructing good ,uestions have #een identified to
#e applied in classrooms. !he following list summari6es useful standards for effective
Table )200: Standards for effecti$e =uestions
*tandards Illustrations
9. Purposefulness "ood ,uestions should first have a concrete purpose, goal or task to achieve the
lesson7s intent.
;. +iction "ood ,uestions should #e phrased in clear, simple, #rief, natural, succinct
B. (ontent "ood ,uestions should #e definite, specific in meaning or content orientation.
C. Learning value "ood ,uestions should #e challenging and stimulating in cognitive demand and
oral expression.
H. >elevance "ood ,uestions should #e connected to the needs of students and the
o#%ectives/re,uirements of the lesson and commonsurate with the current level
of students7 a#ility in linguistic and cognitive domain.
E. ?ariety "ood ,uestions should #e varied in the length as well as the difficulty degree.
Effecti$e Questioning
!he characteristics of effective ,uestioning involve good ,uestions. 2owever, a good
,uestion itself is only the first step to good ,uestioning. 2ow to use a good ,uestion is the
next phase that makes an impact on teacher ,uestioning. If ,uestioning is regarded as a
process, then there are some key phases within the process8 initiation, progression,
sustaining and closure. With these steps, several factors should #e noticed. For instance,
the criteria .ensen D Miley 0;JJJ1 makes for effective ,uestioning is to ask the right
,uestions at the right times in %ust the right ways. "ower D *teve 09GIB8 9B91 advise that
teachers should make sure that any ,uestions they ask give everyone enough to do #oth in
the amount of language expected in the answers and in the degree of interpretation and
therefore classroom involvement needed .
5 lot of researchers 0e.g. (ham#erlin 9GF9: 5venant 9GIE:$ull D *olity 9GIF: oore
9GG;: @liva, cited in *iyakwa6i D *iyakwa6i 9GGG: (ooper 9GGG: etc.1 have made a
comprehensive study of fundamental techni,ues that lead to effective ,uestioning. !hese
techni,ues/strategies can #e utili6ed #y teachers to help them achieve their intended goals
!he mportant strategies are summed up for implementing ,uestioning in a successful way
in !a#le ;.9;.
>esearch studies show that several strategies for effective ,uestioning are closely
linked to the three stages. Merry 09GI;, cited in (hris Myricou 9GG; and (ohen et al. 9GGE1
suggests that seven skills/factors #e considered in effective teacher ,uestioning, which are
much associated with classroom ,uestioning and tend to increase the ,uality and ,uantity
of student responses8 structuring ,uestioning: pitching ,uestions: distri#uting ,uestions:
timing/pacing: se,uencing ,uestions: responding.
2)2+2)24 Summary
"ood ,uestioning is #oth a methodology and an art. !hough certain rules have #een
sorted out and can #e applied in most cases, good ,uestioning has to #e developed slowly
over the years and all the techni,ues/strategies for effective ,uestioning must #ecome
second nature, a ha#it of every teacher who practices the ,uestion4and4answer method. It
should #e noted that what accounts for effective ,uestioning involves not only proper
,uestions 0fewer in num#er, deep and wide in intellectual processing1 #ut also a range of
techni,ues such as allowing ample thinking time, targeting students fairly and widely,
providing useful pro#ing ,uestions, and so forth. 5lso, effective teaching is a function of
two key factors8 the first is that the ,uestioning is well planned prior to the lesson with a
precise goal in the teacher7s mind: the second is that as the lesson proceeds, the teacher is
sensitive, flexi#le and responsive to students when implementing the ,uestioning sessions.
<"oal4driven advance preparation plus flexi#ility is the essence of expert teacher
,uestioning=0Mauchak D 3ggen 9GII8 9BB1. In short, effective ,uestioning should meet the
following criteria8 91 motivational involvement 444 *tudents are willing to participate in the
,uestioning activity: ;1 cognitive requirement 444 *tudents are challenged to make mental
operations through answering ,uestions: B1 linguistical performance 444 *tudents practice
using a certain language to express how and what they comprehend.
Table )20): Strategies for successful =uestioning
*trategies +efinitions
9. Preparedness plus flexi#ility 'se planned key/pivotal ,uestions and allow for spontaneous
,uestions if necessary #ased on student responses.
;. *e,uencing ,uestions +evelop ,uestions in a logic and systematic se,uence.
B. 5llowing wait time "ive students sufficient time to think and make preparations
#efore students respond to ,uestions.
C. Wide participation 'se ,uestions 0divergent ,uestions/open4ended ,uestions1 that
encourage the widest active student involvement.
H. Fair distri#ution 5ddress ,uestions to the whole class.
E. 3ven pacing onitor the rate of ,uestion asking. 5sk ,uestions in an even
pace. 5void asking ,uestions too soon.
F. @ne ,uestion at a time Pose only one ,uestion at a time.
I. Involving more investment from
3xploit follow4up /pro#ing ,uestions, general ,uestions or
open4reasoning ,uestions to elicit more information from a
student and get students more involved.
G. Framing ,uestioning 5sk ,uestions #efore designating a respondent and try to pause
#etween presenting a ,uestion and nominating a student.
9J. !reating student responses
>einforce student responses sparingly.
99. >eacting student response
"ive prompting/clues to help students or modify ,uestions
when students don7t respond in the right way or they have
trou#le in giving the responses.
9;. 5ttending #ehaviors Listen carefully and attentively to student responses and
ensure that peer students have the courtesy to listen in silence
and attentively.
9B. -uestioning in an appropriate
5sk ,uestions as few as possi#le and ,uestions should not #e
9C. Present ,uestions
-uestioning should #e viewed as a dialogue #etween the
teacher and the student.
/hapter 4 3esearch 8esign
(hapter !hree descri#es the research design of this study, presenting research ,uestions
and o#%ectives, information a#out the su#%ects and participants involved in this study,
instruments and procedures adopted in data collection and the framework used in data
presentation and discussion:
420 3esearch Questions
!he o#%ective of this study is to investigate the current situation of several %unior 3FL
teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning in the (hinese context. !herefore, the researcher intends
to focus on the examination of the features of the text4#ased ,uestioning #ehaviors mainly
from three %unior 3FL teachers. !he ma%or research ,uestion to #e addressed is8
What characteristics do the three junior EFL teachers text-based questionings have
In order to answer the a#ove general ,uestion, a series of su#4,uestions are designed as
!" What features do the text-based questions as#ed b$ the teachers of their students
%" &ow do the teachers sequence their series of text-based questions
'" &ow do the teachers present their text-based questions (framing questioning
)" &ow do the teachers direct their text-based questions to their students
*" &ow are the student responses reacted
+" What patterns of structuring of questioning are there in each teachers text-based
questioning activities
-uestion 9 examines the features of aspects of each teacher7s text4#ased ,uestions:
-uestions ; to E look at the process of each teacher7s text4#ased ,uestioning #y
investigating the use of the ,uestioning strategies #y each teacher. It is expected that #y
taking a close look at #oth text4#ased ,uestions 0a static perspective1 and the process of
text4#ased ,uestioning 0a dynamic perspective1, we can get a full picture of each and every
su#%ect teacher7s text4#ased ,uestioning situation in the present study.
@n the #asis of the general impression of each su#%ect teacher7s text4#ased ,uestioning,
we attempt to find out the similarities and differences among them and try to explore the
underlying reasons. *ome implications will also emerge from this study.
42) Sub'ects9Participants
$ecause of some restrictions on my research in this study, altogether only three
classrooms are availa#le and investigated for the intended purpose. !he three sample
teachers are all from two different local middle schools in 2andan (ity, 2e#ei Province of
(hina, where the researcher works as an 3FL teacher. @f the three teachers, !eacher 5 and
!eacher $ are teaching students in %unior grade two, the former from &o.9C iddle *chool
and the latter from &o. 9B iddle *chool. 5nother su#%ect !eacher ( also works in &o. 9C
iddle *chool, who is teaching students in %unior grade one. (lassrooms from %unior grade
three are excluded in this study #ecause #oth the teachers and students are #usy preparing
for graduation and senior high school entrance examination, reluctant to #e involved in this
5s for the general information a#out the three su#%ect teachers, !eachers 5, $ and (,
female, are all graduates from 3nglish department of the same local teachers7 college.
2ence, they all have received nearly similar pre4service !3FL training and teacher
education. $ut they have different working experiences8 of the three su#%ect teachers,
!eacher $ has worked for five years, !eachers 5 and $ have a short teaching experience of
two to three years. With regard to the si6e of the three classes, each of them has more than
sixty students to teach. !herefore, they all have #ig classes to encounter in their teaching.
!he #ackground information of three teachers and their class is #riefly shown in the
following ta#le.
Table 420: &ac,ground information of the sub'ect teachers and their class
!eachers "ender Pears of teaching "rade level of their students (lass si6e
!eacher 5 female B .unior ; EH
!eacher $ female H .unior ; EE
!eacher ( female ; .unior 9 EF
424 Procedures of the Study
!his study was scheduled to last two months 0from arch to 5pril, ;JJB1. !he main
task was to collect data from the sample classrooms. 5fter data collection, the next work
was to sort out the collected data and attempts were made to process the data within a
certain framework of description and analysis.
5s !eachers 5 and $ taught the same grade, I first o#served their lessons and when the
o#servation of their classes was nearly over I #egan to go into !eacher (7s classroom to
continue my investigation. !he time schedule for o#servation for the three teachers7 lessons
is shown in !a#le B. ;.
Table 42): Time schedule for class obser$ation
!eachers !ime for class o#servation
!eacher 5 arch 09
!eacher $ arch 09
!eacher ( 5pril 09
!eachers 5 and $ had seven lessons for each unit every week #ecause they had two
extra lessons on *undays. !hey usually taught one complete unit within a week. !eacher (
had five lessons for each unit each week. Four complete units of lessons of each teacher
were o#served in their classrooms 0one unit usually covers one week1. In order to collect
the relevant data on the teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning, all their lessons were o#served #y
the researcher and then transcripted after each class o#servation.
5s for the materials the teachers and their students used, the researcher found that they
mainly used ,unior English For -hina 9$ and ;$ pu#lished #y the People7s 3ducation
Press. *ometimes they also used .ew -oncept English/ First 0hings First as
supplementary material.
42+ 3esearch !ethods
In order to get a comprehensive picture of what characteristics each teacher had in their
text4#ased ,uestioning, the author applied multiple research methods for data collection
and processing in this study.
42+20 8ata /ollection
In the first phase of this study, the ma%or work was data collection. !wo research
methods were exploited in this study8 class o#servation and interviews.
9. 1bservation, as the most widely used techni,ue for investigation, was first exploited
in this study. +uring the class o#servation, two instruments were adopted8
91 0ape-recording20ranscription
While making o#servations in the targeted classrooms, the writer used a porta#le tape
recorder and put the recorder on the teacher7s desk to make records of the lessons to #e
investigated so as for later transcripts making of the recordings. !he investigated teachers
were told #y the researcher to start the recording when they #egan their lessons. It7s
#elieved that, when the lessons have #een recorded, it is easy and convenient for the
researcher to make description and analysis a#out the data and see clearly what features
there are in each teacher7s text4#ased ,uestioning.
;1 Field notes ta#ing
+uring the period of classroom o#servation, field note taking can help the author to
write down and collect immediately many useful o#serva#le data from the teacher and
students, which can #e complementary to those from tape4recordings.
In this study, class o#servation was divided into two phases8 a pilot o#servation and
real o#servations8
91 3 4ilot 1bservation
In order to carry out this study effectively, a few rounds of pilot o#servations are
conducted. !here are two purposes8 @ne is to accumulate some field work experience in
doing such research: !he other is to pave the way for later real investigation. 5s many
studies show, a pilot study is proved to #e very necessary and useful especially for the
#eginning researchers as it has prepared a researcher for a more careful and responsi#le
In this study a pilot o#servation was proved to #e very necessary. In the #eginning, the
author only put a recorder on the teacher7s desk, hoping all the audi#le data could #e
recorded #y the tape4recorder. 5ctually, the writer found that the recorder could not store
all I wanted, especially the students7 answers to their teachers7 ,uestions. !herefore, the
researcher figured out making field notes of what happened in the class during the
o#servation. In such way, I could capture the useful data from the classes.
;1 5eal-time 1bservations
5fter the pilot o#servation, real field investigations were carried out in the targeted
classrooms. It was planned that each targeted classroom would #e o#served for successive
four weeks. 'sually during a continuous week, a teacher and his/her students taught and
learnt a unit within different types of lesson.
;. In addition to class o#servation, interviews were also adopted in this study.
Interviews with the teachers and students that will #e arranged after o#serving their
lessons, will ena#le the researcher to gain insights into teachers7 hidden underlying
assumptions of the performance and provide the author with more real information
uno#serva#le a#out the classroom ,uestioning #ehaviors.
Interviews with the targeted teachers and students were conducted respectively after
their lessons had #een o#served. 'sually, there are two possi#le ways of doing interviews8
@ne is to make interviews with the teachers and students immediately after each of their
o#served lessons is over: 5nother is to interview them when all the lessons have #een
o#served. In either case, there are advantages and disadvantages8 the former will lead to
intervention from the researcher7s #ehavior in an indirect way: the latter will cause some
very important information drift away. In this study, the researcher mainly adopted the
irregular interviews. !hat is, when I had some ,uestions to ask, I talked with the su#%ect
teachers or some of their students after my class o#servation. 5fter the whole class
o#servation, an interview was arranged with each of the three teachers to exchange views
a#out their classroom text4#ased ,uestioning and their teaching #ehaviors.
!hus, information from tape4recording, field notes and interviews a#out the targeted
classroom would not #e fragments #ut a relatively complete whole.
42+2) 8ata Processing
5fter the data collection #y means of class o#servation and interviews, the next
important work in this study was to process the raw data. First, all the recordings of the
class o#servations were transcripted. While making transcriptions, field notes were also
used at the same time to complement the audi#le data from the tapes. *econdly, the data
from some interviews were sorted out.
In order to descri#e and discuss the data sorted out, a framework has #een esta#lished
on the #asis of related literature review 0cf. Figure B.91. !he following #riefly introduces
the framework, which is applied in the data description and analysis in (hapter Four.
!his framework consists of two parts8 a static and dynamic perspective. !he static
perspective looks at each su#%ect teacher7s text4#ased ,uestions raised in the classroom #y
investigating the amount, the source, the type of those ,uestions including the grammatical
form, the content orientation and cognitive re,uirements.
!he dynamic perspective examines the process of each sample teacher7s text4#ased
,uestioning #y taking a look at the use of ,uestioning techni,ues.
Figure420: A frame-or, for describing 9analy6ing text-based =uestioning

44content scope
44linguistic type
44content orientation
44congnitive dimension
44class participation system
44patterns of distri#ution
44reaction 9/II
aspects of
strategies in
/hapter + 8ata 8escription 7 Analysis
(hapter Four, consisting of three sections, is devoted to data description and analysis,
focusing on depicting the features of the su#%ect teachers7 text4#ased ,uestions and
,uestioning #ehaviors and #riefly analy6ing the merits and shortcomings of those
characteristics identified in the data collected.
+20 Teacher A:s Text-based Questioning
+2020 Aspects of Text-based Questions
+202020 Quantity 7 Source of Text-based Questions
In the text4#ased ,uestion4and4answer activities, the use of ,uestion is of crucial
importance. In !eacher 57s lessons, altogether 9FJ text4#ased ,uestions were raised #y her.
5 close examination of the source of those ,uestions reveals that they are partly adopted
from the text#ook and partly invented #y the teacher herself. (lass o#servation indicates
that in the text#ook some texts 0especially most dialogues1 do not have attached text
comprehension ,uestions #ut the teacher herself designed some text4#ased ,uestions for
those texts. !hen, why and when did she make up those ,uestionsQ 5re there any
underlying explicit or implicit principles for her such teaching #ehaviorsQ !he episode
#elow from a telephone interview with the teacher a#out this topic may help us get some
insights into her teaching policy8
0>8 >esearcher !8 !eacher 51
>8 I o#served that most of your text ,uestions are not from the text#ook. Where have you got themQ
!8 $esides some ready4made text ,uestions, I invented most of them.
>8 @h, that7s great. $ut, when did you design those ,uestionsQ I mean, when did you plan for themQ +id
you write them down in your teaching plan each timeQ
!8 &o, no. !hose ,uestions I used with my students in class were not prepared in advance. @ften I
improvised them in the course of classroom teaching. !hat is, when I thought up a ,uestion, I %ust posed
it to my students. 0a short pause1 +o you think there are any principles or guidelines underlying the
teaching actsQ N
What the teacher said in the interview with the researcher reflects that she lacks #asic
teaching rationale explicit or implicit for guiding her teaching #ehaviors, such as when and
how to prepare text comprehension ,uestions for text instruction. 5s to the reason why she
fired so many text comprehension ,uestions which the text#ook writers do not design for
those lessons, the teacher once told the researcher during a class #reak that in tests
nowadays reading/listening text comprehension test items take predominant proportion in
testing and therefore teachers attach great importance to text comprehension ,uestions.
Perhaps the factor of tests #ecomes the leading reason that can explain why the teacher
herself improvised so many text comprehension ,uestions for those lessons without
attached comprehension ,uestions. @#viously, theories of text linguistics and text
instruction are far from reaching and guiding the teaching practice.
@#%ectively speaking, the more ,uestions the teacher raises in class, the more potential
opportunities students are given to practice speaking the target language in the classroom.
In this sense, the fact that the sample teacher herself directed so many ,uestions to her
students is positive to students7 3nglish learning in terms of understanding and production
in the target language. 2owever, as previously mentioned , the teaching #ehaviors of the
teacher lacked the guidance of certain teaching principles and had no clear goals or
o#%ectives in using text comprehension ,uestions: also, there exists o#vious weakness of
the teacher7s text comprehension ,uestions which lacked advance preparation, goal4
orientation and monitoring while implementing the ,uestioning with those ,uestions.
!herefore, it can #e predicted that the effectiveness of text comprehension ,uestions and
,uestioning activities in her class might #e in ,uestion.
+20202) Types of Text-based =uestions
In relation to the content scope of text4#ased ,uestions, generally text4#ased ,uestions
should include about-the-text and be$ond-the-text questions. !hese two types of ,uestions
are different8 the former are usually display ,uestions while the latter are generally
referential/communicative ,uestions: answers to the former can #e found in the text
explicitly or implicitly whereas keys to the latter can not. In !eacher 57s data, however, it is
found that all her text4#ased ,uestions are those a#out the text, that is, text comprehension
,uestions. In her text instruction, there is no pre4 or post4 reading/listening ,uestions which
are used for activating or extending students7 schematic knowledge. When asked why she
did not ask any ,uestions a#out the topics addressed #y the texts, she said8
I don7t think students can answer #ecause their 3nglish is limited in voca#ulary. If I ask them of
such ,uestions, they can7t answer in 3nglish #ut they may answer in (hinese. 5nother reason is that
many students still can7t answer those ,uestions a#out the text even the answer is in front of their eyes.
*o I always try to ask ,uestions a#out the text itself as many as I can. I think may#e when they can
answer text comprehension ,uestions, then I can ask them some ,uestions a#out the topic.
!he teacher7s opinion reveals that her teaching policy of text instruction is to help
students understand the text itself and that is all. It also implies that she knows little a#out
functions of #eyond4the4text ,uestions and does not want to have a try in adopting such
type of text4#ased ,uestions #ecause she has no confidence in students7 a#ility of
answering such ,uestions.
In terms of linguistic t$pe, of all the 9EE text comprehension ,uestions 0C ,uestions
constructed in the (hinese language are excluded1, C9 ,uestions 0;C.EGR1 are yes/no
,uestions, C 0;.C;R1 choice ,uestions and 9;9 0F;.IGR1 wh4,uestions. !his is the general
impression of the use of types of ,uestions in text comprehension ,uestioning. 5s for the
distri#ution of the three types of ,uestions in different kinds of text comprehension work,
there are variances 0cf. !a#le C.91.
Table +20: 8istribution of 4 types of Teacher A:s =uestions in different ,inds of text comprehension
!hree phases !ypes of ,uestions in terms of grammatical forms !otal
yes/no ,uestions choice ,uestions special ,uestions
comprehension ,uestions
BC 0;F.;JR1 C 0B.EIR1 IF 0EG.9;R1 9;H
revision reading
comprehension ,uestions
F J 9F ;C
comprehension ,uestions
J J 9F 9F
!otal C9 0;C.EGR1 C 0;.C;R1 9;9 0F;.IGR1 9EE
From the a#ove ta#le, it can #e seen that there exists variances of the fre,uency of
,uestion type used in different kinds of text instructional phases8 91 in listening text
comprehension ,uestioning, all the ,uestions were wh4,uestions, which indicates that in
such ,uestioning activities special ,uestions are used to help students o#tain information
from the texts: ;1 in reading text comprehension ,uestioning work which constitutes the
main #ody of text comprehension ,uestioning, EG.9;R ,uestions take the form of wh4
,uestions, ;F.;JR ,uestions are general ,uestions and only B.EIR are in the form of
alternative ,uestions: B1 in revision reading text comprehension ,uestioning, a small
num#er of ,uestions are mostly wh4,uestions. !hus, there is a slight difference a#out the
choice of ,uestion type in linguistic terms at different text comprehension ,uestioning
sessions. 2owever, it seems that the order of the choice of ,uestion types follows this way8
first wh4,uestions, then yes/no ,uestions and last alternative ,uestions. 5lso, this statistic
data indicates that in text comprehension ,uestioning sessions wh4,uestions are generally
the predominant type of ,uestions used #y the teacher, with the other types at a small
@n the whole, wh4,uestions are overwhelmingly fre,uently used than other types of
,uestions. !hey are more in num#er than yes/no ,uestions which are more in amount than
alternative ,uestions. !his is consistent with existing research findings from 2amayan D
!ucker 09GIJ1, (ao 0;JJJ1 and a 09GGI1 who reported that teachers addressed more wh4
,uestions in classrooms.
!he fact that wh4,uestions are predominant in text comprehension ,uestioning can #e
%ustified #y8 91 wh4,uestions are information ,uestions which seek meaning from texts,
thus opportunities of speaking more in the target language are provided: ;1 wh4,uestions
serve as <the device for eliciting specific information and for checking students7
understanding and knowledge of the target language= 0Pica D Long 9GIE8 IF1.
+202024 /ontent 5rientation of Text /omprehension Questions
5ccording to relevant studies on text ,uestion content orientation, 0eg. Li 9GGF: 2u D
+ai 9GGI: Zhou 9GGF: .ensen D Miley ;JJJ1, varia#les reflecting text content orientation
include8 91 meaning #oundary8 main information and supporting details. !he main idea can
#e the gist with the topic and predication or only the topic: ;1 meaning categories8 facts,
attitudes, concepts, viewpoints, function, relationship, etc. !he following part will examine
each of the text comprehension ,uestions in terms of the a#ove mentioned varia#les of text
,uestion content orientation.
5s to text comprehension ,uestions in terms of meaning #oundary/meaning categories,
an examination of the total 9FJ text comprehension ,uestions was made to investigate how
many ,uestions addressed main idea and how many were concerned with supporting
Table +2): !eaning boundary of text comprehension =uestions by Teacher A
!ypes of text comprehension
(ontent orientation !otal
glo#al information local information
listening4text comprehension
9 9E 9F
reading4text comprehension
B 9;E 9;G
revision reading4text
comprehension ,uestions
J ;C ;C
!otal C 9EE 9FJ
!he results 0cf. !a#le C.;.1 show that, of the 9FJ ,uestions only C 0;.BHR1 are ,uestions
seeking glo#al information. In other words, altogether 9EE 0GF.EHR1 ,uestions are all a#out
details of texts. !his reflects that the teacher only expects her students to deal with texts at
the micro level, which will eventually lead students to <see the trees #ut not the forest=.
(onse,uently, students will form the ha#it of learning fragments of texts instead of
grasping texts on the whole.
5s far as those ,uestions re,uiring supporting ideas of a text, as seen from the
previously illustrated ta#le, they constitute the main #ody of all the text comprehension
,uestions. In relation to meaning categories, all those ,uestions are a#out local information
and factual meaning orientated.
'nfortunately, no evidence was found that text comprehension ,uestions were used
a#out concepts, attitudes, viewpoints or function. !his indicates that the teacher7s text
comprehension ,uestions have no focus on the core meaning of texts, only staying at the
level of superficial treatment of text meaning.
*o far, the findings a#out the range of content orientation of all the text comprehension
,uestions #y !eacher 5 in this study can #e summed up #elow8
91 !he ma%ority of her ,uestions are a#out local and specific text information, which
are all factual meaning oriented. In other words, local information ,uestions mainly seek
single factual meaning. &o ,uestion is found to address other important categories of
meaning such as attitudes, points of views and functions.
;1 -uestions a#out glo#al information are rarely o#served in this study. 3ven the only C
such ,uestions failed to play a part when actually used in the classroom.
!he a#ove findings #ased on the analysis of #oundary meaning of text comprehension
,uestions show that the teacher7s ,uestions are confined to local, single, factual text
meaning, attaching no importance to glo#al information of texts at the macro level of
discourse learning as well as in4depth meaning of texts such as intentions, attitudes and
functions of texts. !his condition in text comprehension work will cause limitations in
learners7 understanding of the target language and their cognitive development. !he
reasons are simple8 lack of main information oriented ,uestions 444 which make
re,uirements on the part of students of analysis, generali6ation, synthesis, reasoning,
%udgements, prediction, logic thinking444means that learners have no experience of #eing
trained in areas of such a#ilities. 5s a corollary, students feel content with single, factual
meaning oriented ,uestions. 2owever, when encountering ,uestions at the discoursal level,
they will get pu66led and even confused, not knowing what to do and how to do it. In the
long run, students will form a set thinking in text comprehension work, which inhi#it their
L; learning and development in text/discourse comprehension.
!herefore, #oth text#ook writers and teachers should #ear in mind the <discourse
awareness= in text comprehension ,uestion design and treat them as tasks or clues for
students to #e a#le to understand texts. !eachers should take #oth meaning #oundary and
meaning categories into account when constructing text comprehension ,uestions.
Furthermore, text comprehension ,uestions designed for text comprehension should focus
on essential, crucial and relevant information. 5lso, ,uestions can #e asked a#out
information em#edded in a word, phrase, sentence or sentence group, or paragraph. In a
word, variety in text comprehension ,uestions in terms of content orientation is necessary
and important to learners7 understanding of a given text, such as the tone, mood, theme,
attitude, purpose and so on. !he value of text comprehension ,uestions lies in the content
they refer to.
>esearch 0e.g. Pi 9GGF8 ;EJ4;E;1 shows that if ,uestions are oriented in text structure,
then students will focus their attention on the structure of the given text: if ,uestions
re,uire them to locate specific information, then they will pay attention only to details
addressed in the given text ignoring the rest information. In other words, what a text
comprehension ,uestion is oriented in #ecomes an outer control over learners7 internal
mental activity orientation. !hus, different orientation ,uestions are used as attention
setting devices and call for different cognitive processing strategies.
+20202+ /ogniti$e 3e=uirements of Text /omprehension Questions
5s mentioned previously, of 9FJ text comprehension ,uestions only C ,uestions are
a#out main information. 5s far as the mode of communicating meaning is concerned, B of
them are found to #e explicit. !hat is, they can #e answered #y students who have read or
listened to the texts. @nly one ,uestion 0<+o you know the main ideaQ Pes or noQ1 is
underlying. $ut evidently, #ecause of the linguistic form of the ,uestion as well as lack of
pro#ing ,uestions #y the teacher, the ,uestion does not achieve the goal it should have. !he
lack of ,uestions a#out main information underlying or at surface will limit students to text
comprehension at a lower cognitive level.
!he ma%ority of the collected data of the sample teacher7s text comprehension
,uestions are a#out specific factual meaning of the texts. 2owever, with regard to the
mode of meaning communicating which reflects the cognitive processing of students while
they are dealing with the ,uestions, how do those ,uestions guide students in
comprehending the textsQ
5s to the ,uestion whether the ,uestions are explicit or implicit in communicating
meaning, an investigation of those ,uestions in this regard 0see !a#le C.B1 discovers that8 of
the total 9EE local information oriented ,uestions, only C are text4implicit, which emerge
respectively in C series of text comprehension ,uestions. !he rest 9E; ,uestions are all
text4explicit. !his statistic results indicate that ,uestions a#out local meaning of texts
mostly call for lower4a#ility re,uirements upon students in text understanding. In other
words, students when answering those ,uestions only have to identify or recogni6e the
relevant information in the texts. 2owever, high a#ilities such as reasoning, predicting
have #een excluded from text comprehension ,uestioning.
Table +24: The mode of meaning communicating of text-based =uestions by Teacher A
explicit information implicit information total
9E; C 9EE
5s regards the 9E; explicit local information oriented text comprehension ,uestions,
which are predominant in the amount of text ,uestions, their mode of meaning
communicating can fall into two categories8 locali6ing: dispersed. Locali6ing refers to the
information is on one spot of the text and can #e identified #y students whereas dispersed
means the information may #e discovered on more than one spot in the text and need to #e
put together or integrated.
In this study, the 9E; explicit text comprehension ,uestions were further examined in
this regard and the results are summari6ed in the following ta#le8
Table +2+: The mode of meaning communicating of text-explicit =uestions by Teacher A
locali6ing information dispersed information total
9HI C 9E;
From the a#ove statistic data, we can see that of 9E; text4explicit ,uestions the
ma%ority of them 09HI1 are ,uestions focused on one spot information and only very few
0C1 are a#out meaning that can #e found on more than one spot in the texts 0e.g. -s 9, ;, B,
e.g. -98 >oy G $ & '(
-;8 Mate ) (
-B8 2ow many children are there in the storyQ
-C8 Who are theyQ
5ll the C more4than4one4spot information ,uestions are easy for students to respond to
them. In fact, it is found that -s9and ; were dealt with #y the teacher and the students in
(hinese and -s B and C are rote memory ,uestions. It seems that there is no genuine
dispersed information ,uestion and most ,uestions focus on sentential meaning thus
making little mental re,uirements upon students.
5 survey of text#ook comprehension ,uestions in the text#ook and the teacher4invented
ones show that nearly all the ,uestions are a#out surface information in a sentence domain.
-uestions of such type are at a lower level of cognition, which focus on identification,
recognition, or memory of explicit and locali6ing specific information. !herefore, in order
to enhance the development of students7 cognitive and linguistic a#ility, #oth text#ook
designers and teachers should make efforts to improve text comprehension ,uestions in
terms of their intellectual re,uirements on the part of learners.
$y looking at text meaning communicating mode, the cognitive dimension of text
comprehension ,uestions were examined and the findings are listed #elow8
91 text4explicit ,uestions are prevalent in all the teacher ,uestions collected:
;1 ,uestions a#out surface information constitute the ma%or part of supporting information
B1 surface meaning ,uestions are mostly those re,uiring locali6ing information.
@n the whole, all the text comprehension ,uestions #y the sample teacher are at a
lower4level of cognitive re,uirements. 5s for those raised at the phase of revision reading
text comprehension ,uestioning sessions, most of the ,uestions are rote/memory ones.
With regard to those listening/reading text comprehension ,uestions, they #asically call for
students to identify or recogni6e the needed information explicitly presented in the texts.
&evertheless, it should #e acknowledged that in language classrooms, it should never #e
necessary to a#andon a ,uestion #ecause students do not understand or reply well, for
misunderstanding prevents good opportunities for learning. !eachers should challenge their
students7 cognitive a#ilities as well as their command of the target language #y designing
appropriate text comprehension ,uestions.
+202) Strategies of Text-based Questioning
+202)20 Se=uencing
@f !eacher 57s text comprehension ,uestions in this study, altogether ;G series of
,uestions were collected. 2ow were those sets of ,uestions se,uenced in the ,uestioning
processesQ 5n investigation of all the text comprehension ,uestions in terms of ,uestion
se,uencing reveals that there are two types of se,uencing8 se,uencing at the micro4level:
se,uencing at the macro level. +etails a#out the two categories will #e discussed in the
following part.
acro4level se,uencing shows how all the text comprehension ,uestions in a series as
a whole are arranged and presented to students. Pro#ing ,uestions are excluded here.
@#servation and analysis of the data suggest that on the whole, each series of the ;G sets of
text comprehension ,uestions follows the order of text plot development. In other words,
text comprehension ,uestions are raised in line with the se,uence of text development.
!his is one strategy of text ,uestion se,uencing, which is easy and convenient for teachers
to ask students of ,uestions. !eachers can put forward ,uestions as text instruction moves
forward. It is found that in most text#ooks and tests, text comprehension ,uestions in a
series are se,uenced in this format. 5 further examination of these series of text
comprehension ,uestions finds that the data in this study follows two kinds of specific
se,uencing approaches8 general to specific: specific to specific.
1 The -general to specific information/ format
"enerally, any given text comprehension ,uestions should include those asking for
main information and those asking for detailed ideas. !hen, how are such types of text
comprehension ,uestions arranged in a seriesQ 5s discussed earlier, of ;G series of text
comprehension ,uestions only C 09C.CGR1 series have general information ,uestions. It is
found that these four series start with a ,uestion seeking main ideas or gists. !hus, they
follow the Sgeneral to specific= approach in ,uestion se,uencing8
e.g. -98 What is the story a#outQ
-;8 Why did people always go to see him when they were illQ
-B8 Why did people not go to him any moreQ
-C8 What did the doctor doQ
-H8 What did the doctor and his wife do after he stopped #eing a doctorQ
444a series of listening text comprehension ,uestions for LIJ ';J,.3F( *$ ;$
When talking a#out the se,uencing of text comprehension ,uestions including
,uestions asking for general ideas, Li 09GGF8 BEG1 contends that the se,uencing can follow
two formats8 one is general4to4specific information ,uestions, the other is <specific4to4
general information ,uestions=. *he further argues that there is no evidence showing that
any one se,uence is #etter than any other. In this study, as ,uestions a#out general
information are limited in num#er, only four series of text comprehension ,uestions follow
the general4to4specific information format of ,uestion se,uencing.
2. The -specific to specific information/ format
In the data #y the sample teacher, of the ;G series of text comprehension ,uestions the
ma%ority of those series 0;H1 do not have any ,uestions re,uiring students to find out the
general idea or the gist. !herefore, all the ;H series of text comprehension ,uestions are all
composed #y specific information ,uestions and all these ,uestions in each series are
se,uenced according to the development order of corresponding texts 0e.g. 91. 2ence, for
those series of text comprehension ,uestions, the se,uence follows the <specific to specific
information= format. 3ven a series of text comprehension ,uestions a#out a very short4
lengthy dialogue are also arranged this way 0e.g. ;18
e.g. 9 -98 When did Ling Feng write the diaryQ
-;8 Where did Ling Feng7s classmates go that afternoonQ
-B8 What a#out Ling FengQ Why notQ
-C8 Why did 5unt 2uang look worriedQ
-H8 2ow old was the #a#yQ
-E8 Why did the #a#y #egin to cry when she woke upQ
-F8 2ow did Ling Feng make her stop crying at lastQ
-I8 Why was he so tired when 5unt 2uang returnedQ
-G8 Who came to see him in the eveningQ
-9J8 What did Liu ing say when he knew the whole storyQ
444reading text comprehension ,uestions from LFI ';J, .3F( *$, ;$
e.g. ; -98 Where does the story happenQ In the street or on the roadQ
-;8 What does Mate want to doQ
-B8 What does .im tell herQ
444reading text comprehension ,uestions improvised #y the teacher for LEH '9F .3F( *$, ;$
!hough in a series where text comprehension ,uestions are se,uenced in the format of
specific to specific information, those ,uestions are not the same in the cognitive
re,uirements. 5s analy6ed in the previous section a#out the mode of meaning
communicating, specific ,uestions re,uire different cognitive efforts upon learners in terms
of explicit/implicit, locali6ing/dispersed presentation of information in texts. Zhou et al.
09GGF1 point out that indirect information ,uestions are more difficult than direct
information ,uestions and ,uestions a#out specific information at more than one spot are
even harder than those at only one spot. 5lso, ,uestions a#out reorgani6ed information
re,uire more cognitive a#ility than those a#out identified information. In the data #y the
sample teacher, as analy6ed #efore, there are altogether C implicit information ,uestions
and also C dispersed information ,uestions. 2owever, all these relatively high4a#ility
,uestions are scattered among other implicit and locali6ing information ,uestions which
are parallel to each other in terms of cognitive level #ecause the teacher se,uences her text
comprehension ,uestions in line with the se,uence of text information development. !he
teacher did not take any consideration over the cognitive re,uirements of those ,uestions.
icro4level se,uencing here refers to the intra4se,uencing of an initial ,uestion and its
follow4up ,uestions in a ,uestioning exchange. In other words, micro4level se,uencing
shows the arrangement of an initial ,uestion and the pro#ing ,uestions.
@f 9FJ text comprehension ,uestions in this study, there are 99 ,uestions following up
the initial ,uestions. !he se,uence of such ,uestions consisting of an initial ,uestion and a
follow4up takes an <extending and lifting= format 0$rown D 3dmondson 9GIC1. For
e.g.9 I- 0initial ,uestion 18 Is there anything wrong with rs $rownQ
P- 0pro#ing ,uestion18 What7s wrong with her, do you knowQ
e.g.;. I-8 What did the monkey say to the tigerQ
P-8 +o you think reallyQ
e.g.B. I-8 When did they put their picnic #asketQ
P-8 WhyQ
5ll these excerpts listed a#ove indicate that the second ,uestion as a follow4up is used
#y the teacher to extend the information supplied #y the initial ,uestion. In terms of
cognitive a#ility, pro#ing ,uestions generally re,uire more mental processing than initial
,uestions. 2owever, pro#es are ,uite small in num#er in !eacher 57s data.
*peaking of the se,uencing of text comprehension ,uestions #y !eacher 5 in this study,
all the relevant data show that the teacher adopted the way of se,uencing her ,uestions
according to the text development order. 5t the macro level of se,uencing or inter4,uestion
se,uencing, she exploited the <general4to4specific information= se,uencing format where
there were ,uestions a#out text main ideas. $ut in most cases she followed the <specific4
to4specific information= se,uencing approach. 5s for micro4level or intra4,uestioning
se,uencing, it is found that the teacher unconsciously deployed the <extending and lifting=
way of se,uencing ,uestions. In terms of learning values, the teacher raised her text
comprehension ,uestions while she was dealing with the texts. !o se,uence text
comprehension ,uestions according to the order of story development is not a #ad strategy
of ,uestion se,uencing. $ut the issue of when to use such se,uencing should #e taken into
account when it is exploited. If it is used at an appropriate time, the type of ,uestion
se,uencing will #ring a#out advantageous #enefits to learners. >. 2. Mressel7s study09GI;1
indicates that such se,uencing, if it is used #efore students tackle the <unseen= piece of
text, will motivate students and ,uestions se,uenced in such way can #e used as text
content clues which help students get a great many facts a#out the material. Mressel argues
that this strategy of se,uencing text comprehension ,uestions leads readers towards a
particular approach to the understanding of the given text.
2owever, to se,uence text comprehension ,uestions in line with text plot development
order is one of many options of ,uestion se,uencing. @ne important factor teachers should
#ear in mind when se,uencing text comprehension ,uestions is the cognitive dimension
#ecause understanding is a mental operation processing which involves many su#4skills. In
text comprehension instruction and testing, the se,uence of text comprehension ,uestions
should reflect whether the process and the re,uired competence in text comprehension are
cultivated and examined. !herefore, cognitive factor as part of dimensions of text
comprehension se,uencing should not #e ignored. >esearch 0e.g. !ollefson 9GIG1 suggests
that the cognitive level of the ,uestion has a dramatic impact on students7 responses. !he
implication here is that the goal of text information ,uestion se,uencing lies in that the
se,uence is not only used as a systematic and logic clue #ut also as a trigger exploring how
far students can go in terms of text comprehension.
5nyway, when se,uencing text comprehension ,uestions, teachers should take into
account the o#%ectives, text information features, ,uestion patterns. 5s $urden D $yrd
09GGG1 say, when ,uestions are asked in planned purposeful se,uence, they will enhance
student thinking and learning. 2owever, random ,uestions lacking clear focus and intent
should #e avoided in classroom teaching.
+202)2) Presentation
1. The time of te+t comprehension ,uestion presentation
!he issue of when text ,uestions should #e presented is related to two points8 the
se,uence of ,uestion presentation and text contact: the se,uence of ,uestion presentation
and ,uestion direction.
91 5s regards the se,uence of presentation and text contact, it was o#served in !eacher
57s lessons that her reading/listening text comprehension ,uestions were presented in three
ways8 some were posed #efore students contacted the texts: some were presented after
students7 exposure to texts 0#y listening/reading1: and others were presented partly #efore
and partly after students7 text contact 0cf. !a#le C.H1.
Table +2>: Patterns of Teacher A:s text comprehension =uestion series presentation in terms of
!hree types of text
comprehension ,uestion series
Patterns of text comprehension ,uestion series presentation in
terms of time
#efore text contact after text contact #efore/after
text contact
reading text comprehension
,uestion series
9 9C C
listening text comprehension
,uestion series
; 9 9
revision reading text
comprehension ,uestion series
!otal B ;9 H
From the ta#le it is clear that of all the ;G series of text comprehension ,uestions, more
than half series of text ,uestions were presented after the students7 contact with the texts.
In other words, only BJ ,uestions 09I.FER of the total 9FJ ,uestions1 were posed #efore
students were asked to listen to/read the texts. !his indicates that the sample teacher is
inclined to raise ,uestions after students have contacted texts. 2owever, class o#servation
and field notes show that the teacher does not always tell her students that they will #e
asked a#out the text they are to contact. !his demonstrates that students7 contact with texts
are aimless and without any goal orientation. In text reading / listening work, students are
usually not given any su#stantial tasks to do. !herefore, there is no su#stantial link
#etween the ,uestion4and4answer activities and the reading / listening work. In other
words, text comprehension ,uestions are not given to students as tasks for their
understanding of texts #ut as a testing tool.
@#viously only three series of text comprehension ,uestions were presented #efore the
students were exposed to the texts. It was o#served that the teacher explicitly told the class
that they were to #e asked of some comprehension ,uestions a#out the texts. In such cases,
the classroom procedures were usually as follows8 the teacher raised all the ,uestions of a
series and made sure they understood what they would do next: the students listened to
/read the text: the teacher again presented the ,uestions as the tasks: the teacher asked the
students of those ,uestions.
@ne point should #e made here that whether text comprehension ,uestions are
presented #efore or after text exposure, time should #e given to students to comprehend
those ,uestions. @therwise, students may fail to answer ,uestions and will not successfully
give right responses. !he data in this study shows that there are altogether 9J times that the
teacher provided opportunities for students to comprehend text comprehension ,uestions
#y means of the teacher reading through all the ,uestions or the teacher reading through
the ,uestions and students translating them into the (hinese language. It is found that due
to the lack of students7 understanding of ,uestions themselves, students sometimes might
not #e clear a#out the meaning or the content orientation of the ,uestions asked of them
0e.g. 9 and ;18
e.g. 9. !8 Zhu *hasha. +o you know what7s the trou#le with r (roftQ What7s the matter with
r. (roftQ +o you knowQ
*8 0pu66led, in a rising tone1 trou#leQ
!8 Pou don7t knowQ *it down, please.N
e.g. ; !8 What does she have to do, Wang PuQ
*8 0silent1
!8 (an you tell usQ
*8 'hm she4444I think she 4444have rich food.
! 8 What does she have to doQ 2ave to do, *Q
*8 @h. I think 444 er4444he444er 444she 4444er have to take more exercise. N
-uestion presentation does not refer to in a narrow sense presenting ,uestions to
students. It should mean the presentation of #oth ,uestions themselves and the task
em#edded in the ,uestions. $y presenting ,uestions, the teacher should guarantee that
students not only grasp what a ,uestion mean #ut also know exactly what kind of answer
they are expected to provide. In other words, ,uestion presentation is indeed <task setting=.
In this sense, whether ,uestion presentation is %ustified depends upon8 91. +o students get
informed of the task implied in the ,uestionQ ;1. +o students know well the re,uirements
of their responses to ,uestionsQ B1. +o students know how to complete the task #y
responding to ,uestionsQ If all the three conditions are met, then ,uestion presentation
should #e ,ualified and the outcome of ,uestioning would #e effective and success4
;1 !he time of ,uestion presentation is also related to the se,uence of ,uestion
presentation and ,uestion direction, which is technically termed framing. In this study all
the individual 0initial1 text comprehension ,uestions, 9HG in num#er, are examined in terms
of the framing of ,uestioning. !he results are summari6ed in the following ta#le8
Table +2?: The framing of indi$idual text comprehension =uestioning by Teacher A
!ype of text
comprehension ,uestioning
Formats of framing !otal
presenting ,uestions4then direction4then4presenting
comprehension ,uestioning
9E J 9E
revision reading4text
comprehension ,uestioning
;C J ;C
!otal 9;G BJ 9HG
5ccording to the a#ove statistic num#ers, it is evident that8
91 as for listening text comprehension ,uestioning and revision reading text
comprehension ,uestioning, the frame of ,uestioning takes the <,uestion presentation first,
nomination second= format. !here is no one except in these two phases of text
comprehension ,uestioning which follows the approach of nomination #efore posing
;1 with regard to the framing of ,uestioning for the reading text comprehension work,
the situation is more complex #ecause #oth types of framing of ,uestioning have #een
adopted #y the teacher, with the format of <presenting ,uestions #efore nomination= used
excessively more fre,uently than the format of <direction #efore presenting ,uestions=.
@f 9HG text comprehension ,uestioning exchanges, 9;G 0I9.9BR1 se,uences follow the
<,uestion presentation4then4nomination= framing approach whereas only BJ 09J.IFR1
se,uences are executed in the frame of <direction4then4presenting ,uestions=. !his
indicates that the teacher is inclined to frame her text comprehension ,uestioning #y first
asking a ,uestion and then directing it to a student or pose it to the entire class.
@n the whole, the data in !eacher 57s classroom confirm that she has the tendency to
first ask a ,uestion #efore nominating a student or directing a ,uestion to the entire class.
!hen why does the teacher tend to frame her text comprehension ,uestioning in such a
wayQ !his can #e explained #y many factors8 the sources of the teacher ,uestions, the goals
in ,uestioning, the planning issue of text comprehension ,uestioning, and the like. 5ll
these have #earing on ,uestioning frames. 5s mentioned earlier, !eacher 57s text
comprehension ,uestions were mostly improvised #y her in the course of classroom
instruction. !herefore, it is more likely that the teacher must first think up a ,uestion and
then she considers to whom this ,uestion should #e targeted. For example8
e.g. !8 Peah, what7s the %o# what7s the %o# what7s Maren arsh7s %o#Q We know she is an actor. What
(onrad >eever7s %o#Q Peah, what7s (onrad >eever7s %o#Q Liu Fei.
3ven when the teacher adopts the <nomination4then4,uestion= framing format, she is
still making up her ,uestion after nominating a student. For instance8
!8 Zhang Pan. +o $ill want do $ill want to go with themQ +o $ill want to go with themQ
$oth class o#servation and tape4recording transcripts evidence that the teacher speaks
at a fast pace, which is consistent with what she does in daily life. !his means that even in
classrooms the teacher does not pause or pause for a long time enough 0for example, a few
seconds1 for her students to perceive, understand and prepare for her text comprehension
,uestions. 5ll the data in this study suggest that there is nearly no wait time for students.
!herefore, in spite of the fact that the teacher adopts two approaches to the framing of
,uestioning and in most cases the format of <,uestion4then4nomination= is utili6ed, it
makes no su#stantial difference #etween the two approaches.
In heterogeneous classes, classroom text comprehension ,uestioning is mainly used for
the #enefits of the whole class. In addition, text comprehension work may need more time
for students to think and prepare for an accepta#le answer. *o teachers should #etter adopt
the <,uestion4pause4nomination/direction= style of framing of ,uestioning. When putting
this framing into practice, teachers should ensure that sufficient thinking time #e allocated
to students.
2. The mode of te+t comprehension ,uestion presentation
!he way ,uestions are presented can #e examined from two perspectives #elow8
91 5s to whether ,uestion presentation is done orally or visually, it is found that of ;G
series of text comprehension ,uestions, only ; series were presented #y the teacher in the
written form, i.e. writing them on the #lack#oard. 5ll the rest series of text comprehension
,uestions were all presented orally one after another in the ,uestioning process.
!his indicates that the teacher is likely to present her ,uestions ver#ally. !his can #e
further evidenced #y the fact that even for those text comprehension ,uestions printed in
the text#ook she never explicitly asked her students to look at them. 2owever, it is
o#served that some students read those ,uestions when the teacher was orally presenting
them. !he mode of ,uestion presentation orally or visually has different effects on
students. "enerally, listening is more difficult than reading. In one interview with the
teacher, she told the researcher that the reason why she always poses ,uestions orally is
that she wants her students to practice classroom listening and that in so doing she can
draw students7 attention, adding that it is another reason that some ,uestions are sometimes
improvised #y her orally.
;1 5s to whether ,uestions are presented wholly at once or one #y one, it is o#served
that as most of the teacher7s ,uestions were presented orally, she could not present each
series of text comprehension ,uestions all at once, which will #ring a#out heavy load on
student memory. !his can also #e explained #y the fact that most of !eacher 57s ,uestions
were improvised in the course of the lessons. !he o#servation shows that in most cases 0in
;C series of ,uestioning1 the teacher did not deal with a series of at one time. Instead, she
asked the students of a series of text comprehension ,uestions at intervals of students7
contact with texts #y reading or listening. 5s for the H series of text comprehension
,uestioning in which there were very few ,uestions in num#er, the teacher presented all the
,uestions at one time.
%. The techni,ues of te+t comprehension ,uestion presentation
When presenting a ,uestion, a teacher can have many options8 say the ,uestion only
once, repeat it, rephrase it, translate it, and so forth. 5ll these techni,ues, if properly used,
will enhance student learning. @therwise, they will inhi#it ,uestioning.
5ccording to the data, it is found that all the a#ove4mentioned techni,ues were all
exploited in !eacher 57s text4#ased ,uestioning. 2owever, the fre,uency of the use of those
strategies is varied8
Table +2?: Techni=ues of text comprehension =uestion presentation by Teacher A
presenting the
,uestion only once
repetition of
the ,uestion
translation of the ,uestion
after the initial presentation
rephrasing total
9B 9HB I E 9FJ
@f 9FJ text comprehension ,uestions, 9B ,uestions were not repeated 0e.g.91 while the
ma%ority of the ,uestions 09HB1 were presented again and again 0e.g.;1. I ,uestions were
repeatedly presented followed #y the (hinese versions 0e.g.B1 and E ,uestions were slightly
rephrased after the first presentation 0e.g.C18
e.g.9 !8 +o you know what7s her nameQ
*s8 rs $rown.
e.g.; !8 Where did they put their picnic #asket Q Where where did they put their picnic #asketQ
WhereQ Zhang Lei.
*8 'nder the tree.
e.g.B !8 Why did she take the man7s armQ Peah, do you know whyQ WhyQ Why did she take the
man7s armQ G 0 * + , , take one7s arm. Li Wei.
e.g.C !8 +id Paul have a good weekendQ +id Paul have a nice weekendQ
5s can #e seen in the a#ove excerpts, the ma%ority of the text comprehension ,uestions
were mechanically repeated over and over again #y the teacher. !his is #ecause on the one
hand, the teacher used this strategy to improvise her ,uestions, on the other hand, #y so
doing she wanted to make her students hear her clearly. $ut it is in effect not necessary for
her to repeat a ,uestion several times when the ,uestion is clearly expressed. Instead, she
should have given her students enough wait time for thinking a#out the presented ,uestion
and preparing for answering it. Without wait time, the students sometimes failed to give an
accepta#le answer. 5s many experts point out, there are disadvantages of fre,uent
repetitions of ,uestions8 !hey teach students that they need not pay attention to ,uestions
when they are first presented since the teacher always repeats them over time. In other
words, repeating ,uestions in a mechanical way conditions students to catch the replay of
the ,uestion instead of attending to it. oreover, this ha#it causes loss of valua#le class
time 0c.f. @rlich et al. 9GGJ1.
!he use of translation of ,uestions can not #e %ustified. If students can understand the
3nglish version of a ,uestion, the use of translation is useless. 5s the teacher did not
attempt to check whether the students understood the ,uestions, she only resorted to
translation in order to help students comprehend the ,uestions. $ut class o#servation
shows that in all the cases with the use of translation, the students were found to #e a#le to
understand the 3nglish version of the ,uestion #y murmuring the answer shortly after the
presentation of the ,uestions. *o, the teacher should consider the time of the use of
translation in ,uestion presentation.
*ometimes the teacher represented the ,uestion in a slightly different way #y changing
some words with other words. !hough such cases are very small in num#er, it should #e
acknowledged that rephrasing 0even partial paraphrasing1 is #eneficial in contrast to
merely mechanical repetition of the original ,uestion.
In this section, we have examined the aspects of presentation of text comprehension
,uestions #y !eacher 5. It is found that8
91 she is inclined to present ,uestions after students7 contact with texts #y listening or
;1 she has the tendency of presenting ,uestions orally:
B1 she is more likely to present ,uestions one #y one at intervals of students7 several
contacts with texts:
C1 most of her ,uestions are mechanically repeated after first presentation. 5 few
,uestions are partially rephrased or presented with the (hinese version.
"enerally speaking, !eacher 5 does not take ,uestions presentation as task setting.
Instead, she uses it as a testing device. 5nd no time is given to students for them to
consider ,uestions and prepare for responding to ,uestions. !herefore, her presentation of
text comprehension ,uestioning is considered to #e ineffective.
+202)24 8istribution
1. The class participation system
(lass o#servation shows that in !eacher 57s class, the students did not or were re,uired
to raise their hands to respond to her ,uestions. Instead, when she posed a ,uestion, the
students were sitting in their seats noisily uttering and waiting to #e called upon #y the
teacher. *ometimes, several ,uick #oys shouted out the responses after the teacher raised a
,uestion, #ut the teacher often ignored them and continued to direct the ,uestion to the
whole class or some individual student.
!he researcher once asked some students after class o#servation why they did not put
up their hands #ut waited for the teacher to nominate. !hey explained that in %unior grade
one they had once #een encouraged to raise hands to show their active involvement in class
activities #ut later on they did not do so #ecause in their view the hand4up student could
not #e always called upon #y the teacher and therefore they did not keep raising their hands
as time went #y. @n the other hand, the teacher should share the #lame #ecause in an
interview with the teacher she told the researcher that she now did not insist that her
students put up their hands to prepare to answer ,uestions. *he expressed that she could
make decisions a#out whom to select and whom not to #efore or after her presentation of
,uestions. In the interview she also admitted that she would not direct a ,uestion to those
who even raised their hands. In her opinion, she only nominated whom she intended to.
!his can #e further confirmed #y the fact that even all the class had shouted out the correct
response the teacher still nominated a student to respond to her ,uestion 0e.g.91. In all the
data collected, there is only one time when the teacher responded to a call4out 0e.g.;1.
e.g. 9. !8 3r if if the traffic light is green, er er er no. If the traffic light is yellow, er what should you
*s8 0shout out1 wait, wait.
!8 Zai Ping%ie. +o you knowQ
*8 Pou should wait.
e.g. ;. !8 Whom did they seeQ
* 0a #oy18 0calls out1 a monkey.
!8 I think Liu !ao7s answer is right.
From the a#ove, it seems that the class participation system of students in ,uestioning
is mainly reali6ed #y the teacher7s nomination. !hough there are sometimes call outs from
the class or from individual students, it is the teacher7s intentional selection that forms the
#asic system of student participation in ,uestioning activities. 3vidently, students are at a
passive position not knowing who of them will #e targeted #y the teacher7s ,uestions.
In the same interview with !eacher 5, when asked whether and how she made
decisions as to whom to #e directed, she told the researcher that8
@f course I know whom to target my ,uestions. "enerally speaking, I direct difficult ,uestions to
high4a#ility students and easy ,uestions to low4achievers.
$ut the facts were not always congruent with what she said. !he teacher was
sometimes found to direct a very easy ,uestion to a more4a#le student or a complex
,uestion to a low4a#ility student. When asked whether she made plans for ,uestion
distri#ution in advance, she told the researcher that it was unnecessary and that she could
do that in the course of the lessons.
(lass o#servation and interviews with !eacher 5 reveal that she did not reali6e the
importance of planning work in text comprehension ,uestioning activities. !his again
conforms to the result from the examination of her ,uestions, which have #een discussed in
earlier sections of this thesis.
2. 1atterns in ,uestion distribution
*ince it is the teacher7s right to select whom to respond to her text comprehension
,uestions, how did she distri#ute ,uestions to the classQ
5 statistic analysis was made of all the 9HI initial ,uestion distri#ution in ;G series of
text comprehension ,uestioning 0with 9; pro#ing ,uestions excluded10cf. !a#le C.F18
Table +2@: Patterns in =uestion distribution by Teacher A
!argets of
!ypes of text comprehension ,uestions !otal
revision text
the whole class ; ;G 9C CH
!otal 9F 9JF ;C 9HI
From the a#ove ta#le, we can get the following results8
91 as for listening and revision reading text comprehension ,uestions, they were
directed to the class as well as to individual students. In listening text comprehension
,uestioning the ma%ority of the ,uestions were responded #y individual students whereas in
revision text comprehension ,uestioning more than half of the ,uestions were answered #y
the choral responses.
;1 regarding reading text comprehension ,uestioning, individual responses were
predominant in targeting formats, with a small num#er of ,uestions directed to the entire
class and several ones answered #y the teacher.
@n the whole, text comprehension ,uestions were predominantly directed to the
individual students, the choral responses were two times less than individual responses and
only a few ,uestions were undirected which were self4answered #y the teacher herself.
%. !edirection in ,uestion distribution
>edirection is an effective method of involving as many respondents as possi#le. It is a
powerful strategy to increase student involvement and motivation and also promote
achievement 9GGG1. In !eacher 57s lessons, the pattern of redirection was found
to have emerged 99 times #ut only occurred in listening text comprehension ,uestioning. It
was o#served that 9J times the redirection involved at least three students and sometimes
as many as eight students were asked to answer the same ,uestion. For instance8

e.g. !8 Why did people always go to see him when they were illQ 0*91 Li Mai.
*98 was very kind.
!8 2e was very kind. 0*; 1 &iu )ing.
*;8 doctor is good and kind.
!8 "ood and kind. 0*B1 Li $o, $ %Q
*B8 !he doctor is very good and kind. N
When asked why she used the redirection strategy only in listening comprehension
,uestioning, she explained in an interview that for students listening comprehension is
more difficult than reading comprehension work and that #y using redirection the
responses of several students might constitute the final answer. *he added that the purpose
of the use of redirection is to see who correctly get the idea of a given text on the tapes. It
should #e pointed out that a ma%or goal in developing effective ,uestioning strategies is to
increase the amount of student participation 9GGG8 9HH1. 3ven with closed
/display ,uestions, the use of redirection can help more students practice thinking and
using the target language.
'. The issue of e,uity in distribution
3very student as a mem#er of a learning community should #e given opportunities to
#e engaged in the ,uestion4and Oanswer exchanges. In other words, ,uestions should #e
fairly directed among students. 5 statistic report was therefore made regarding the ,uestion
distri#ution to the individual students 0cf. !a#les C.I,C.G,C.9J, C.991.
5s for the ,uestion distri#ution in listening text comprehension ,uestioning 0cf. !a#le
C.I1, totally 9H ,uestions were directed to the individual students. 5ltogether B; students
were involved in responding to the teacher7s ,uestions. !hat is, nearly half of the class
were targeted in listening text comprehension ,uestioning. !his is to a large extent due to
the use of redirection strategy in the direction #y the teacher 0!his has #een analy6ed and
discussed earlier in this section1.
Table +2A: Question distribution byTeacher A to indi$idual students in listening-text
comprehension =uestioning
/ /// / / //
// / / / // //
// /
/ / // //
/ / /// / // //
/ // /
/ // / / /

"roup 9 "roup ; "roup B

teacher desk
With regard to the ,uestion distri#ution to individual students in revision reading text
comprehension ,uestioning 0cf. !a#le C.G1, 9J ,uestions were directed to 9J individual
students. From the ta#le, it is interesting that all the targeted students sat at the same side of
the classroom. !hose who sat at other positions of the classroom had no opportunities to
take part in the ,uestioning activities of revision reading text comprehension work.
Table +2B: Question distribution by Teacher A to indi$iduals in re$ision reading-text
comprehension =uestioning
/ / /
/ /
/ /

"roup 9 "roup ; "roup B

teacher desk
Table +20*: Question distribution to indi$idual students in reading text comprehension
=uestioning by Teacher A
/ // //// //// // //
/// / // //// //// // ////
/ // /
///// /// / / // /////
/ //// // // // ///
/ // //// // / /
// // // // //

"roup 9 "roup ; "roup B

teacher desk
5s far as the ,uestion distri#ution is concerned in reading text comprehension work 0cf.
!a#le C.9J1, FB ,uestions were directed to CJ individual students and BJ of those targeted
individual students were directed more than once. It seems that in reading text
comprehension ,uestioning the ma%ority of the class were involved, which gave students
chances of thinking and speaking in class. 5 careful examination of the distri#ution shows
that although there were FB ,uestions raised #y the teacher, ;H students in the class were
ignored #y the teacher and therefore they had no opportunity to participate in the reading
text comprehension work.
When the afore4mentioned three categories of ,uestion distri#ution to individual
students are com#ined together 0cf. !a#le C.991, the issue of whether the teacher7s ,uestion
direction to individual students was fair or not #ecomes self4evident. From !a#le C.99 it
can #e concluded that8
91 on the whole, there is a slight difference of ,uestion distri#ution #etween "roup 9, ;
and B, with 9C, 9H and 9; individual students respectively targeted #y the teacher in each
group in the text comprehension ,uestioning work:
;1 for individual students, there is great significant difference in the amount of ,uestion
distri#ution8 I students were involved in three types of text comprehension ,uestioning
work: ;; students were engaged in two types: and 9; students were called upon in only one
Table +200: Total =uestion distribution by Teacher A to indi$iduals in text comprehension
9 9/B 9/B 9/B 9/B 9/B
9 9/B 9/B 9/B 9/B 9/B 9/B
; 9/;/B 9/;/B 9
9/;/B 9 9/;/B 9 9/B 9/B
9 9/B 9/B 9/;/B 9 9/B 9/B 9/B
9/;/B 9 9/B 9/;/B 9 9
9/;/B B 9/B 9/B

"roup 9 "roup ; "roup B
teacher desk
&otes8 !he num#ers 9, ;, B respectively refer to the ,uestion distri#ution to individual students in
reading, revision reading and listening text comprehension ,uestioning.
It is found that of EH class mem#ers, ;H students were not given even one chance to #e
involved in text comprehension ,uestioning work whereas BJ were directed at least twice.
*everal students were even targeted seven to eight times in the ,uestioning activities.
@#viously, there exists ine,uita#le distri#ution in ,uestioning, which inhi#its some
students7 class learning #y depriving their rights to participate in class activities.
!his section discusses ,uestion distri#ution #y !eacher 5. It has #een found that mainly
exploited the strategy of nomination when targeting the class 0of 9HI initial ,uestions,
E;.JBR were directed to individual students, ;I.CIR to the class and G.CGR undirected or
self4answered #y the teacher herself1: the strategy of redirection was used infre,uently and
only in listening text comprehension ,uestioning: there is significant ine,uity, with more
,uestions directed to those sitting in "roup ;, BJ students repeatedly called upon and ;H
totally ignored r. 5ll these patterns in !eacher 57s ,uestion distri#ution are caused #y her
unplannedness and little knowledge of ,uestioning strategies.
+202)2+ 3eaction
1. !eaction I
+uring the period of student responses, #oth the teacher and peers should attend to the
respondent. In cases where the respondent may have trou#le in answering the ,uestion,
they can give him/her their hands.
5s to whether or not the teacher and her students attended to the respondent, it is found
that when a student was nominated, the class was always noisy #ecause they were active in
saying out the responses while sitting on their seats. $ut the teacher never took any
measures to keep the classroom ,uiet while someone was answering. In the process of
student responding, it was sometimes hard for the researcher to take field notes a#out what
the respondent was saying. @#viously a system of attending to the respondent has not yet
#een esta#lished in this class and such situation inevita#ly leads some students to drift
away from the class activities and some to do what they want to in class. !he teacher
should pay close attention to this and #oth the teacher and peers should show their
appreciation of and respect for any respondent #y their attention.
5s class o#servation shows, the teacher was found to #e very eager to get an immediate
correct response from the students. !herefore, she occasionally interrupted the respondents
who were uttering while thinking #efore they could finish their responses. *he often
inter%ected the responding process #y asking the respondents <+o you knowQ=0e.g. 91 or #y
repeating her initial ,uestion with the intention to redirect the same ,uestion to another
student 0e.g. ;1 or #y repeating the student7s 0e.g. B1, and sometimes even completing the
response for the responden.
e.g. 9 !8 Why did the children pull the #oat out of the waterQ Why did the children pull the #oat
out of the waterQ Zhao Peng.
*8 3r er
!8 0interrupts1 +o you knowQ
*8 3r, er, the, the, the #oat is not safe.
!8 @h. !he #oat is not safe. *it down, please.
e.g. ; !8 +o you know where is 2u )in 2u )in7s hometownQ Where is 2u )in7s hometwonQ Lin
*8 3r444
!8 0interrupts1 Where is 2u )in7s hometownQ 0redirects it to another student1 >en $ei#ei.
*8 .iangxi.
!8 Pes, .iangxi.
e.g. B !8 2uang Long. +o you know what cities are they going to visitQ What cities are 2u are 2u
)in and his parents going to visitQ +o you knowQ What cities are you are they going to
*8 Perhaps
!8 0interrupts1 Perhaps
*8 Perhaps visit *hanghai
!8 0interrupts1 Peah, *hanghai, &an%ing and Wuxi. @k. !hank you.
2. !eaction II
Teacher 3eaction
*tudents respond to a teacher7s ,uestion in various ways. !hey may keep silent, say
<I7m sorry, I don7t know=, lower their heads, respond hesitantly, give wrong or incomplete
responses, provide correct answers, and so forth. With diversified student responses, a
teacher usually consciously or unconsciously resort to differentiated strategies of reaction
to them. In !eacher 57s data, types of #oth student responses and teacher reaction were
identified. It is o#served that8
91 when reacting to no response from the directed students, she occasionally used the
following strategies8 repetition of the original ,uestion 09C times1 0e.g.91: repetition of the
previous ,uestion and then redirecting it to another student if the first student still remained
silent or said <*orry= 0H times10e.g. ;1: immediately redirecting the ,uestion to another
student 09B times1 0e.g.B1: critici6ing the student #efore redirecting the ,uestion to another
student 0e.g. C1: repetition of the same ,uestion and self4answering 0e.g. H1: repetition of
the initial ,uestion with the (hinese version 0e.g. E1: downgrading the re,uirements of the
,uestion #y narrowing it down 0; times1 0e.g. F1: downgrading the re,uirements of the
,uestion #y allowing students to answer in (hinese 09 time1 0e.g. I1: re,uesting the student
to supply an answer #y using <+o you know/(an youQ=0; times10e.g.G18

e.g. 9 !8 'hm, !ian Lei. Why did the children why did the children pull the #oat out of the waterQ
*8 0silent1
!8 Why did the children pull, pull the #oat out of the waterQ
*8 !he #oat is not safe.
!8 Peah. *it down, please. Pou are right.
e,g. ; !8 Why did Mate feel tiredQ Ping (huanU
*8 0silent1
!8 Why did Mate feel tiredQ
*8 *orry, I don7t know.
!8 *it down. 0redirects1 Li $o, can youQN
e.g.B !8 2ow did they get the #oat #ackQ 2ow did they get the #oat #ackQ Zhang (hengyin.
*8 *orry, I don7t know.
!8 3r, Ping (huan, do you knowQ
e.g.C .!8 What does Mate mother want to doQ What does Mate mother want to doQ What does Mate
mother want to doQ 0 , *Q (ai )ing. (ai )ing.
*8 0silent1
!8B o - , $ * Q 0redirects1 (ai -ian. N
e.g.H !8 Zhang )iaofeng. What did they see on island/ What did they see on the islandQ What did
they see on the islandQ
*8 0silent, lowering his head1
!8 0repeats the ,uestion1 What did they see on the islandQ +o you knowQ 0a short pause1 Peah,
we know they saw some #ananas.
e.g.E !8 Zhang (henyin, why did Mate feel a little afraid againQ Why did Mate feel a little afraid
*8 0silent1
!8 *Mate k ) ! .Q
*8 3r, the #asket is missing.
!8 !he #asket is missing. $ecause the #asket is missing. Pes. *it down, please.
e.g.F !8 )ie .ialiang. What did the children do thenQ What did the children do thenQ
*8 0silent1
!8 +id they leave the islandQ k / Q
*8 &o, they didn7t.
e.g. I !8 Why did she take the man7s armQN Pou know whyQ WhyQ Why did she take the man7s
armQ WhyQ Li Lei.
*8 0silent1
!8 If you can7t answer in 3nglish, please in (hinese. aQo, y;N.
*8 0 k 0 .
!8 Peah. *he thought the man was a ,ueue4%umper. *it down please.
e.g. G !8 Why did rs *mile want to invite people to her house a few weeks laterQ Why did rs
*mile want to invite people to her house a few weeks laterQ Wang .iao.
*8 0silent1
!8 +o you knowQ (an youQ
*8 !hey soon made a lot of interesting people.
!8 @h, a lot of friends. *it down, please.
;1 in cases when the directed student made mistakes or errors in answering the
,uestions, !eacher 5 tended to repeat the wrong answer in a rising intonation, which is
intended to prompt the student to correct his/her mistake 0e.g. 91: at other times, she
directly commented on the wrong response #efore redirecting the same ,uestion to another
student 0 e.g.;18
e.g.9 .!8 What did Mate mother want her to doQ What did Mate mother want her to doQ (ai -ian.
*8 get up.
!8 AGQ
*8 2e mum
!8 0interrupts, in a rising tone1 2e mumQ
*8 2er mum want to get up
!8 0interrupts1 2er mum want to get upQ N
e.g.; !8 Why didn7t the *miles have many friends at firstQ Why didn7t the *miles have many
friends at firstQ Fan 2ongyao. Why didn7t the *miles have many friends at firstQ
*8 $ecause 444 he444 he444 the first changed his %o#.
!8 @h. (hange his %o#Q 0in a rising tone1 I don7t think so. *it down. 0redirects1 Ping (huan. N
B1 in responding to correct responses from students, she was inclined to repeat student
responses and say <*it down, please=. In addition, she was found to have adopted other
techni,ues8 using follow4up ,uestions after students7 correct responses 09; times10e.g. 91:
making modifications/ela#orations after correct #ut incomplete responses 0e.g. ;1: giving
praises for 0; times1 or making acknowledgements on student responses #y saying <Pou
are right=, <I know you are right=, <!his is the answer=, < N is right=0 I times18
e.g.9 !8 +ong )iuli,. +oes the woman live in LondonQ
*8 &o.
!8 Where does she liveQ WhereQ
*8 In anchester.
e.g.; !8 What mistake is itQ 0*91 Zai Ping%ie.
*98 *he is not waiting for a #us. *he is waiting for a train.
!8 *it down, please. 0*;1 Liu Feilong, can youQ
*;8 3r, he is , #us stop.
!8 Peah. !he woman is sitting in a train station, not a #us stop. !hank you, sit down, please.
In #rief, when dealing with correct student responses, !eacher 5 mainly resorted to the
strategy of repeating student responses plus <*it down, please=. Pro#es, comments and
praises were far less exploited. It is found that she hasn7t formed a ha#it of praising her
students after their participation in the ,uestioning work. It is calculated that she used
<?ery good= occasionally and <!hank you= 9E times in total. "enerally speaking, she does
not always show her appreciation with her students7 performance in class work.
Peer Feedbac,
In the process of ,uestioning, peer students were occasionally re,uested #y !eacher 5
in evaluating or commenting on student responses. In so doing, she usually asked the class,
<PesQ7, <+o you think soQ=, <Pes or &oQ=, <+o you agree with him/herQ=, or <DA*
%Q 0, =. @ften, the peers expressed their agreement or disagreement merely #y
saying <Pes= or <&o= 0e.g.91. !here is only one case in which the teacher invited a peer
student to react to the respondent7s answer 0e.g.;1.
e.g..9 !8 Where did the children find the #oatQ +o you knowQ Where did the children find the #oatQ
Fan 2ongyao.
*8 in the sea.
!8 in the sea. 0to *s1 +o you agree with herQ
5 few *s8 Pes.
!8 0to *s1 PesQ +o you agree with herQ .Q
0ost students raise their hands1
!8 @M. 0to *1 *it down, please. Fan 2ongyao is right. Peah. !hey found their #oat in the sea.
e.g.; !8 Zai Ping%ie. +o you know where where does he workQ
*8 3r he her cousin is working at the computer company.
!8 +ong )iuli. PesQ
*;8 Pes.
!8 2er cousin is working at a computer company. Pes. @k. !hank you. *it down, please.
It is a good idea to have peers to respond to their classmates7 replies to the teacher7s
,uestions. 2owever, in the case of !eacher 5, she exploited this techni,ue only in the
treatment of students7 correct responses. If it could have #een used with wrong or
incomplete student responses, then it would have #een #eneficial to #oth the targeted
student and the peer students, who might have learnt a lot from those mistakes and
ela#orate on the responses. &evertheless, the practice of inviting peers to make %udgements
a#out student responses to the teacher7s ,uestions may result in increased attentiveness,
encourage additional student4to4student interaction, contri#utes to group co4operation and
achieves a more realistic social situation 0c.f. "ower D *teve 9GIB8 9HH: 2olden 9GIG8 ;E:
$urden D $yrd 9GGI8 ;CB: $rown D 3dmondson 9GIC1.
In this part, reaction in !eacher 57s text comprehension ,uestioning has #een examined
and some characteristics are found #elow8
91 a system of attentively listening to the respondent has not yet #een esta#lished:
;1 in the process of student responding, the teacher often interrupted #y repeating or
redirecting ,uestions: she sometimes downgraded the re,uirements of the ,uestions:
B1 in dealing with no response from students, she resorted to8 first repeating the same
,uestion, and then redirecting it to another student, self4answering, helping the student #y
translating the ,uestion into (hinese, downgrading the re,uirements of the ,uestion,
asking students whether they could answer the ,uestions:
C1 in treatment with wrong or incomplete answers, she tended to repeat the responses in
a rising intonation, prompting the student to correct it, or directly redirecting the ,uestion
to another student:
H1 as for correct responses, she always repeated student responses #efore asking
students to sit down: occasionally, she deployed strategies such as using follow4up
,uestions, ela#orating, commenting on student responses, and giving praises:
E1 peer feed#ack was also part of the reaction system, though it is mainly composed #y
teacher feed#ack.
+202)2> Structuring
In !eacher 57s data, altogether three patterns of structuring have #een identified in her
text4#ased ,uestioning. !hey are8 I>F, I9>9F9I;>;F;, I>9/>;/N/F, and I>I7>7F. !he
following will report them with some illustrations.
Pattern 1: 13F
In !eacher 57s text comprehension ,uestioning, the ma%ority of the ,uestioning
exchanges follow the #asic I>F pattern8 the teacher initiates a ,uestion, students respond to
it, and then the teacher evaluates the response.
e.g. !8 What7s the weather like on that dayQQ
*8 very cold.
!8 Pes. It7s very cold. !hank you.
Pattern 11: 103)F01)3)F)
$ut in some cases when she used pro#ing ,uestions after the student7s response to the
initial ,uestion, the ,uestioning structuring #ecomes I9>9F9I;>;F;. in !eacher 57s text
comprehension ,uestioning, this pattern emerged 9; times as there were 9; follow4up
,uestions. In the data.
e.g. !8 .iang *huai. +id >oy sleep well at nightQ
*8 &o.
!8 Peah. &o, he didn7t. +o you know whyQ WhyQ
*8 $ecause he always er #ecause er he always dreams a#out hard work.
!8 Peah. 2e always dreams a#out hard work. 0to *s1 PesQ 0to *1*it down please.
Pattern 111: 13093)9C9F
It is found that !eacher 5 occasionally 09J times, cf. *ection C.9.;.B.1 used the strategy
of redirection in ,uestion distri#ution. If a ,uestion is redirected to several students, the
teacher receives responses from different students. In such case, the teacher invites several
students to offer responses to the same ,uestion. !hus, the pattern of ,uestioning
structuring <I>9/>;/N/F= is esta#lished.
e.g. !8 Why did people not go to him any moreQ "EBo $ * ' 1%Q 2
kQ 0*91 Zhang )iaoliang.
*98 have a young doctor.
!8 a young doctor to help the people. @M. 0to *;1 Liang .ie, $%Q
*;8 #ecause the doctor #egan to forget something.
!8 Peah. 0to *B1 )ie .ialiang.
*B8 2e #egan to forget something.
!8 9 9o[ 3 %Q 0to *C1 Zhang )iaofeng.
*C8 2e #egan to forgets something.
!8 , B < 4 !he answer the answer is, the doctor #egan to forget things.
Pattern 1<: 131:3:F
5s mentioned earlier, there is no system that ensures that the class keeps silent and
attentive while a respondent is answering a ,uestion. 5s a result, the teacher sometimes
might find it difficult to hear clearly the respondent. !herefore, the teacher might make
re,uests for the student to repeat his/her response 0e.g.91 or ask him/her to make
clarifications of the responses 0e.g. ;1.
e.g.9 !8 "uo Mai. !his ,uestion. Why did the children pull the #oat out of the waterQ
*8 3r444 they7re afraid they can7t find their #oat.
!8 PardonQ
*8 !hey7re afraid, they can7t find their #oat.
!8 'h, they7re afraid they they couldn7t find their #oat. 0to *s1 PesQ 0to *1 you are right. *it
down, please.
e.g.; !8 !ian Lei. Which island are the children going toQ Which island are the children going toQ
*8 first.
!8 the farther one or the farthest oneQ
*8 the farther one.
!8 Pes, the farther one.
It is found that !eacher 5 used such expressions as <PardonQ=, <I #eg your pardonQ=,
<mmQ=, < = to show her re,uests for students to repeat their answers. !his kind of
insertion se,uences in the teacher7s ,uestioning exchanges is found to have emerged B
!o sum up, in !eacher 57s data altogether C patterns of ,uestioning structuring have
#een recogni6ed8 I>F, I9>9F9>;I;F;, I>9/>;/N/F, I>I7>7F. !he latter three types of
,uestioning structures are varieties of the #asic ,uestioning structure <I>F=. !hough the
varied structures of ,uestioning were less fre,uently used in the targeted classroom, it
should #e acknowledged that these patterns of ,uestioning structuring have positive
influence on students7 classroom learning motivationally and linguistically8
91 !he pattern <I9>9F9I9>;F;= is used mainly for a ,uestioning exchange consisting
of an initial and a pro#ing ,uestion. If fre,uently used, this ,uestioning structuring
increases the amount of individual student7s classroom thinking and language production.
;1 !he structure <I>9/>;/N/F= is essentially a useful pattern emerging in redirection. It
provides opportunities for more individual students to participate in responding to the same
,uestion and for students to share different responses. $y exploiting such structuring
pattern in the ,uestioning activity, the teacher involves more students in the ,uestioning
work, thus the scope of student involvement is enlarged.
B1 5s for the structure of <I>I7>7F=, some interactional meaning negotiation devices
are introduced in the ,uestioning process, such as clarification re,uests and confirmation
checks. !his pattern of ,uestioning structuring helps the teacher negotiate interactionally
with the respondent, though the student remains passive in the whole ,uestioning process.
+2024 ;eneral 1mpression of Teacher A:s Text-based Questioning
$ased on the a#ove data presentation and analysis, we can see that !eacher 5 did raise
many text4#ased ,uestions in her lessons, which gave students a lot of practice in
understanding and producing the target language. $ut as far as the types of text4#ased
,uestions are concerned, her ,uestions are all text comprehension ,uestions, which make
lower4level cognitive re,uirements on learners7 part. &o ,uestions a#out the text topic are
raised #y the teacher, which motivate students to discuss. 5lso, in her text instruction there
is no pre4 or post4 text4#ased work in the form of ,uestion4and4answer.
5s for her ,uestioning strategies, she se,uences her ,uestions mainly in line with the
development of texts: she frames her ,uestioning #y means of presenting ,uestions #efore
directing them: she presents text4#ased ,uestions at intervals and orally, using repetition
techni,ue most and some other techni,ues: in terms of ,uestion distri#ution, teacher
nomination is the main method and she tends to use individual student direction #ut unfair
distri#ution exists among student: in reacting to student response, teacher ver#al response
includes several different techni,ues #ut most of them are negative: the structuring of the
,uestioning mostly takes the format of I>F.
@n the whole, !eacher 5 seems to take a close control over her class. *he wants her
students to do as she wants. *he keeps a fast pace in her lessons and she always has a flat
voice and facial expression. *he rarely praises her students even when they do well in
some tasks. !herefore, her teaching style is teacher4fronted and teacher4centred.
+2) Teacher &:s Text-based Questioning
+2)20 Aspects of Text-based Questions
+2)2020 Quantity 7 Source of Text-based Questions
It is o#served that !eacher $ asked a total of 9HF text4#ased ,uestions in her lessons.
5ll these ,uestions are a#out ;C texts 0;J reading and C listening texts1. In average, she
raised a#out E.H ,uestions for each text. In fact, it is found that she and her students dealt
with ;E texts and did not ask and answer a#out two texts. !eacher $ once told the
researcher that sometimes she %ust asks her students to read and act out short dialogues
#ecause she thinks they are very easy for the students to learn and therefore there is no
need for her to raise text4#ased ,uestions in class. In most cases, however, she tackles each
text with her class #y presenting text4#ased ,uestions #ecause she like !eacher 5
emphasi6es text comprehension work in language tests.
5s far as the sources of the 9HF text4#ased ,uestions are concerned, it is found that
there are three8 the text#ook, the teacher and the students. 5mong the 9HF ,uestions, FC are
invented #y the teacher, F9 are directly from the text#ook and 9; come from the students.
.ust as mentioned in the data presentation and analysis of !eacher 57s text4#ased
,uestioning, not all texts in the text#ook have attached text4#ased ,uestions. !herefore, if
the teacher wants to help students comprehend each text, he or she has to design text
,uestions #y themselves. In !eacher $7s lessons, it is interesting that #oth she and her
students contri#ute to the design of text comprehension ,uestions. 5sked when she invents
her text4#ased ,uestions, she said that she usually invents then and writes them in her
teaching plan in advance and that she rarely improvises ,uestions in class. 5s for the
involvement of students in making up text comprehension ,uestions, according to the data,
there are two occasions when students are invited #y the teacher to raise some text
comprehension ,uestions in class. It is o#served that in the two cases the teacher thinks the
texts are very simple and she shifts the responsi#ility of raising ,uestions to the students #y
giving the class several minutes to prepare ,uestions in groups.
It should #e acknowledged that it is a good attempt to involve students in asking text
,uestions, #ut the teacher should first train students how to form what kind of ,uestions
#efore making such attempts. In fact, class o#servation indicates that it is those more4a#le
students who can put forward some text ,uestions in class and most of the other students
can not do so and therefore not every student in the class #enefits from such teacher
decision4making. In addition, the involvement of students in inventing text ,uestions are
occasional, which shows that it is the teacher7s temporary, nonsystematic teaching
+2)202) Types of Text-based Questions
When types of text4#ased ,uestions are considered, we find that all the9HF text4#ased
,uestions cover reading and listening text ,uestions8 9E listening text4#ased ,uestions and
9C9 reading text4#ased ,uestions.
With regard to the 9C9 reading text4#ased ,uestions, they can #e further grouped into
two kinds in terms of reading text teaching and learning procedures8 ;H pre4reading/lead4in
,uestions, 99E reading comprehension ,uestions,. !he lead4in ,uestions are found in I
text4#ased ,uestioning sessions. !he ma%ority of text4#ased ,uestioning consists of only
text comprehension ,uestions. 5ccording to the data, it is discovered that two series of
text4#ased ,uestioning are special #ecause they are all lead4in ,uestions. 5ll the analyses
indicate that when using text4#ased ,uestions, !eacher $ herself is not very clear a#out the
now standard practice in the design of text instruction tasks of using a three4phase
procedure involving pre4, while4, and post4 reading/listening stages.
In relation to grammatical forms of ,uestions, the distri#ution of types of ,uestions in
!eacher $7s text ,uestioning is8 of all the 9HF text4#ased ,uestions, C9 ,uestions 0;E.FGR1
are yes/no ,uestions, 99E 0FB.;9R1 wh4,uestions and there is no choice ,uestion. !his
indicates that in text4#ased ,uestioning sessions, wh4,uestions are generally the
predominant type of ,uestions used #y the teacher, with the other types in a small
proportion. 3ven when students are invited #y the teacher to raise some text
comprehension ,uestions, they tend to form their ,uestions in the form of special
Table +20): ;rammatical forms of text-based =uestions by Teacher &
!ypes of text4#ased ,uestions "rammatical forms of ,uestions !otal
yes/no ,uestions choice ,uestions special ,uestions
lead4in ,uestions F J 9I ;H
reading4text comprehension
BC J I; 99E
listening4text comprehension
J J 9E 9E
!otal C9 J 99E 9HF
+2)2024 /ontent 5rientation of Text /omprehension Questions
When the content orientation of ,uestions are concerned, a close examination was
made of the 9B; listening and reading text comprehension ,uestions to see whether there is
a #alance #etween glo#al and local information of the texts in terms of meaning #oundary
0cf. !a#le C.9B.1.
Table +204: !eaning boundary of text comprehension =uestions by Teacher &
!ypes of text comprehension
(ontent orientation !otal
glo#al information local information
listening text comprehension
9 9H 9E
reading text comprehension
B 99B 99I
!otal C 9;I 9B;
!he a#ove ta#le shows that, only 9 out of 9E listening comprehension ,uestions from
the text#ook is a#out the topic of the given texts 0e.g.91: B reading text comprehension
,uestions invented #y the teacher are focused on general ideas of the relevant texts 0e.g.;1.
@n the whole, 9;I 0GE.EFR1 text comprehension ,uestions seek specific information a#out
texts whereas very few re,uire students to locate glo#al information. !his situation of text
comprehension ,uestions in terms of meaning #oundary should #e noticed #y practical
teachers. If all ,uestions of a given text are focused on local information, students will pay
no attention to the glo#al meaning of the text. !his can #e evidenced #y some student4
initiated ,uestions in the data, which are all a#out specific ideas 0e.g. B1.
e.g.9 What7s the story a#outQ
e.g.; -9 What makes 2an eimei happyQ
-; What makes Paul sadQ
-B Is the dialogue a#out a fat ladyQ
e.g.B -9 +oes Peter have a good gardenQ
-; What7s *usan going to doQ
-B Who invited 2elen and .im for lunchQ
5s to meaning category of text comprehension ,uestions, it is found that the 9B; text
comprehension ,uestions are all focused on factual information of texts. In other words, no
,uestion asks students a#out meaning categories such as attitudes, intentions, points of
views, functions of texts. In short, all the local information oriented ,uestions #elong to
those seeking facts of texts.
+2)202+ /ogniti$e 3e=uirement of Text /omprehension Questions
$y looking at the mode of communicating meaning 0explicit/implicit:
locali6ing/dispersed1, we can get some insights into the mental operation involved in
answering text comprehension ,uestions. 5s previously mentioned, there are merely C
,uestions re,uiring students of main ideas of texts. 2owever, those glo#al4information4
oriented ,uestions are very easy for students to answer #ecause the replies to them can #e
picked up #y students on the pages of their text#ooks or on the tapes. !herefore, those
,uestions are text4explicit ,uestions, which do not stimulate students7 higher4order
!he ma%ority of text comprehension ,uestions in !eacher $7s lessons are a#out
supporting or detailed factual information. In relation to the mode of meaning
communicating, we have made an investigation of those ,uestions and got the following
results 0cf. !a#les C.9C and C.9H1.
Table +20+: !ode of meaning communicating D0E--- explicit or implicit
explicit information implicit information total
9;H B 9;I
Table +20>: !ode of meaning communicating D)E--- locali6ing or dispersed
locali6ing information dispersed information total
9;; B 9;H
From !a#le C.9C, it is discovered that of the total 9;I ,uestions seeking detailed text
information, only B ,uestions are text4implicit 0e.g. -s9, ;, B1. !hat is, they re,uire
students to offer answers which are #ased on their understanding of the text meaning. In
answering those ,uestions, students need to use their own words to express the intended
meaning of the texts #y logical reasoning and analy6ing.
e.g. -9 Why did the monkey laugh in the endQ
-; Why did the woman talk so slowlyQ
-B Why did the children think soQ
!he rest 9;H ,uestions can #e categori6ed into text4explicit ones, which call for
students to identify or recogni6e the needed information which is surface meaning in the
texts. In answering those ,uestions, students do not experience deep mental processing #ut
operate at a very low cognitive level.
!a#le C.9H indicates that of the 9;H text4explicit ,uestions, merely B ,uestions re,uire
students to find out relevant ideas and put them together 0e.g. -s9, ;,B1.
e.g. -9 Who are the childrenQ
-; 2ow many times did >oy go to see the doctorQ
-B 2ow many hours does arsh work every weekQ
!he answers to the a#ove ,uestions are not on one spot of the texts, When answering
them, students need to reorgani6e the useful information in the texts. !hough the three
,uestions are relatively easy for students to respond, the significance of such ,uestions is
that students should #roaden and enlarge their scope of text understanding. 5s the statistics
indicate, most of the text4explicit ,uestions are prevalent in !eacher $7s text
comprehension ,uestions. !he danger of the predominance of those ,uestions is that they
focus students7 attention on sentences of texts #ecause the answers to them can #e located
in sentences. 5s a result, students process not texts #ut sentences. !hen, how can students7
discourse competence #e developedQ
+2)2) Strategies of Text-based Questioning
+2)2)20 Se=uencing
5s mentioned earlier, in !eacher $7s text4#ased lessons, her ,uestions consist of two
types8 lead4in ,uestions / personal ,uestions and text comprehension ,uestions. 2owever,
all series of text4#ased ,uestions are not formed #y the two types. 5s far as the se,uence of
,uestions in the ;C series of text4#ased ,uestioning is concerned, it is found that in !eacher
$7s lessons there are mainly three types of se,uencing8
1. Se,uencing from to comprehension ,uestions
!his indicates that in those series including lead4in ,uestions, !eacher $ usually asks
her students some ,uestions a#out the topic a text addresses. !hen she moves on to text
comprehension ,uestions. 'sually those lead4in ,uestions are often referential ones with
the purpose of warming up students. !herefore, they can activate students7 schemata or
#ackground knowledge on a specific topic.
(lass o#servation and tape4recording transcripts show that !eacher $ sometimes
present her lead4in ,uestions at the end of one lesson and invites her students to talk a#out
the relevant topic and raises text comprehension ,uestions at the #eginning of another
lesson. In other words, there is an interval #etween lead4in ,uestions and text
comprehension ,uestions presentation. In such cases, she always tells her students to
preview the text they will learn. $ut occasionally she does not interrupt the se,uence of the
two types of ,uestions and present them in the same class #y first asking her students
several lead4in ,uestions #efore presenting text comprehension ,uestions and then getting
students to read/listen to the texts. For instance, in dealing with a text titled <+reams= 0LFJ
'9I, .3F( ;$1, she first orally presents the following ,uestions8
e.g. -98 +o you sleep well at nightQ
-;8 +o you dream when you dreamQ
-B8 +id you have a dream last nightQ
-C8 Is it a good dream or a #ad dreamQ (an you tell us what it is Q
$efore the students are invited to respond to the,uestions, the teacher reports to the
class her recent dream, thus increasing the interest of the students. !hen several students
answer those lead4in ,uestions. 5fter that, the class moves on to the text comprehension
work. It is clear that the introduction of lead4in ,uestions can help students learn texts
#etter. 5nd with lead4in ,uestions se,uenced #efore text4comprehension ,uestions, the
students are encouraged to relate their text learning with their personal lives. !hough such
se,uence of ,uestions in the teacher7s data is small in num#er, there is positive influence
on students7 learning of texts #ecause they make the learning of texts relevant to students7
personal lives.
2. Se,uencing from general to specific ,uestions
!he ma%ority of !eacher $7s series of text4#ased ,uestions are text comprehension
,uestions. "enerally, each series of text comprehension ,uestions should consist of those
seeking general idea and those asking for detailed information. $ut in !eacher $7s data
general ,uestions emerge in only five series of text comprehension ,uestions. !hese
,uestions are followed #y many specific ,uestions. For instance8
e.g. -98 What makes 2an ei happyQ
-;8 Who #ought it for herQ
-B8 (an she use it Q
-C8 Who can teach her to use the computerQ
4444reading text comprehension ,uestions from the teacher for Part 9 LFF ';J .3F( *$, ;$
!he se,uence from general to specific is not highlighted in instruction. @n the one
hand, even in text#ooks there are very few general ,uestions designed for texts: on the
other hand, it is found that students have difficulty in answering such ,uestions. 5ll these
may explain why such se,uence in text comprehension ,uestioning is rarely o#served in
the data. If the se,uence of specific to general is taken, can students answer those general
,uestionsQ If students are given more training in grasping the main idea of a given text,
what will #e the resultsQ !his needs further research from classroom teaching and learning.
%. Se,uencing from specific to specific ,uestions
In !eacher $7s data, except those five series with general ,uestions, all the rest are
formed #y specific ,uestions calling for students to locate the detailed information
contained in the given texts. 5ll those ,uestions are se,uenced according to the
arrangement of the texts. In other words, when the answer of the ,uestion is located in the
former part of the text, then the ,uestion will #e presented first: when the answer of the
,uestion appears in the latter part of the text, then the ,uestion will #e asked latter. Without
,uestions asking for the glo#al meaning, most series of text comprehension ,uestions take
the specific to specific format. For example8
e.g. -98 Where are Mate and her motherQ
-;8 +oes Mate feel wellQ
-B8 WhatVs wrong with herQ
-C8 What does other want to doQ
-H8 What does Mate want to doQ
-E8 (an Mate have #reakfastQ
4444reading comprehension ,uestions invented #y the teacher for LEF '9F .3F( *$ ;$
5s seen in the a#ove excerpt, all the ,uestions are se,uenced one after another with the
development order of the dialogue. !he disadvantages lie in that for students, they are at
the same cognitive leve and do not constitute a cognitive challenge to students and
sthererfore are easy for students to answer: for the teacher, such type of se,uence is easy
to operate. 5s for this se,uence, some factors should #e taken into account8 text difficulty,
text length, and learner proficiency. In !eacher $7s data as well as !eacher 57s, the texts in
text#ooks are relatively easy and short and the students7 language proficiency is at a lower
level, so the se,uence of specific to specific may #e an option to #e chosen #y the teachers.
2owever, this se,uence should include as many ,uestions as possi#le, thus increasing
chances of stidemts7 practicing the targeted language.
In addition, there are also 9H follow4up ,uestions.used as pro#es in the form of wh4
,uestions. !he se,uence of those exchanges with follow4ups takes the initial4pro#ing
format or extending/lifting mode, which is a micro4level se,uence 0e.g. 9: ;: B1.
e.g. 9. I-8 What does rs $rown have to eat and drinkQ
P-8 WhyQ Why does the doctor ask her to have these thingsQ
;. I-8 Who telephoned the police/
P-8 Why did he telephone the policeQ +o you know whyQ
B. I-8 +o you want to #e a millionaireQ
P-8 WhyQ Why do you want to #e a millionaireQ
From the a#ove excerpts, it can #e discovered that the teacher uses why ,uestions to
ask the students a#out more information a#out the text. 5ctually, it is o#served that
sometimes a student can answer the initial ,uestion #ut fails to answer the pro#e. !he data
shows that this micro4level se,uence is very helpful for the teacher to check whether the
students can continue to answer following related ,uestions. In other words, this se,uence
can #e adopted #y teachers to explore students7 understanding texts and also the process of
their understanding. In !eacher $7s data, however, it is found that she uses this se,uence
very unfre,uently.
In relation to the se,uence of text4#ased ,uestions in !eacher $7s data, it is o#served
that three formats are used8 91 when there are lead4in ,uestions, she usually first asks lead4
in ,uestions to activate students7 #ackground a#out the texts #efore she lets her students to
tackle text comprehension ,uestions either derived from the text#ook or invented #y
herself: ;1 when there are general ,uestions a#out the text, she usually exploits the general4
to4specific se,uence: B1 in most cases she takes the specific4to4specific se,uencing format
#ecause most of her series of text comprehension ,uestions are a#out detailed information
a#out the texts: occasionally, she uses why ,uestions as pro#ing ,uestions to relate relevant
,uestions, and in such cases the se,uence is formed #y an initial ,uestion and a follow4up
,uestion, which is at the micro4level of ,uestion se,uencing. "enerally speaking, the main
se,uencing format in her data is the specific to specific one, due to the fact that the
ma%ority of those text4#ased ,uestions are a#out specific information oriented in terms of
content orientation.
+2)2)2) Presentation
2ow the teacher presents text4#ased ,uestions has a #earing on students7 texts learning.
!eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestioning is analy6ed in three categories8 the time, the mode and
the techni,ues.
1. The time of te+t.based ,uestion presentation
5s for the time of text4#ased ,uestion presentation, we look at the se,uence of ,uestion
presentation and text contact1, it is o#served that she presents her lead4in ,uestions #efore
getting the students to go through texts. 5lthough among all her text4#ased ,uestions lead4
in ,uestions are small in num#er, the presence of those ,uestions #efore students7 contact
with texts helps activate their #ackground of the text topic and constitute communicative
In reading/listening text comprehension ,uestioning, her ,uestions are presented in two
ways8 all the listening text comprehension ,uestions are presented #efore students are
asked to listen to the texts: in reading text comprehension ,uestioning work, sometimes the
teacher first gets the class to #e exposed to the texts and then tell them to get ready to
answer some text comprehension ,uestions and at other times she presents text
comprehension ,uestions, asks students to understand those ,uestion meaning #efore
telling them to go through the texts #y reading or listening. !he following gives a general
picture of the time of text4#ased ,uestion presentation 0cf. !a#le C.9E.1.
Table +20?: The time of text-based =uestion presentation by Teacher &
!hree types of text4#ased
,uestion series
Patterns of text comprehension ,uestion series
presentation in terms of time
#efore text contact after text contact #efore/after
text contact
reading4text comprehension
,uestion series 09I series1
9H B J
listening4text comprehension
,uestion series 0C series1
From the a#ove ta#le, it can #e seen that all the listening text comprehension ,uestions
are presented #efore students are exposed to the texts whereas as for the presentation of
reading text comprehension ,uestions, only B series are raised after the students are told to
read or listen to the texts.
5ll the data show that the teacher tends to present text4#ased ,uestions #efore the
students deal with the texts. +uring the class o#servation, !eacher $ is often found to
explicitly tell her students, for example, <!oday we will learn lesson eighty. 2ere are some
,uestions. &ow the first oneN=5fter she and her students encounter all the ,uestions, she
plays the tape and asks the class to look at the text and listen to the tape. In most cases, she
will ask the class, <(an you answer my ,uestionsQ=. If most of the class say <&o=, she
allows the class to read or listen to the text again. @#viously, in most cases the teacher
seems to use the ,uestions as a teaching tool or task to help the students to understand the
texts. 2owever, it is found that the teacher does not know how to guide her students to
derive useful text information from those ,uestions. *he only resorts to presenting text4
#ased ,uestions #efore asking her class to contact the texts. If she could help her class to
make full use of those text comprehension ,uestions in getting text information, then the
way of her presentation of text4#ased ,uestions in terms of time would #e effective.
!he time of ,uestion presentation is also related to ,uestion direction 0the issue of
framing1. 5s done with !eacher 57s data, two steps are taken to examine the framing of
!eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestioning8 we first look at the framing pattern of each type of
text4#ased ,uestioning and then the framing of each series of text4#ased ,uestioning. @n
the whole, it is found that a very crucial difference of framing #etween !eacher $ and
!eacher 5 is that the former usually has a pause #etween ,uestion presentation and
,uestion direction. Wait time is very important in ,uestioning #ecause it can help students
think a#out ,uestions and prepare for answers.
5s far as the framing of individual text4#ased ,uestioning is concerned, all the 9C;
initial text4#ased ,uestioning 09H follow4up ,uestions are excluded here, B of which occur
in lead4in ,uestioning and 9; in reading text comprehension ,uestioning1 are investigated
and the results are listed in !a#le C.9F8
From the a#ove ta#le, we can see that8 in all the ;; initiated lead4in ,uestioning the
,uestions are presented #efore direction: also, in listening text comprehension ,uestioning,
the <,uestion presentation #efore ,uestion direction= format is taken: in reading
comprehension ,uestioning, however, the situation is complicated8 two formats of
,uestioning framing are adopted #y the teacher #ut the ma%ority of those ,uestioning
sessions take the form of presenting ,uestions #efore nomination.
Table +20@: The framing of indi$idual text-based =uestioning by Teacher &
!ypes of text4#ased
Formats of framing
presenting ,uestions4then4
lead4in ,uestioning ;; J ;;
listening text comprehension
9E J 9E
reading text comprehension
!otal 999 B9 9C;
@f all the 9C; initiated text4#ased ,uestioning se,uences, FI.9CR 09991 ,uestioning
exchanges follow the pattern of presenting ,uestions #efore getting students to answer
whereas only ;9.IER 0B91 follow the framing of nominating students #efore raising
,uestions. It seems that in most cases !eacher $ is likely to frame her text4#ased
,uestioning #y first presenting ,uestions and then calling upon students to answer. (lass
o#servation shows that she often invites her students to think a#out those ,uestions she
raises or presents. *ometimes she insists that students discuss text comprehension
,uestions in groups and sometimes she helps students to understand the ,uestions. !he
framing of presentation #efore nomination is encouraged #y language teaching
methodologists #ecause of its many advantages in attention4getting and class participation.
"enerally speaking, !eacher $ is inclined to frame her text4#ased ,uestioning #y
putting forward ,uestions #efore asking students to respond to them. @ne reason is that she
is inclined to ask students to prepare for answering text4#ased ,uestions. If text4#ased
,uestions are in the text#ook, she often asks her students to look at and consider them #y
giving them a few minutes. In cases that she invents some ,uestions, she first presents
them occasionally on the #lack#oard #efore inviting the students to give responses. 'nlike
!eacher 5 who wants her students to give an immediate correct answer, !eacher $ seems
to #e always patient and does not hurry in giving lessons. *he does not speak too fast.
ay#e the personality of a teacher has some impact on the framing of ,uestioning.
5nother reason is that as has #een mentioned earlier, !eacher $7s most ,uestions are
written down in her teaching plans. !hat is, she does not always hurriedly improvise her
,uestions in class #ut prepares them in advance, although she admits that she occasionally
make up some ,uestions in the course of her instruction.
2. The mode of presenting te+t.based ,uestions
With regard to the mode of presenting text4#ased ,uestions in terms of senses, it is
o#served that in cases of presenting lead4in ,uestions, she usually reads them out one #y
one. *he does not write those warming up ,uestions on the #lack#oard. When presenting
text comprehension ,uestions, she makes use of #oth oral and written mode. In other word,
she occasionally writes on the #lack#oard several text comprehension ,uestions invented
#y herself. $ut in cases when text comprehension ,uestions come from the text#ook, she
%ust asks her class to look at those ,uestions on the pages and often reads them through in
order to draw all the students7 attention to those ,uestions. "enerally speaking, !eacher $
mainly presents ,uestions orally. !his can #e explained #y her words in an interview that
if the teacher can read through text comprehension ,uestions to the class, they will
understand ,uestions #etter, otherwise they might pay no attention tothem. !he reason
why the teacher presents her ,uestions orally even in cases when the ,uestions can #e
visually contacted #y the students is that #y so doing students7 attention can #e drawn. !his
is similar to !eacher 57s opinion.
5s to whether the text4#ased ,uestions are presented wholly or separately, it is noticed
that she is likely to present all her ,uestions as a whole #efore students7 contact with the
texts. In so doing the advantage is that students are expected to find out the answers to the
,uestions when going through the texts. 5s seen in !a#le C.9F, 9H series of text
comprehension ,uestions are presented wholly #efore students7 exposure to the texts. 3ven
the ; series posed after students7 contact with texts are also presented all at once.
Why the teacher presents her text4#ased ,uestions all at once in most cases can #e
explained #y the fact that on the one hand, she makes teaching plans for her classroom
instruction, which ensures that she can do so: on the other hand, she has a tendency to get
her students to understand ,uestions #efore they answer them. In most cases, she gives her
students two to three minutes to prepare for answers.
%. The techni,ues of te+t.based ,uestion presentation
Like !eacher 5, !eacher $ also adopts similar techni,ues of presenting text4#ased
,uestions such as repetition, translation, rephrasing. !he fre,uency of each techni,ue is
listed in !a#le C.9I..
Table +20A: techni=ues of text-based =uestion presentation by Teacher &
presenting only once repetition translation after the initial presentation rephrasing
9C 99; HF I
From the a#ove ta#le, we can see that although the teacher exploits several techni,ues
in presenting her text4#ased ,uestions, there exists great variance in the fre,uency of those
strategies8 @f the total 9HF text4#ased ,uestions, only 9C are presented oncee.g. 9, I
slightly rephrased.0e.g. ;: B1: 99; repeated again and again 0e.g. C1 and HF repeatedly
presented #ut also translated #y the teacher or the class 0e.g.H: E1.
e.g. 9 !8 Who will take care of the younger #rotherQ 0to a volunteer1 .iang $o.
*8 Paul.
e.g. ; !8 2ow did they get, get their #oat #ackQ 'hm. 2ow did they find the #oatQ
e.g. B !8 3r, what did the tiger say to the monkeyQ What did the tiger want the monkey to doQ
e.g. C !8 Is there anything wrong with rs $rownQ 0a short pause1 Is there anything wrong with
herQ 0a short pause1 +o you know, is there anything wrong with rs $rownQ
e.g..H !8 What was >oy doing in his dreamQ A*.Q
*s8 0noisy, attempting to translate1
!8 , >oy 8 08 5 *Q k < 4
e.g..E !8 Why did their friends still stay till midnightQ WhyQ 0 *
*s8 0noisily translating1
!8 G< & ! a short pause, to a non4volunteer$ai .ie.
*8 A0 D ko * 6
5mong the strategies used #y !eacher $ in presenting her text4#ased ,uestions,
rephrasing is the least techni,ue adopted #yher, which is the same case in !eacher 57s
lessons. (lass o#servation reveals that her 3nglish proficiency is not very high and her
voca#ulary is limited. !herefore, it is very pro#a#le that there is a close relationship
#etween the teacher7s 3nglish level and the use of the paraphrasing techni,ue .
>epetition of the original text4#ased ,uestion is overwhelmingly adopted #y the
teacher, as in the case of !eacher 57s lessons. 5ccording to the teacher7s opinion,
repetition is a very useful techni,ue to draw students7 attention. $ut she does not reali6e
the underlying danger of using repetition mechanically in ,uestion presentation is that
students might #ecome #oring when they can hear clearly what the teacher says, especially
when the presented ,uestions can #e found in the text#ook. !he interview with some
students after class o#servation also reveals that they think that in cases when the teacher7s
,uestions can not #e found on the pages, the teacher7s repetition of those ,uestions are
necessary and helpful #ecause they admit that their listening a#ility is low and the teacher7s
repetition assists them in grasping the ,uestion itself as well as its meaning .
!he techni,ue of translation is fre,uently used. in !eacher $7s presentation of text4
#ased ,uestions. In the interview with the teacher, she said8
When I was an 3nglish learner, my 3nglish teacher often translated or asked her students to give the
(hinese meaning for her ,uestions. I think it is very good and helpful to our 3nglish learning. &ow I
often use translation in my ,uestioning work. In most cases I ask my students to do the work. !hey can
form a group to discuss what meaning each ,uestion has. *ometimes I ask the class or invite some
students to say out the (hinese to see if they really understand what the ,uestion means. In so doing, I
think every student can understand the ,uestions themselves at least.
In a nutshell, !eacher $7s use of strategies in presenting text4#ased ,uestions can #e
concluded as follows8
91 in most cases she presents ,uestions #efore students read or listen to the texts:
;1 she tends to present text comprehension ,uestions as a whole:
B1 she is likely to present her text ,uestions orally and visually:
C1 she is inclined to use the techni,ues of repetition and translation when presenting the
text ,uestions.
"enerally, !eacher $7s presentation of text4#ased ,uestions is slightly different from
that of !eacher 5 in that the former seems to try to let her students make clear a#out
,uestions and therefore she uses translation and pause time in the process of her ,uestion
+2)2)24 8istribution
1. The class participation system
(lass o#servation shows that in !eacher $7s class, a class participation system, has
#een esta#lished. !hat is, students should put up their hands when they want to answer a
,uestion overtly in class and the teacher encourages the class to do so. In addition, it is
found that a competitive system also exists in this class, which encourages every group of
students to take an active part in ,uestioning work as well as other classroom activities
#ecause the teacher will make comparisons of the classroom performance of each group s.
!herefore, in each of !eacher $7s lessons volunteers are often noticed raising their hands
and waiting to #e called upon #y the teacher. When asked a#out the introduction of the
competitive system into the classroom, the teacher said8

In %unior grade one these students were very active in participating in classroom activities #ut
gradually they did not continue doing so. I want them to #e active in my lesson. I think and think. !hen
at the #eginning of this term, this idea came into my mind. I tried using this idea in this class and I
found it was success.
In the o#served lessons it is found that in every class there are always a#out fifteen to
twenty active students. 5ccording to !eacher $, #y using the hand4up system,she can
roughly know who can and who can not answer the ,uestions and it can #e used as a
reference to help the teacher in ,uestions direction.
*ince in !eacher $7s classroom students should raise their hands to participate in
,uestioning tasks, then how does she direct her ,uestions to the class, especially to the
individual studentsQ When asked a#out this issue, she told the researcher that in her class
every group of mem#ers make competition in taking part in classroom activities including
,uestioning work #ut there are cases in which some students who know the answers do not
put up their hands. In such cases, she will direct her ,uestion to those students in order to
help them #ecome volunteers 0e.g 91. In most cases, however, it is o#served that she directs
her ,uestions to the volunteers #ut she tries to keep a #alance #etween the chances each
group is gvien 0e.g. ;1. It seems that the teacher tries to involve all her students in the text4
#ased ,uestioning work.
e.g. 9 !8 Why did she want to see the doctorQ 0a short pause1 WhyQ 0a short pause1 0to a non4
volunteer1 (hen Lu.
*8 $ecause her knees hurt #adly.
!8 o $ * Q
*8 0silent, lowering her head1
!8 <"E 0,7 4 7 0 B< $
e.g ; !8 What did the doctor and his wife do, after he stopped #eing a doctorQ 3r4440to a volunteer1
*un 2ui. 3r, 0to another volunteer in group B1 Pang Weidong. 7 G 7 4
[[< !
2. 1atterns in ,uestion distribution
5lthough in !eacher $7s classroom there is a participation system and a competitive
atmosphere, it is still the teacher who directs each of her ,uestions to either the entire class
or the individual students. Fair direction is still a sensitive issue. !herefore, an
investigation is made a#out the targets of all the teacher7s initiated text4#ased ,uestions and
the results are summari6ed in !a#le C.9G.
Table +20B: Patterns of text-based =uestion distribution by Teacher &
!argets !ypes of text4#ased ,uestions !otal
lead4in ,uestions
for reading
comprehension work
the whole class H ;B J ;I
individual students ;J GB 9E 9;G
!otal ;H 99E 9E 9HF
From the a#ove ta#le it can #e seen that8
91 no text4#ased ,uestions are undirected. In other words, all the teacher7s ,uestions are
directed either to the entire class or to the individual students:
;1 most of the teacher7s text4#ased ,uestions are directed to individual students, with
IJR lead4in ,uestions, IJ.GFR reading and 9JJR listening comprehension ,uestions
distri#uted to the individual students.
!he general impression of !eacher $7s pattern in ,uestion distri#ution is the pattern of
individual direction is prominent and the chorus response is not preferred #y the teacher.
!his can #e confirmed #y the fact from the class o#servation that even in cases when some
,uick students call out the responses or the whole class shout it out sitting on their seats the
teacher does not respond. Instead, she will encourage students to raise their hands and then
select someone or several students from those hands4ups to answer her ,uestions.
%. !edirection in ,uestion distribution
In !eacher $7s lessons, It is found that the techni,ue of redirection is much used in all
her types of text4#ased ,uestions. It is estimated that altogether the fre,uency of redirection
is as many as BG times. In most cases she uses the redirection strategy to involve more
students in answering the same ,uestion. For isntance8
e.g. !8 +id you have a dream last nightQ I had a dream last night. It is it was a good dream. In my
dream, I flied, fly, k< ! +id you have a good dreamQ
0several students put up their hands1. *uo Pong, Is it a good dream or a #ad dreamQ
*8 5 good dream.
!8 (an you tell usQ
*8 y parents #uy me a present.
!8 0to ?;1 What a#out youQ
*;8 It7s a #ad dream.
!8 !ell us, @MQ
*;8 It7s a secret.
!8 It7s a secret. 0laughs1 0to ?B1What7s your dreamQ (an you tell usQ
?B8 I I went to a river. I %umped into the water. I can7t swim. 3r er I cry. N
In listening text comprehension ,uestioning the teacher always invites several students
to voice out what they hear on the tape and answer those listening comprehension
,uestions. $y so doing, all the students can understand the given texts. It is true that the use
of redirection in ,uestion distri#ution is #eneficial in increasing the amount of student
participation in class activities and providing opportunities for students to share their
different ideas, thoughts and expressions. It is found that in !eacher $7s class many
students are very active in attending the ,uestioning work, #ut due to the constraints of
class time, not all students can #e nominated #y the teacher to answer ,uestions. !herefore,
the adoption of redirection can solve the pro#lem to some extent.
'. The issue of e,uity in distribution
5s mentioned earlier, students in !eacher $7 lessons are encouraged to take part in
,uestioning activities and she usually chooses students among those volunteers and
sometimes selects from those non4volunteers,. 5 general impression from class o#servation
seems that she treats all the class fairly in ,uestion distri#ution except that she does not call
upon several students who sit at the #ack of the classroom who according to the teacher
have no interest in 3nglish su#%ect and are not disruptive in class. In order to have a clear
picture of her ,uestion distri#ution, a seating map is used to take notes of all the ,uestion
distri#ution #y her in three types of ,uestions8 lead4in ,uestions, listening text
comprehension ,uestions and reading text comprehension ,uestions 0cf. !a#les C.;J: C.;9:
Table +2)*: Question distribution by Teacher & to indi$iduals in lead-in =uestioning for reading-
text comprehension =uestioning
/ /// //
// /// // /// / /
// /// /// //
/ / / ///
// / //
/ / //

"roup9 "roup ; "roup B

teacher desk
*peaking of the ,uestion distri#ution to individual students in lead4in ,uestioning for
reading text comprehension, of all the ;H ,uestions ;J are targeted to individuals. In the
,uestioning process, due to the use of redirection #y the teacher, it is found that ;; students
are involved in pre4reading ,uestioning activities, with 9C students called upon #y the
teacher at least twice. In such ,uestioning sessions, #ecause of the nature of lead4in
,uestions which are communicative and re,uire students to produce their own language, it
is often those more4a#le students who volunteer and eventually #e called upon #y the
teacher. !herefore, those that have #een targeted #y the teacher7s lead4in ,uestions are
mostly volunteers or high4achievers in the class, though there are cases a few non4
volunteers are directed #y the teacher to answer warming4up ,uestions.
Table +2)0: Question distribution by Teacher & to indi$idual students in listening text
comprehension =uestioning
/ / /
/ / / ///
/ // / /
// / / / / ///
// / /// //
/ // /
/ / / // /

"roup 9 "roup ; "roup B

teacher desk
With regard to the ,uestion distri#ution to individual students in listening4text
comprehension ,uestioning 0cf. !a#le C.;91, the 9E ,uestions are all directed to individual
students. 5s students feel listening comprehension more difficult than reading
comprehension, the teacher often asks several students to offer their answers to the same
listening comprehension ,uestions. 5s a result, more students in the class are involved in
the ,uestioning activities. !his is #ecause !eacher $ adopts the strategy of redirection in
listening4text comprehension ,uestioning. !a#le C.;9 reveals that ;G individual students
are invited #y the teacher to respond to listening text comprehension ,uestions. (lass
o#servation shows that in listening4text comprehension work, nonvolunteers are relatively
more fre,uently called upon. It can #e seen that G students are given more than two times
to respond to listening4text comprehension ,uestions.
Table +2)): Question distribution by Teacher & to indi$idual students in reading-text
comprehension =uestioning
// / //
/ / ///
/ /// ///// / /// / // /
/// / //// ///////// ////// // ////
/ ////// /// ////// ///////
/// /////////// / /
// // / ///// ////// /

"roup 9 "roup ; "roup B

teacher desk
5s for the ,uestion distri#ution to individual students in reading4text comprehension
,uestioning 0cf. !a#le C.;;1, GB ,uestions are directed to BH individual students and ;B
students are targeted #y the teacher more than twice. (lass o#servation evidences that the
opportunities of answering ,uestions are given to those more4a#le students and those
volunteers. 5lthough in reading comprehension ,uestioning the ma%ority of the ,uestions
are distri#uted to individual students #ut half the class are not involved #y the teacher. In
other words, they are not given chances of speaking in class. !herefore, the teacher should
take this into account in assigning tasks to her students even when they do not raise their
hands in class.
*o far, we have analy6ed the ,uestion distri#ution to individual students in three types
of !eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestions. If all three maps of the ,uestion distri#ution are
integrated, a comprehensive picture of !eacher $7s ,uestion direction to individual
students is availa#le to us 0cf. !a#le C.;B1.
Table +2)4: The general =uestion distribution by Teacher & to indi$idual students in text-based
B ;B
9;B ;B 9;B 9;B
B ;B 9;B B 9;B ;B 9B 9B
9;B 9;B 9;B 9;B 9;B B 9;B
B 9;B 9;B 9;B 9;B
9;B 9 9;B ;B
;B ;B B 9;B 9; 9;B

"roup 9 "roup ; "roup B

teacher desk
&otes8 9, ; and B in the ta#le respectively stand for the ,uestion distri#ution to individual students
in pre4reading, listening4and4reading comprehension ,uestioning work.
5ccording to !a#le C.;B, it is found that8 91 BE students have #een involved in text4
#ased ,uestioning, of whom 9G have #een engaged in three types of text4#ased
,uestioning, 9J students directed in two types and F students targeted in only one type: ;1
BJ students have not #een nominated in any type of the text4#ased ,uestioning.
@#viously, although !eacher $ tries to encourage all her students to take part in text4
#ased ,uestioning, she selects the respondents mainly from those more4a#le students or
volunteers. 5s a result, some students are more directed than others and some are totally
ignored in all the text4#ased ,uestioning work.
*o far, we have looked at !eacher $7s ,uestion distri#ution in three types of text4#ased
,uestioning activities. We find that in her class all the students are encouraged to raise their
hands to participate in ,uestioning work. @f all her 9HF ,uestions, ;I are responded #y the
chorus responses and 9;G are distri#uted to individual students. &o ,uestion is undirected
or self4answered #y the teacher. "enerally speaking, !eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestioning is
mainly individual4directed.
5lthough the ma%ority of the class are involved in text4#ased ,uestioning activities,
some students are excluded from those tasks. In addition, even for those who are engaged
in those ,uestioning sessions, there is also unfair direction #y the teacher. !his may #e
related to the teacher7s nomination strategy of mainly referring to those volunteers.
+2)2)2+ 3eaction
1. !eaction I
5s to the issue of attending to the respondent, class o#servation shows that students in
!eacher $7s class are willing to get involved in class activities and therefore the class is
found to #e very noisy when the teacher presents ,uestions. When a student has #een
targeted #y the teacher7s ,uestion, some other students 0especially those ,uick #oys1 still
try to answer the ,uestion #y calling out their responses. When the classroom is very noisy,
!eacher $ does not often stop it. Instead, she continues her teaching. It seems that she has
not reali6ed the disadvantages of a noisy learning environment to students7 classroom
learning. !herefore, she should keep a #alance #etween students7 enthusiasm and the
classroom discipline. If #oth the teacher and peers attend to a respondent in a ,uiet way, it
will #e #eneficial to #oth the respondent and peers.
5s to whether there is teacher inter%ection in the process of responding, class
o#servation shows that !eacher $ never %umps onto a student who is responding a
,uestion. *he is always patiently waiting for the targeted students to finish their answering.
It is found that when a student is una#le to continue the answering, she often says to the
respondent, <+on7t worry. "o on=0e.g.91. 3ven when a student makes a linguistic mistake
in answering, she does not always interrupt to make corrections. Instead, she usually deals
with this issue after the respondent finishes speaking. 2owever, it is the peers who often
interrupt when a student says something wrong or incorrect. *o the teacher does not
necessarily correct students7 mistakes #y interrupting in the process of the respondent7s
answering a ,uestion.
e.g. !8 2ow do you feel, if if someone %umps the ,ueueQ 0to a volunteer1Puan $o.
*8 I think, I feel angry. 5nd I 444 0una#le to continue1
!8 5nd you 4444 !ry to think. +on7t worry. 0a short pause1 "o on.
(ompared with !eacher 5. !eacher $ is not very eager to receive an immediate correct
response from her students. *he wants her students to speak as much as they can. *o she
does not often resort to interruption in students7 answering. !his can #e confirmed #y later
analysis in this section.
2. !eaction II
Teacher 3eaction
In !eacher $7s lessons, she encounters various student responses to the text4#ased
,uestions. It is o#served that, in reacting to no response from the students, she uses the
following techni,ues8 91 giving a certain wait time. In most cases she is not eager to ask
her students to give a ,uick and immediate answer to her ,uestion. Instead, she is always
patiently waiting for a few seconds #efore the students finally give a response. In such
cases, she is likely to say to the students, <!ry to think=. If the students still can not give an
answer, she %ust gently says to them, <*it down, please= and then selects another student to
answer the same ,uestion 0e.g. 91: ;1 repetition of the original ,uestion. 5s has #een said,
her text4#ased ,uestions in most cases are presented #efore her nomination. !herefore, she
occasionally repeats the ,uestion in order to help the targeted student to answer it. !here
are five times when she does so and the students directed in such cases are mostly non4
volunteers: B1 repetition of the initial ,uestion and translation of it: C1 sometimes she
translates the ,uestion into (hinese after repeating the original ,uestion so that the students
may #e assisted to give a response to the ,uestion.
e.g.9 !8 Zhang Panan, can you answer this ,uestionsQ
*8 3r er she is is 444
!8 'hm go on. !ry to think.
*8 0thinks and una#le to go on1
!: (an youQ
*8 *orry.
!8 @M. *it down, please. 'hm, 0to another student1 Wang +an, please.
5s to reaction to wrong or incomplete answers, she tends to repeat or translate the
,uestion in order to help the student to find the right track 0e.g. 91. If the student still can
not answer the ,uestion, she then redirects the ,uestion to another student. If there are any
linguistic mistakes in the student7s response, in most cases she ignores them. 2owever,
sometimes if she takes notice of those errors, she may interrupt and correct them #y
repeating the respondent7s answer 0e.g.;1. *he does not always inter%ect in the student7s
answering or critici6e her students. 'sually after error correction, she turns to the students
who make errors and tells them to remem#er not to make them again.
e.g. 9 !8 Why did Mate say soQ WhyQ 3r 444 Pu $ing.
*8 *he wants to #e kind.
!8 *he wants to #e kindQ Why did she say soQ * * Q
*8 *he is only %oking.
!8 *he is only %oking. 0to *s1 Pes or &oQ Pes. N
e.g. ; !8 Why are they in the gardenQ Why are the children in the gardenQ $ai .ie.
*8 !hey want, want play in the garden.
!8 want playQ want to play
*8 !hey want to play in the garden.
When students give correct answers to the ,uestions, she tends to first repeat the
student responses. 2owever, she sometimes uses the following techni,ues unconsciously8
91 using pro#ing ,uestions. 'nlike !eacher 5 who occasionally uses content ,uestions to
pro#e her students, !eacher $ likes to use <What elseQ=, <5nything elseQ=, <Is that allQ= to
delve students7 thinking and elicit more production. !his is o#served especially in her lead4
in ,uestions 0e.g.91: ;1 commenting on student responses or giving praises. ost often she
makes comments on students7 responses #y saying <Pes=, <Peah=, @k=, <>ight=, <!hat7s
right=. *he often gives students praises after they make efforts to answer the ,uestions. *he
usually shows her appreciation for students7 performance #y saying <!hank you=, <"ood=,
<?ery good=. *ometimes she uses (hinese to show her encouragement to her students, like
<L0 [=: B1 !eacher $7s nonver#al feed#ack is also very noticea#le.
*he is always smiling in the course of her lessons. 2er tone and facial expression show that
she expects her students to participate in the classroom ,uestioning activities. !herefore, it
is found in those o#served classes that she never critici6es her students in the process of
,uestioning. For isntance8
e.g. !8 If you are ill, what should you doQ
?98 drink more water.
!8 drink more water. 3r what elseQ
?98 go to the doctor.
!8 ?ery good. *it down, please.
Peer Feedbac,
Like !eacher 57s classes, peer feed#ack occasionally occur in the reaction to student
response in !eacher $7 s lessons. 2owever, the situation in !eacher $7s lessons is ,uite
different from that in !eacher 57s. 5s the students in !eacher $7s class are encouraged to
take part in the class activities, they are often active in responding to a student7s response,
especially when the answer from a respondent is wrong. !hey usually shout out on their
seats #y pointing out the mistake or correcting it. 5nd !eacher $ permits such #ehaviors.
In most cases the teacher will invite the class to make %udgements a#out a respondent7s
answer #y saying, <+o you think soQ=, <+o you agree with him/herQ=, <Pes or &oQ=. *he
prefers to use <Pes or &oQ= in inviting peer feed#ack. !his can #e seen in some excerpts
illustrated previously.
+2)2)2> Structuring
In !eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestioning, four patterns of structuring of ,uestioning have
also emerged, which are8 I>F, I9>WF9I;>9F;, I>9/>;/../F, and I>I7>7F.
1attern 12 I!3
In !eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestioning, most ,uestioning exchanges take the I>F
pattern. !he teacher raises a ,uestion, a student gives a reply and then the teacher gives
comments on the response.
e.g. !8 Who invites 2elen and .im for lunchQ WhoQ WhoQ *hi >uyi.
*8 Pat and !om.
!8 Pat and !om. Pes. ?ery good. *it down, please.
5s most of the text4#ased ,uestions are display ,uestions easy to answer, the pattern of
I>F is most prevalent in the classroom.
1attern 22 I1!131I2!232
5s mentioned #efore, when follow4up ,uestions are used in a ,uestioning exchange,
the structure ,uestioning #ecomes complex. In !eacher $7s lessons, there are 9H pro#es.
!hey are all why ,uestions. It is o#served that in five ,uestioning exchanges initiated #y
yes/no ,uestions, !eacher $ insists using why ,uestions to pro#e her students why they
answer <Pes= or <&o=.
e.g. !8 +id the *miles have many friends when they moves thereQ +id theyQ Liu )ing.
*8 &o, no, they didn7t.
!8 Peah. &o. WhyQ
*8 0silent1
!8 WhyQ !ell me why.
*8 $ecause it is a new town.
!8 mm.
*8 they didn7t meet many people. N
1attern %2 I!17!27873
In !eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestioning, redirection is much used #y her in three types of
text4#ased ,uestioning. *he wants to involve more students in speaking in class and
therefor she uses this techni,ue in her ,uestioning BG times. (onse,uently, BG ,uestioning
exchanges take the form of I>9/>;/N/F. It is found that more students are involved in her
lead4in ,uestioning exchanges than in reading/listening comprehension ,uestioning ones.
In one case, fourteen students are engaged in answering the same ,uestion. !his is #ecause
lead4in ,uestions are referential/open4ended. 5lso, in listening4text comprehension
,uestioning, she exploits this structure of ,uestioning, which helps students grasp ideas on
the tape. !his structuring of ,uestioning is sometimes used in reading4text comprehension
,uestioning. !he following excerpt is an episode from the listening4text comprehension
,uestioning work8
e.g. !8 Why did people not to go to him not to go to him any moreQ o * ! %Q 0to
*91Liu )iawen.
*98 #ecause there was young doctor.
!8 there was a young doctor. *it down please. 0to *;1 Zhang ing.
*;8 #ecause he is old, and, he is k< '
!8 &o. 0to *B1 Wu 2aiwei.
*B8 #ecause, er, the doctor, forgot things.
!8 0to *s1 Pes or &oQ Pes, #ecause he forgot things. @k. "ood. *it down please.
4attern )/ 6565F
In this pattern there is usually a meaning negotiation #etween the teacher and the
respondent. 5s the ,uestions are all initiated #y the teacher, it is often the teacher who
re,uests her students to make clarifications. 5s said #efore, no system has #een esta#lished
in her lessons to ensure all the class to keep ,uiet when some student is answering a
,uestion and the class is sometimes noisy when ,uestioning is happening. In such cases, as
a result, the teacher has to use clarification re,uests in ,uestioning exchanges at times.
e.g. !8 &ext one. &ow, why did the woman come to see the doctor Q WhyQ WhyQ Zhang
*8 2er knees AAA
!8 5gain, please.
*: 2er knees hurt #adly.
!8 Pes. ?ery good. *it down, please.
It is o#served that when making re,uests for her students to clarify their answers, the
teacher often says < PardonQ=, <mmQ=, 5gain, please=.
It should #e pointed out that if the teacher can re,uire the class to attend to the
respondent when answering a ,uestion, then there is no need to use such structuring of
,uestioning #ecause it is a waste of time.
Four patterns of structures of ,uestioning appear in !eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestioning,
with I>F prevalent in the whole ,uestioning. I>9.>;/N/F is much used #y the teacher
#ecause of her fre,uent use of redirection strategy. 9H times the pattern of I9>9F9I;>;F;
occurs #ecause of the introduction of pro#ing ,uestions. !he I>I7>7F pattern is sometimes
adopted when the teacher can not hear the respondent clearly.
+2)24 ;eneral 1mpression of Teacher &:s Text-based Questioning
(lass o#servations indicates that in !eacher $7s text4#ased ,uestioning, she uses two
types of ,uestions, the ma%ority of which are text comprehension ,uestions and a very
small num#er lead4in ,uestions: most of those ,uestions are special ,uestions in linguistic
terms: text comprehension ,uestions are predominantly focused on text4explicit detailed
information at one spot in texts. It can #e said that the use of text4#ased ,uestions is
ineffective #ecause the ,uestions used #y the teacher does not really explore the students7
understanding of texts. In the process of text4#ased ,uestioning, she se,uences the text
comprehension ,uestions along with the development order of texts: in ,uestion
presentation, she asks students to discuss ,uestions #efore their text contact sometimes,
presents ,uestions occasionally in the written form and usually visually and audially, and
frames her ,uestions #y using ,uestion4then4direction interchangea#ly: she encourages her
students to participate in ,uestioning #y esta#lishing the hands4up system #y reference to
which she nominates students to answer ,uestions and #y using redirection #ut there exists
unfairness in ,uestion distri#ution: she keeps a positive attitude to students7 responses and
seldom critici6es them in class: her ,uestioning structuring patterns are mainly composed
#y I>F and other patterns are infre,uently used.
!eacher $ shows great empathy with her students and she keeps a good rapport with
them. @ccasionally she invites her students to put forward text comprehension ,uestions.
*he wants her students to practice more in class #ut she evidently does not know the
effective ways. *he once told the researcher that she is willing to learn from other teachers
#ut she can not get the real insights from them. 5s a result, she does not keep following
some patterns in her teaching and therefore she sometimes performs well and at other times
she fails to achieve the intended goals. @#viously, she is in need of effective guidance from
experienced teachers and from explicit theory learning and training.
+24 Teacher /:s Text-based Questioning
+2420 Aspects of Text-based Questions
+242020 Quantity 7 Source of Text-based Questions
In !eacher (7s classes o#served, it is found that a total of 9BI text4#ased ,uestions are
raised for ;B texts 099 dialogues/ conversations and 9; short passages1. In average, she
asks her students of six ,uestions in treating each text. 2owever, a survey of the text#ook
shows that not all texts are accompanied #y attached text4#ased ,uestions. It is o#served
that 9I of the ;B texts have attached text4#ased ,uestions that appear either after the texts
or in the work#ook as comprehension work for students to do. In other words, there are H
texts which are treated #y !eacher ( and her students without attaching any text4#ased
,uestions to them. It is discovered that !eacher ( rarely invents text4#ased ,uestions. @f
all the 9BI text4#ased ,uestions, only C ,uestions are improvised. !he fact that she is
unlikely to design text4#ased ,uestions for text instruction is in contrast with another fact
that she is noticed to often pose many ,uestions a#out language. It seems that she is
inclined to allocate more time in presenting more language4focused ,uestions than in
raising ,uestions a#out text topic or information. 'nlike !eachers 5 and $ who tend to
raise more text4#ased ,uestions #y integrating their invented text4#ased ,uestions into
those text#ook ,uestions in the hope of checking whether their students make sense of the
target texts, !eacher ( only makes use of the ready4made text4#ased ,uestions in her text
instruction. Why does she not give her students more text4#ased ,uestions in the course of
text learningQ In an interview with her one afternoon, she told the researcher8

y students are poor in 3nglish. !his you can see when you o#serve my lessons. If I ask them more
,uestions a#out the texts, they will not #e a#le to answer them. Pou can see that I prefer asking more
,uestions a#out the words, the meaning of the sentences. 5nd I think this can help my students improve
their 3nglish.
When asked how she gets to know that her students have really understood a text, she
said that the a#ility of the students in translating the texts shows their comprehension of
them and until then they can answer the text comprehension ,uestions.
!eacher (7s words reveal that she still adopts the grammar4translation method in her
3nglish teaching. *he does not get informed of any new idea of text instruction. !herefore,
she rarely designs text4#ased ,uestions for her text teaching and merely makes use of
text#ooks4#ased ,uestions. 5lso, she is unclear why she uses those ready4made text4#ased
,uestions. It seems that she exploits those ,uestions #ecause they are there in the text#ook
and she must finish teaching the text#ook #y using them. (lass o#servation can show that
!eacher ( puts emphasis on text comprehension in the form of multiple choice and she
does not highlight the use of ,uestion4and4answer method in her text instruction.
+24202) Types of Text-based Questions
'sually there are #oth reading4 and listening4texts for students to learn in any school
text#ook. 2owever, all the text4#ased ,uestions raised #y !eacher ( are a#out reading
materials, though there are listening texts in the text#ook. From the #eginning to the end of
the whole class o#servation of her lessons, no listening material has #een treated in her
classes. Later on, she told the researcher that without listening tapes she and all her
colleagues could not deal with the listening texts in class. !herefore, a total of 9BI text4
#ased ,uestions are a#out the reading4texts including dialogues and short passages. In
other words, the teacher and her students only cope with reading4texts leaving listening4
texts untouched.
5 close examination of all those reading4text4#ased ,uestions reveals that they are
neatly a#out4the4text ,uestions, that is, reading4text comprehension ,uestions. &o
referential ,uestions such as ,uestions #eyond the text are included in her text4#ased
,uestions. @#viously, all those ,uestions are designed for comprehension work and #elong
to display ,uestions. It is also found that in the text#ook the teacher and the students use
there is no text4#ased ,uestion a#out the topic or relating to the students themselves. 5nd
the teacher herself is not informed a#out the introduction of pre4 and post4reading activities
#y using ,uestions to activate or esta#lish students7 #ackground knowledge a#out texts.
5s to the grammatical forms of those reading4text comprehension ,uestions, the data
shows that of all the 9BI individual ,uestions, 99; 0I9.9HR1 are wh4,uestions, ;H 09I.99
R1 yes/no ,uestions and only 9 0J.FCR1 choice ,uestion: of the 9I series of text4#ased
,uestions, F are in wh4,uestion form, 9J are in the form of #oth wh4 and yes/no ,uestions,
and 9 consist of wh4,uestions and alternative ,uestions. It is clear that special ,uestions as
information ,uestions are highlighted #y #oth text#ook writers and practicing teachers
when designing or raising text4#ased ,uestions and that very few yes/no and alternative
,uestions are adopted #y teachers. !his is #ecause special ,uestions can not only elicit
more information from students a#out their understanding of the given texts #ut also
potentially push students to make use of the target language #y means of their L;
production in class.
+242024 /ontent 5rientation of Text /omprehension Questions
5ll the texts in !eacher (7s lessons are dialogues or short passages concerning
students7 daily life at home, school or outside. !hey all have a topic such as <people and
work=, <likes and dislikes=, <my favorite sports=, food and drink= and so forth. In reading
text comprehension, what content orientation do those text4#ased ,uestions coverQ 2ow
many ,uestions are concerned with the general ideaQ 5nd how many ,uestions seek
specific information a#out the given textsQ !he following of this section will touch this.
5n investigation of all the 9BI text4#ased ,uestions shows that in terms of meaning
#oundary, all the teacher ,uestions are asked a#out detailed or local information contained
in the texts. !here is no exception that any ,uestion seeks glo#al information. 5s
mentioned earlier, nearly all the text4#ased ,uestions come from the text#ook and therefore
they are all intended to seek only local information of the given text. !his fact indicates
that in text4#ased ,uestion design there is a trend that text#ook writers design text4#ased
comprehension ,uestions a#out detailed and local meaning of texts rather than a#out ma%or
ideas of texts. !his in turn exerts great negative influence on practicing teachers in their
own invention of text4#ased ,uestions. .ust as in the case of !eacher (, she follows suit
and improvises four text4#ased ,uestions, which are all specific4information oriented 0e.g.
9, ;, B, C1.
e.g. 9 !ext8 Li *han7s mother is from +alian.
!-8 Where is Li *han7s mother fromQ
; !ext8 2e doesn7t like rice at all.
!-8 What doesn7t he likeQ
B !ext8 *he likes fish, vegeta#les and fruit very much, #ut she doesn7t like rice or noodles.
!-8 What does mother likeQ
!-8 What doesn7t she likeQ
With regard to meaning categories, all the ,uestions are a#out factual meaning. 3ven
those a#out cause4effect relational meaning are factual. !he conse,uence of those
,uestions in use is that students need not do deep mental operation in text comprehension
In short, all the text4#ased ,uestions seek local information and focus on superficial
treatment of text meaning. -uestions a#out glo#al information and ,uestions a#out
personal attitudes, intentions are never found in the data. !herefore, it can #e said that the
case of !eacher (7s use of text4#ased ,uestions is a very extreme one in terms of content
+24202+ /ogniti$e 3e=uirements of Text-based Questions
!hough text comprehension ,uestions are display ,uestions in nature, they can as well
reflect what mental operations are involved in students7 answering #y means of the mode
of meaning communication in the given texts.
In terms of the cognitive re,uirements, all the 9BI text4#ased ,uestions are
investigated. *urprisingly, all the ,uestions re,uire learners of explicit and locali6ing
information in the texts. !his indicates that the students only need to find out in the text the
right4there words or sentences to answer the ,uestions #ecause they are not re,uired of
higher4level cognitive a#ility in processing reading texts. $oth text#ook writers and
language teachers should pay close attention to this phenomenon if the goal is set to
develop students7 linguistic and cognitive a#ilities through text instruction.
5nother fact noticed #y the researcher during the class o#servation is that the students
feel more difficult in answering text4#ased ,uestions for dialogues than those for short
passages #ecause the former are usually written in the first and second person and the latter
in the third person. When dealing with ,uestions a#out texts written in the third person, the
students can read out the original words or sentences. $ut when answering those a#out
texts written in the first or second person, they often make mistakes. !his may #e explained
#y the reason that students are still una#le to report direct speech in dialogues or
conversations. For instance8
e.g. !8 Where does r $aker workQ Q Where does r $aker workQ *hi 2ao. Where does r
$aker workQ
*8 0reads out1 I work in a middle school
!8 0interrupts, in a rising tone1 I Q I Q I work Q
*8 3r444er4440una#le to continue1
!8 2e, he 444
*8 2e work
!8 0interrupts, in a rising intonation1 2e workQ 2e workQ
*8 2e, he works.
!8 , k<*it down, please.
!his section takes a look at aspects of !eacher (7s text4#ased ,uestions. 5s regards the
,uantity and source of the text4#ased ,uestions, though there are more than one hundred
text4#ased ,uestions raised in her lessons, they mainly come directly from the text#ook and
she does not tend to design additional text4#ased ,uestions for her text instruction. With
relation to the types of text4#ased ,uestions, all the data are a#out the text and mostly are in
the form of special ,uestions. In regard to content orientation, all the ,uestions are focused
on superficial, local and factual meaning of the given texts. 5s far as the cognitive
dimension of text4#ased ,uestions are concerned, all the ,uestions are at the lower level,
only re,uiring students to identify or locate the intended information at the sentence level
of texts. !he general impression of !eacher (7s text4#ased ,uestions is that all the
,uestions are too narrow in source, type, content orientation and meaning communicating
+242) Strategies in Text-based Questioning
+242)20 Se=uencing
5s noticed in the previous section, over GGR text4#ased ,uestions #y !eacher ( derive
from the text#ook. 5lso, class o#servation evidences that when making use of those
,uestions she does not change the order of those ready4made text comprehension ,uestions
printed in the text#ook. In other words, she follows the arrangement of those ,uestions as
they are se,uenced on the pages. In this sense, an examination of the se,uencing of those
text4#ased ,uestions can reflect how text#ook writers %uxtapose text comprehension
,uestions in designing and editing them.
5ltogether there are 9I series of text comprehension ,uestions. 3ach series, when
se,uenced, follow the development order of corresponding texts. Whether there are several
or a few text comprehension ,uestions in a series, all the ,uestions follow the text plot
development order 0e.g. 9, ;18
e.g. 9 -98 Where are $o# and 2u +ong goingQ
-;8 WhatVs $o#7s family nameQ
-B8 Where is he fromQ
44444text comprehension ,uestions for Part ;, LGC, .3F( *$ 9$
e.g.; -98 When does .im get up on weekendsQ
-;8 2ow does he go to schoolQ
-B8 When does he usually get to schoolQ
-C8 When do classes #eginQ
-H8 When does .im have lunchQ
-E8 When are classes over in the afternoonQ
-F8 +oes he leave school at B8 BJ every dayQ
-I8 What doe he usually do at six o7clockQ
-G8 What doe he often do in the eveningQ
-9J8 When does he go to #edQ
4444reading comprehension ,uestions for a short passage in L9JF, .3F( *$ 9$
In 3xample 9, all the three ,uestions are se,uenced according to the development of
the dialogue. *o the students can easily find out the answers to the ,uestions on the
condition that they take a look at the material carefully. In 3xample ;, the se,uence of all
the ten comprehension ,uestions is closely with the time transition of a #oy7s activities on
5s in each series there is no ,uestion seeking glo#al information or main idea, all the
,uestions take the <specific to specific information= format of ,uestion se,uencing. In such
se,uencing, ,uestions following the previous ones are parallel in cognitive re,uirements.
!herefore, all the text comprehension ,uestions in the same series are at the same cognitive
*uch se,uencing, if properly used, can #ring a#out #enefits to #oth the teacher and
learners in text instruction. !he key to using such se,uencing is that the teacher and
students should take up text comprehension ,uestions as pre4reading tasks and #y using
them the teacher should help students to predicate what the texts they will tackle address.
5nd in the while4reading process they can #e used again. In !eacher (7s lessons, however,
text comprehension ,uestions in such se,uence are merely used as a testing device, which
does not motivate students in their learning. !his issue will #e mentioned again later when
,uestion presentation is concerned.
+242)2) Presentation
1. The time of te+t comprehension ,uestion presentation
5s for the issue of ,uestion presentation and text contact in !eacher (7s reading
comprehension work, the general impression from class o#servation is that the ,uestions
are presented in two ways8 some series are presented #efore the students are exposed to the
texts #y reading: other series are posed after the students have tackled the texts #y reading
and translation. &o series are presented #efore or after text contact #y students. In detail,
the presentation of all the 9I text series of reading comprehension ,uestions is shown in
the following ta#le8
Table +2)+: Presentation patterns of series of reading text comprehension =uestions by Teacher /
#efore text contact after text contact total
; 9E 9I
5ccording to the a#ove ta#le, it is apparent that of all the 9I series reading text
comprehension ,uestions, only ; are presented #efore students7 contact of the texts: the
ma%ority of the series are raised after the teacher and her students have dealt with the texts.
5s for the two occasions of text comprehension ,uestions presentation #efore text
contact #y students, class o#servation reveals that the teacher uses the texts as reading
comprehension tasks. In such cases, the teacher first asks the students to look at those
,uestions and invites several students to translate them into (hinese. !hen the students
listen to and read the texts several times #efore they are asked #y the teacher to answer
them. !he only two cases evidence that the ,uestions are used as tasks for text contact.
2owever, the fre,uency is too low, which is due to the teacher7s lack of knowledge in this
In most cases, however, it is after they have learnt the texts #y means of reading,
listening and sentence4#y4sentence translation that text comprehension ,uestions are dealt
with #y #oth the teacher and her learners. It is found that the teacher tends to present text
,uestions at the #eginning phase in the following lesson #y asking the students to answer
them. In other words, most text ,uestions are used as exercises for students to do after
It seems that the design of texts and comprehension ,uestions also has some influence
on the teacher7s presentation of those series of ,uestions. 5 survey of the text
comprehension ,uestion presentation in the text#ook indicates that of all the 9I series 9J
appear directly after the texts and I series are positioned in the work#ook. In addition,
nearly all the texts are entitled <>ead and answer=.
!he researcher once asked the teacher why she always presents those text
comprehension ,uestions after text contact, she said that in the text#ook most ,uestions are
located in the work#ook as exercises and that students can not answer those ,uestions
unless they have studied the texts in detail.
!he a#ove data shows that !eacher ( does not reali6e the importance of ,uestions as
tasks for students. !herefore, in most cases she emphasi6es the se,uence of first studying
texts and then dealing with ,uestions. 5s a result, text comprehension ,uestions are used
#y !eacher ( not as purposeful tools #ut as testing devices or exercises. If she can use
,uestions as clues #efore reading and as while4reading tasks, then it can #e said that the
teacher makes full use of text ,uestions.
5s for !eacher (7s framing of her text4#ased ,uestioning 0,uestion presentation and
,uestion direction1, class o#servation indicates that she adopts two approaches8 sometimes
she first nominates individual students and then presents her ,uestions: at other times she
raises her ,uestions #efore directing them to the whole class or targeting them to a certain
individual student. 5s o#served in her lessons, she tends to finish the teaching tasks as
,uickly as possi#le #efore dealing with exercises. $esides, she has some similarity in her
speaking style with !eacher 5, that is, she speaks at a fast speed, too. 5s a result, in her
framing of ,uestioning, wait time or pause is rarely o#served. !he following will present
the framing of #oth individual and series of text4#ased ,uestioning in !eacher (7s lessons
0cf. !a#le C.;H1. 5lso, the framing of ,uestioning in each series of text4#ased ,uestioning is
examined and the result is listed in !a#le C.;E.
Table +2)>: The framing of indi$idual text comprehension =uestioning by Teacher /
!ype of text4#ased ,uestioning Formats of framing !otal
presenting ,uestions4then
reading4text comprehension
5ccording to the a#ove statistic num#ers, it can #e seen that as for the framing of
,uestioning in the reading text comprehension work, of 9BI text comprehension ask4and4
answer exchanges, GE 0EH.;9R1 se,uences follow the <,uestion presentation4then4
nomination= framing approach whereas C; 0BC.FGR1 exchanges are executed in the frame
of <direction4then4presenting ,uestions=. It seems that #oth types of framing of ,uestioning
have #een adopted in !eacher (7s lessons, with the format of <presenting ,uestions #efore
nomination= used excessively more fre,uently than the format of <direction #efore
presenting ,uestions=.
Table +2)?: Framing of 0A series of reading text comprehension =uestioning by Teacher /
*eries !ype of framing of ,uestioning !otal
,uestion4then4direction direction4then4,uestion
9 J C C
; C J C
H G ; 99
G H 9 E
9J E ; I
99 C ; E
9; I J I
9B 9I J 9I
9C H H 9J
9H F B 9J
9E ; E I
9F E C 9J
9I B J B
!otal GE C; 9BI
!a#le C.;E shows that, of the 9I series of reading text comprehension ,uestioning
consisting of 9BI ,uestioning se,uences, three formats of ,uestioning can #e identified8 ;
series 099.99R1 consisting of F ,uestions follow the <,uestion4then4direction= format of
framing: H 0;F.FFR1 formed #y BG ,uestions take the approach of the <nomination4then4
,uestion= framing: the rest 99 0E9.9;R1 are all framed in mixing formats, that is, some
,uestioning exchanges in one series take the approach of direction4then4,uestion, and at
other times in other ,uestioning se,uences in the same series the format of direction4then4
,uestion are exploited. From the statistic data, it seems that the teacher is more likely to
make use of #oth of the two framing formats in her text4#ased ,uestioning. $esides, it can
#e inferred that the teacher does not have any rationale for her framing in her classroom
In an interview with the teacher a#out the issue of framing in classroom ,uestioning,
when asked whether there is any difference #etween the two formats of presentation4then4
direction and nomination4then4,uestion, !eacher ( answered that she thinks it makes no
difference. *he also acknowledges that she has never paid attention to the issue of framing
of ,uestioning and she does not know what effects the framing will cause to students in
their learning.
!he a#ove data indicates that without any special training in ,uestioning theory and
practice, the teacher executes her ,uestioning #ehavior in a #lind way. Like !eacher 5,
!eacher ( keeps a fast pace in ,uestioning, there#y giving no thinking time for students to
prepare for the answers to the teacher7s ,uestions. (lass o#servation shows that !eacher (
delivers ,uestions at a faster speed than !eacher 5. 5s a result, it is found that the students
are often urged to give an immediate reply to the teacher. !his can #e seen clearly in the
following two examples from the tape transcript8
e.g. 9 !8 "E1 < &um#er !hree. &um#er !hree. Liu aosheng. 2ow many hours do they
work every dayQ 2ow many hoursQ
*8 0silent1
!8 x 8 . N
e.g. ; !8 What does 'ncle Wang what does 'ncle Wang like doing Q [ to a
student sitting in the #ack rowa Longlong.
*8 0stands up1
!8 What does 'ncle Wang, what does he like, like doingQ [A o
!he a#ove excerpts demonstrate that !eacher ( does not leave any time for her
students to make preparations for the replies no matter whether she frames her ,uestioning
in either of the two formats. 5lso, she shows her impatience in framing her ,uestioning
In this part, we have investigated !eacher (7s framing of ,uestioning in text
comprehension ,uestioning. !he results show that she does not have any clear knowledge
a#out ,uestioning framing and therefore she frames her ,uestioning in a #lind way. In most
cases she interchangea#ly adopts two formats of framing #ut there is usually no wait time
offered to her students. For !eacher (, it seems that wait time is unnecessary #ecause she
has told her students to prepare answers for those text comprehension ,uestions.
%. 0he mode of text comprehension questions presentation
@ne aspect of the mode of text comprehension ,uestions presentation is whether the
teacher7s ,uestions are presented orally or visually. In the case of !eacher (, nearly all the
text comprehension ,uestions come from the text#ook and therefore she does not need to
present ,uestions on the #lack#oard. It is o#served that she always resorts to the oral mode
of ,uestion presentation. In some cases, she even asks her students to read out the
,uestions on the pages of the text#ook #efore giving the (hinese translation8
e.g. !8 &um#er *ix. E < #ids students to raise hands,then to a volunteer <
*8 0#egins to answer1 3r er #ecause it
!8 0interrupts1 7 7 G7 < 9
*8 < : Why, why is it a a great help to peopleQ 3r 7 7 * *; ;#
!8 * . 9;[< * ;< 4
It should #e acknowledged that it #enefits students a lot when they are re,uested to
read and understand text comprehension ,uestions #y translation. 2owever, there arises a
pro#lem concerning class time. *uch mode of ,uestion presentation, though advantageous
in nature, re,uires a lot of class time. 2ow to solve such pro#lem needs teachers7
In presenting text comprehension ,uestions, !eacher ( tends to present a series of text
reading comprehension ,uestions all at once, that is, she asks her students to deal with all
the ,uestions at a relatively integrated time either #efore or after text contact. In most
cases, she asks the class to deal with a series of text4#ased ,uestions as assignments and in
next lesson she and her class check whether the students have understood the ,uestions and
can answer them.
%. The techni,ues of te+t comprehension ,uestions presentation
5ccording to the data, it is found that !eacher ( mainly adopts two techni,ues in
presenting ,uestions8 repetition and translation. 5nd these two techni,ues are always
exploited together in her ,uestion presentation. *ometimes, she gives the (hinese version
for the presented ,uestions 0e.g.91 and sometimes students are re,uested to translate the
,uestions into (hinese 0e.g. ;1.
e.g.9 !8 G < What does he often do, #efore he goes to #edQ go to #ed, A * 7
<What does he often do #efore, #efore he goes to #edQ n0 == *
e.g.; !8 Zhuo Feng. Why do they want to learn (hineseQ WhyQ +o you knowQ Why do they do they
want to learn (hineseQ 7 0 $ ;
*8 7 ; , * *
!8 [ >* %
!hroughout the class o#servation of !eacher (7s lessons, it seems that her ,uestion
presentation is very dull and #oring #ecause she does not introduce other useful techni,ues
such as rephrasing 0which can help students receive comprehensi#le input from the
,uestion presentation1 into ,uestion presentation. !his, like !eachers 5 and $, is due to the
teacher7s second language proficiency and innocence of options of strategies that can #e
exploited in ,uestioning.
5s for the use of translation in ,uestion presentation, the interviews with some students
in !eacher (7s class during the class #reak reveal that they feel that it is useful in helping
them accurately understand what text ,uestions really mean. When talking a#out the same
issue, !eacher ( shows her preference for translation in ,uestion presentation thus saying8

Pou see, in my lessons I do not often deal with text comprehension ,uestions
immediately after texts are tackled #y my students and me. I assign those ,uestions to the
class as homework. When next class #egins, I will check whether the students understand
those ,uestions and are a#le to answer them.
From her words, it seems that perhaps for those %unior grade one students the use of
translation in ,uestion presentation is a good strategy.
With regard to the mechanical repetition of the same ,uestion in presentation, it should
#e pointed out that it is useless since all the ,uestions are printed right there on the pages of
the text#ook. 5lso, repetition of those ,uestions costs valua#le class time. In addition,
students will not always pay attention to her repeated presentation of ,uestions #ecause
they will feel it #oring and uninterested. !herefore, she should come to know the
underlying weaknesses of mechanical repetition of ,uestions when presenting them in
*peaking of how text4#ased ,uestions are presented in !eacher (7s class, it can #e
concluded thus8
91 she usually presents those text comprehension ,uestions after students have studied
the texts:
;1 she never presents ,uestions in a written form #y means of writing them on the
B1 she is likely to present ,uestions as homework for students to do after class:
C1 she has the tendency of presenting ,uestions #y repetition and translation.
It can #e said that in !eacher (7s lessons, text comprehension ,uestioning is used as a
check device of whether students are a#le to understand and answer ,uestions after they
have studied the texts in the approach of grammar4translation method. In this sense,
,uestion presentation signals the start of the testing in class instruction.
+242)24 8istribution
1. The class participation system
In !eacher (7s class there is an esta#lished class participation system. !hat is, when the
teacher allows chorus responses, she %ust lets the entire class call out: when she expects
individual students to give replies, she often #ids the class to put up their hands if they
know how to answer a ,uestion. In the latter case, she does not allow for call outs from
,uick students. If some #right learner calls out in class, she often critici6es and even
punishes him/her. For instance8
e.g. !8 &ow let7s answer -uestion Four. &um#er Four. WhatVs she looking forQ What7s she looking
forQ *.Q
!/*s8 8 & *Q
? 0a #oy calls out18 8&her #ox.
!8 , 8 0 $ 1 Q x < 4
In the a#ove case the volunteer who calls out without the teacher7s permission receives
the criticism and is punished to stand for over ten minutes until he raises his hand and is
allowed #y her to answer another ,uestion in class.
In most cases she re,uires the students to raise their hands to participate in individual
responses to her ,uestions. *ometimes when she finds hands4ups are small in nim#er, she
will encourage her class to put up their hands #y gesturing and saying <7<
[ =.
5s to the issue of raising hands in taking part in the ,uestioning, !eacher ( once told
the researcher that the significance of adopting this participatory system lies in that it can
encourages the students to #e attentive and actively engaged in class activities. (lass
o#servation shows that most of the students are very active in putting up their hands when
the teacher presents ,uestions. (ompared with the classes taught #y !eachers 5 and $,
students in %unior grade one are easier to accept the participatory system of raising up their
hands when answering teacher ,uestions.
*ince in !eacher (7s class the students are re,uired to raise hands to answer the
teacher7s ,uestions, then how does the teacher select the respondentsQ When asked of this
,uestion in an interview with her, she said that she does not have a clear idea a#out her
class #ehavior in this regard. $ut she admits that she is likely to call upon more4a#le
students more fre,uently than less4a#le students #ecause class time is limited and she must
accomplish the teaching tasks in the given period and occasionally she might ask non4
volunteers who she thinks should #e a#le to answer her ,uestions. In addition, class
o#servation shows that she sometimes directs her ,uestions to the students #y nominating a
group of students one after another according to the seating arrangements when the
ma%ority of the class raise their hands to take part in the text comprehension ,uestioning
!his indicates that to a large extent the teacher directs her ,uestions in a random way
instead of in a purposeful and planned approach, which inevita#ly results in ine,uity and
unfairness in ,uestion direction.
2. 1atterns in ,uestion distribution
In order to find out how !eacher ( directs her text4#ased ,uestions to the class, an
examination is made a#out all the distri#ution of reading text comprehension ,uestions in
9I series of ,uestioning. !he picture of the ,uestion distri#ution patterns can #e seen in the
following ta#le8
Table +2)@: Patterns of =uestion distribution in reading comprehension =uestioning by Teacher /
!argets in reading comprehension ,uestioning !otall
the entire class the individuals undirected/self4answering
;C 9J; 9; 9BI
!he a#ove statistics show that of all the 9BI ,uestion distri#ution, ;C 09F.BG R1
,uestions are echoed #y chorus responses, 9; 0J.IFR1 ,uestions undirected and self4
answered #y the teacher herself, and 9J; 0I9.FC R1 ,uestions directed to individual
students. !his indicates that in reading text comprehension ,uestioning, the teacher tends
to target her ,uestions mainly to individual students. !his conforms to the time and
purpose of her text reading comprehension ,uestioning. !hat is, she wants to check
individual students7 comprehension of previously ac,uired texts and make sure whether her
students have finished the assignment of answering the text comprehension ,uestions.
(lass o#servation evidences that in most cases of !eacher (7s class instruction, she
prefers the chorus response when dealing with language items in texts or learning grammar
and voca#ulary. When dealing with text comprehension ,uestions, however, she is more
likely to call upon individual students to give answers to ,uestions. In other words, in her
lessons students do not always have opportunities to speak in class #ecause she has the
tendency to talk too much explaining and translating sentence #y sentence or word #y
word. *ometimes in order to speed up her instruction, she directs her ,uestions to the
whole class or for convenience gives the answers to the ,uestions herself. !hat is why
there are some reading text ,uestions not directed to the individual students.
%. !edirection in ,uestion distribution
5s suggested in the related literature, the techni,ue of redirection 0direct the same
,uestion to different individual students1 has many pay4offs to #oth the teacher and
students8 motivate students and increase the num#er of students participating in class
,uestioning activities: avoid disciplinary pro#lems. In !eacher (7s initiated reading text
comprehension ,uestioning, however, the use of redirection is rarely o#served. It is found
that among all the 9BI ,uestioning se,uences there are only ; cases when she uses the
strategy of redirection in the ,uestioning and the two ,uestions are all why ,uestions. !ake
one case as an example8
e.g. !8 0to a volunteer1(ao .ie, &um#er !hree. Why why does !ony come to school earlyQ WhyQ
*98 !ony * ! Q
!8 !ony G" D * ! %Q *%Q
*98 2e want, want to do some running.
!8 0to *s, in a rising tone 1 2e wantQ 2e wantQ 0redirecting to another student 1Wu Panfeng, >
* Q
*;8 !ony wants to do some running.
!8 !ony wants, wants to do some running. oQ , sit down, please.
Why !eacher ( does not use the strategy of redirection in her ,uestioning can #e
explained #y the fact that on the one hand she does not explicitly #e informed of this
techni,ue and on the other hand she always delivers her teaching at a fast speed expecting
to ,uickly accomplish the teaching tasks in the text#ook and then dealing with exercises
she has assigned to the class in the previous lesson. !herefore, she does not use redirection
fre,uently in her ,uestioning.
'. The issue of e,uity in ,uestion distribution
In the previous description and analysis of ,uestion distri#ution in !eacher (7s reading
text comprehension ,uestioning, we have seen that the ma%ority 09J;1 of the text4#ased
,uestions are directed to the individual students. It seems that for every student in the class
0totally there are EF students in !eacher (7s class1 he/she has one point five chances to #e
called upon to answer ,uestions. $ut a close look at the data from the tape recordings and
real time class o#servation reveal that in !eacher (7s class not every student has #een
involved in the reading text comprehension ,uestioning. !his can #e demonstrated clearly
in !a#le C.;I..
Table +2)A: Question distribution by Teacher / to indi$idual students in reading text
comprehension =uestioning
/// / //// / /
/ // / //// / / ///// /
// / / / //// / /
/ /// // / / / // ////
// / / //// /
/ / // / / / / /
/ / //// / / //// /
///// ///// ///

"roup 9 "roup ; "roup B "roup C

teacher desk
!he a#ove ta#le reveals that not all the class were involved in the reading text
comprehension ,uestioning, although H9 students of the class were given the opportunities
to answer ,uestions in class and 9B students were more fre,uently targeted #y the teacher
than the others. It is also noticed that 9E students were totally ignored #y the teacher in the
text ,uestioning activities. Later on, it is confirmed #y the researcher7s interview with the
students that all those ignored students are low achievers in their 3nglish study. It is
o#served that the teacher rarely poses ,uestions to those less4a#le students. In a post4class
interview, !eacher ( told the researcher that she really does not know why those students
are so slow in learning 3nglish and she does not want to waste class time #ecause of them.
!his may explain why she rarely targets her ,uestions to those slow learners. 2owever,
!eacher ( should #ear in mind that every student should #e e,ually treated. @therwise, in
the long run, the disciplinary pro#lems might arise in class. !herefore, the #est advice for
her is that she had #etter give every student a chance of #eing involved in class activities,
trying to encourage them to improve their 3nglish.
5s for !eacher (7s ,uestion distri#uting #ehavior, it can #e concluded that the ma%ority
of her text comprehension ,uestions are directed to individuals and she selects the targets
mainly on the #asis of the hands4up class participatory system. *he occasionally uses the
<go on <strategy in her nomination. *he rarely uses the techni,ue of redirection. 5 few
students who in the teacher7s view are slow learners or low achievers are totally ignored in
all her text4#ased ,uestion distri#ution.
+242)2+ 3eaction
1. !eaction I
In !eacher (7s class, when an individual student has #een nominated to answer a text
comprehension ,uestion, she does not like a noisy atmosphere in the classroom. Instead,
she always tells the class to #e silent #y saying and gesturing <*hN*hN= or <"E2
N0[, / 0oQ=. *ometimes if the class is too noisy, she will critici6e
them. In addition, she does not allow other students to call out the answer when a
respondent is replying to a ,uestion. !his can #e illustrated #y an episode from the tape
e.g. !8 What does 'ncle Wang call the machineQ 'ncle Wang 0 2 ; * What does he
call itQ Zhou >ong. [A $
*98 2e call it, he call it
*;8 0to *91 plike, plike.
!8 0to *;1 !" 8 "# $7 $ 1 * $ x " $ 4
It seems that some students in the class have not understood the significance of
attending to their peers who are answering ,uestions. In such cases, the teacher should
explain to them why they should keep attentive when others are responding to ,uestions.
*he needs to reali6e that criticism and punishment may otherwise decrease the enthusiasm
of those active students and discourage their interests in class participation.
5s to why she re,uires all the class to #e in silence when a student is giving a reply to a
,uestion, !eacher ( expressed in an interview like this8

I don7 t deal with the text comprehension ,uestions shortly after my class and I have learnt a text. I
usually ask the students to answer them as homework after class. 5t the #eginning of the next class, I
ask some of the students to tell me what the answers are. *o I want all the students to check whether
they have found the right answers or not.
@#viously, the attending system in !eacher (7s class is aimed to ensure that all the
students check their homework instead of showing their respect or appreciation to a
respondent7s answering.
5s mentioned a#ove, !eacher ( does not allow the peers to interrupt the respondent7s
answering. $ut she is noticed often intervening in the process of students7 responding. !his
can #e found in three cases8 critici6ing the student and attempting to give the same
,uestion to another student when the respondent is thinking how to answer the ,uestion
0e.g.91, that is, the teacher expects an immediate answer from her students and does not
give the respondent any wait time 0in her view there is no need to give the students
thinking time since the ,uestions are left for them to answer #eforehand 1: repeating the
student7s words 0e.g. ;1
e.g. 9 !8G 7 What does Little ?al like to eatQ What does he like to eatQ !ang (heng.
*8 3r he he like to eat, in 444
!8 0interrupts1 07 * 0to *s1 9 9 3 to another studentLu (hao. N
e.g. ; !8 *hi 2ao. What time does the shop open on *undayQ %& * What
time does it open on *unday
*I think
!8interrupts I think. yoI think.
*8 the shop open, oA ? , opens at
!8 0interrupts1 opens, it opens at
*8 It opens at eleven thirty am.
2. !eaction II
Teacher 3eaction
$riefly speaking, student responses can fall into three kinds8 no response: incomplete
or inaccurate answer: right reply. When !eacher ( encounters the three cases, she makes
different reactions to them.
5lthough in most cases she nominates the volunteers, there are occasions when the
directed student can not immediately voice out the answer she is unlikely to repeat the
,uestion again and again or pause for a while for the targeted student to provide the
answer. Instead, she #ecomes impatient and critici6es the student. In that situation, the
class falls into silence. For instance8
e.g. !8 What does r a teachQ Q What does r a teachQ *Q 0to a volunteer1 Wu
*8 2e, he, er, er444
!8 .W koj < ! 0pause1 '()0[ 9 3 Q
*8 k<*7 7 o < 7
In cases like the a#ove example, she tends to critici6e the nominated student. 5s a
result, when the class see that she #ecomes angry, they get em#arrassed and the num#er of
students raising their hands decrease. !he teacher then has to nominate among the class
another student to give an answer to the same ,uestion.
With regard to the treatment with mistakes in students7 answers, !eacher ( is very
sensitive and never lets it go. In cases when the respondent makes a linguistic mistake in
answering, she picks out the error at once. *he tends to interrupt the student7s answering
and repeats the mistake in a rising intonation. *ometimes she will explicitly make
%udgements #y point out to the student that he or she has made a mistake. For example8
e.g. !8 What time does !om usually come to schoolQ What time does !om usually come to schoolQ
0to *s1 < < 0to a volunteer 1 2an Weike.
*8 I usually come
!8 0interrupts, in a rising tone1 IQ I Q
*8 !om
!8 !om o < . to *s ; +
!/*s8 he, he. N
@ccasionally the teacher allows the student who makes mistakes to continue his/her
answering #ut in most cases she gives the opportunity to another student. *he does not
always tend to give clues or prompts to the student who has difficulty in providing a full
and complete answer.
It seems that !eacher ( expects all the students should know the answers to the
,uestions when they are ,uestioned. If her students cannot give an immediate right reply,
she thinks that her students have not worked hard and they should #e #lamed.
When responding to correct responses from the students, the first reaction from !eacher
( is to mechanically repeat the answers. It is o#served that she also adopts the following
strategies after her repetition of student responses8 sometimes she may make comments on
the response #y saying <>ight=, <Pes=, or <Nk= : occasionally she extends a
student7s answer to a full sentence: ask the class to comment student response with her.
2owever, In most cases she does not give a warm encouragement or strong praise to
her students. *he %ust says <*it down= to the respondent in a flat voice as if she %ust goes
through a ritual which does not convey her feeling. *he gives the researcher the impression
that in her view it is natural that the students should answer the ,uestions correctly and
,uickly and there is no need to praise them.
Peer Feedbac,
5s mentioned earlier, !eacher ( does not allow her students to interrupt in the process
of one respondent7s answering. When a respondent has finished answering, however, she
will immediately give her reaction. ost often she directly makes %udgements a#out the
student response #efore turning to another ,uestioning exchange. $ut occasionally she will
invite the peers to make comments on the student response #y turning to the class and
saying <k 9 3 =7,o-7etc. For instance8
e.g. !8 What7s $o#7s family nameQ What7s $o#7s family nameQ family name, A*.Q
!/*s8 ., . < *
!8 /7 @ 000< < $! 4
*8 2e family name is 2u.
!8 0in a rising tone1 2e family is 2uQ 2e familyQ 0to *s1 k 9 3
*s8 k<
!8 What7s $o#7s family nameQ >* 444 !/*s 2is, his family name, is 2u. 0to *1 *it
down, <
In such cases as the a#ove excerpt, if the answer is wrong, it is usually the teacher and
the peers not the respondent who voice out the right answer. 2owever, if the teacher can let
the respondent him/herself to self4repair the incorrect part of the answer, it is more
appropriate and instructive to the respondent.
!hroughout the class o#servation, it is found that peer feed#ack occurs more fre,uently
in cases when the respondent makes wrong answers than in cases when the respondent
gives a correct answer. When asked a#out this issue, !eacher ( expresses that she wants
the whole class to pay attention to the mistakes the respondents make and this, to some
extent, helps other students make %udgements a#out their own answers to the same
In view of reaction to student responses in !eacher (7s lessons, it can #e concluded
91 the peers are re,uested to listen attentively to the respondent:
; the teacher can interrupt in the course of the respondent7s answering a ,uestion:
B1 the teacher reacts differently to different responses8 as to no response or wrong
response, she tends to make criticism, redirect the same ,uestion to another student, correct
the wrong answer herself or invite the peers to correct it: when dealing with correct
response, she ritually repeats the response #efore asking the student to sit down. Positive
feed#ack is rarely o#served in her class.
C1 peer feed#ack is allowed only under the teacher7s instruction and more often seen
occurring in reacting to wrong responses.
+242)2> Structuring
@n the #asis of the previous analysis of the ,uestioning process in !eacher (7s lessons,
an integrated overview of the ,uestioning process can #e taken #y examining the patterns
of ,uestioning structuring. 5s she does not use the techni,ues of pro#ing or redirection in
her classroom text4#ased ,uestioning, the patterns of I>9/>;/N/F and I9>9F9I;>;F; have
#een rarely found in her data. @nly the patterns of I>F and I>I7>7F have #een fre,uently
1attern 12 I!3
In !eacher (7s lessons, FHR ,uestioning exchanges are formed in this pattern. *he
directs a ,uestion to an individual student or the entire class, the student0s1 answer0s1 and
she gives feed#ack.
e.g. !8 Why do some people like their #edroomsQ 1 2 A , *.Q WhyQ WhyQ 0to a volunteer1
*hen Me.
*8 #ecause they like sleeping.
!8 WhyQ $ecause they like *., sleeping. Pes. *it down.
+uring the class o#servation, it is found that she tends to start and end a ,uestioning
se,uence at a fast speed. It seems that she does not want to spend much time on the
,uestioning work. !his can also #e seen in her treatment of the text#ook. !o her the
,uestioning work is only a ritual %o# she must do with her students. !herefore, the pattern
of I>F as the #asic ,uestioning structuring is fre,uently used in her class ,uestioning.
1attern 22 I!I9!93
5s evidenced in class o#servation, !eacher ( stresses the accuracy of students7
linguistic production. *o, in the process of students7 answering to her ,uestions, she keeps
a close eye on the respondent7s linguistic performance. In cases when the students make
mistakes in answering, she will immediately make intervention. !hus, in the #asic I>F
pattern, another ask4and4answer se,uence is inserted.
e.g. !8 Li eng. < 2ow do they workQ 2ow do they workQ 3 >* .
*8 !hey worker hard.
!8 they worker hardQ worker hardQ
*8 3r, they work, work hard.
!8 7k7work hard, oAworker<worker A *
*s83444 444
!8 Li eng, sit down, please.
*ometimes she uses the expressions such as <PardonQ=, <5gain=, mm= or < 4 $
0"E 56G7 2 = to imply to the respondents that they said something
wrong and should make correction. When interrupting, she usually %ust repeats the
respondent7s words in a rising intonation.
+2424 ;eneral 1mpression of Teacher /:s Text-based Questioning
In !eacher (7s text4#ased ,uestioning, she does not design any extra ,uestions herself
#ut directly adopts those ready4made text comprehension ,uestions from the text#ook. *he
usually assigns to students text comprehension ,uestions as homework and has a check4up
in the #eginning of next lesson. !herefore, the understanding of those ,uestions is left to
students themselves #ut in class she sometimes also checks whether the students have
understood the ,uestions #efore letting students answer them. ost of her ,uestions are
individual4directed #ut some students are not given even chances to participate in text4
#ased ,uestioning. *he uses text4#ased ,uestioning as a testing device instead of a teaching
tool and she deals with the ,uestions in a hurry. When students keep silent or give wrong
answers, she tends to redirect the ,uestions to other students. *he does not show her
appreciation to student responses and seems to go through a ritual which does not reflect
her own feelings. When asked in one interview why she does not allocate more time for her
learners to tackle text4#ased ,uestions, she said8

I know text comprehension is very important. $ut in tests nowadays comprehension work is
composed #y multiple choice items instead of ,uestions. I don7t think it is necessary to waste too much
time on ,uestioning work. 5nd my experience last year tells me that if I ask my students to do more
extra4class test items for text comprehension they get good marks in tests. *o now I usually leave those
text comprehension ,uestions to the students and ask them to do as homework after class and I have a
check4up with them when next class #egins. In this way, I can finish teaching the text#ook and train my
students to perform well in tests.
What she said reveals that she lays stress on students getting through tests #ut ignores
the importance of texts in developing learners7 a#ility in tackling texts #y means of text4
#ased ,uestions. In a sense, !eacher (7s text4#ased ,uestioning is influenced #y her
personal understanding of the role of texts and ,uestions and #y work pressure from school
testing. In addition, she also lacks the necessary knowledge of text instruction and
,uestioning. !herefore, her text4#ased ,uestioning is considered as ineffective in nature.

/hapter > /onclusions
!he final (hapter of this thesis will provides the ma%or findings concerning similarities
and differences among the three teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning. It also draws the
conclusions of the study #y giving some pedagogical implications for pre4and in4service
teacher training and text4#ased ,uestion design in text#ooks, #y providing theoretical
implications from this study and #y making some suggestions for further studies in this
regard in the future.
>20 Findings from This Study
>2020 Teacher Similarities
9. !ext4#ased ,uestions are predominantly composed of text comprehension ,uestions.
Pre4 or post4 reading/listening ,uestions are rarely o#served.
In all the three teachers7 data, text4#ased ,uestions are single in terms of text4#ased
,uestion type. @f the three teachers, #oth !eacher 5 and !eacher ( merely ask text
comprehension ,uestions and only ;H lead4in ,uestions emerge in !eacher $7s lessons.
!he lack of pre4 and post4 reading/listening ,uestions in the su#%ect teachers7 lessons
reflects that they are not informed of and there#y do not follow the now much advocated
three4phase procedures of tackling texts in language classrooms. Without effective text
instruction theory teachers tend to take the traditional product approach to text teaching #y
dealing with voca#ulary and structure and asking students a#out text information. 5s a
result, students are not trained to activate their schemata knowledge a#out text topic, they
are not given opportunities to raise their interest in texts they are to tackle, and they are not
taught to link texts with their personal experiences. It seems that it is urgent that teachers
should re4orientate their views a#out text instruction and adopt the process approach to
teach students to tackle texts in an effective way.
;. !ext comprehension ,uestions are overwhelmingly local, factual ,uestions in terms
of content orientation.
5s noted in (hapter C, all three teachers ask ,uestions a#out specific, detailed
information of texts, the answers to which are focused on evident facts revealed in texts.
@f all the data #y the three teachers, only E ,uestions are found to seek main ideas or
topics of texts.
It is argued #y experts 0e.g. Li 9GGF1 that there should #e at least one text
comprehension ,uestion in a series of text4#ased ,uestions which asks students for the
glo#al information of a given text. 5lso, the essence of making sense of a text lies in
identifying attitudes, positions, functions, intentions of the text. 2owever, all the three
teachers in this study take it for granted that understanding a text means making sense of
all the surface facts in the text. !his is a one4sided view a#out text comprehension. If
students are expected to develop their discourse competence, they should #e trained in
tackling #oth glo#al and local information ,uestions a#out texts and they should also #e
given practice in figuring out underlying meaning of texts. !o do that, teachers should try
to avoid overusing local, factual ,uestions in text comprehension work.
B. In terms of cognitive re,uirements, text comprehension ,uestions are mostly
locali6ing text4explicit at sentence level.
It is o#served that most text comprehension ,uestions raised #y the three teachers are
text4explicit ,uestions8 GF.H9R 0!eacher 51, GF.E;R 0!eacher $1, and 9JJR 0!eacher (1.
students can effortlessly pick up the answers to those ,uestions on one spot in texts. ore4
than4one4spot ,uestions and text4implicit ,uestions are rarely used in all the o#served
It should #e noted that though in general education the issue of cognitive dimension of
,uestions has long #een stressed, it has not #een highlighted in second language pedagogy.
!his can #e evidenced #y common sense among 3FL teachers that understanding texts
refers to making sense of the surface meaning sentence #y sentence. 2owever, text
comprehension work is no easy %o#. !he cognitive demands upon learners in text
comprehension should go #eyond the sentence level and into the paragraph and discourse
level, and explore the underlying meaning of texts. !hough there are many factors
influencing the intellectual dimension of text4#ased ,uestions such as the text genre,
content, students7 linguistic level, teachers should make mental re,uirements upon students
#y integrating text4implicit and text4explicit ,uestions so that students7 higher order
thinking a#ilities can #e explored and developed step #y step.
C. In terms of linguistic forms of ,uestion type, most text4#ased ,uestions are in the
form of wh4,uestions.
5s indicated #y the data, a large num#er of text4#ased ,uestions either from the
text#ooks or designed #y the teachers themselves are constructed in the form of special
,uestions8 F;.IGR 0!eacher 51, FB.IFR 0!eacher $1, and I9.9HR 0!eacher (1. @ther
syntactic forms of ,uestions such as yes/no and alternative ,uestions are relatively small in
num#er and the ratio is very low.
It should #e acknowledged that teachers usually use wh4,uestions as information
,uestions. $y using special ,uestions, they can get some insights into students7
understanding of texts. In addition, such ,uestions provide students with opportunities to
speak more 3nglish than other types of ,uestions. 2owever, we also notice that if teachers
do not re,uire students to answer a wh4,uestion in a full sentence, they tend to respond
with a short reply. !herefore, it is suggested that for %unior students whose 3nglish is at a
low level, teachers should give them explicit directions as to how to answer wh4,uestions.
H. 5s to ,uestion se,uencing, all the series of text comprehension ,uestions #y all the
three teachers follow the <specific to specific= format and are se,uenced closely with the
order of story development of texts.
5s mentioned in (hapter C, #ecause of the lack of glo#al information ,uestions and
other types of ,uestions, text comprehension ,uestions are mainly a#out detailed ideas in
texts. 5s a result, all the ,uestions are raised along with students7 reading through texts
from the #eginning to the end.
!o se,uence text comprehension ,uestions according to the order of story development
is not a #ad strategy of ,uestion se,uencing. $ut the factor when to use such se,uencing
should #e taken into account when it is exploited. If it is used at an appropriate time, the
type of ,uestion se,uencing will #ring a#out #enefits to learners. >. 2. Mressel7s study
09GI;1 indicates that such se,uencing will motivate students if used #efore students tackle
the <unseen= piece of text, and ,uestions se,uenced in such way can #e used as text
content clues which help students o#tain a great many facts a#out the material. Mressel
argues that this strategy of se,uencing text comprehension ,uestions leads readers towards
a particular approach to the understanding of the given text.
2owever, to se,uence text comprehension ,uestions in text plot development order is
one of many options of ,uestion se,uencing. @ne important factor teachers should #ear in
mind when se,uencing text comprehension ,uestions is the cognitive dimension.
'nderstanding is a mental operation process which involves many su#4skills. In text
comprehension instruction and testing, the se,uence of text comprehension ,uestions
should reflect whether the process and the re,uired competence in text comprehension are
cultivated and examined. !herefore, cognitive factor as part of dimensions of text
comprehension se,uencing should not #e ignored. >esearch 0e.g. !ollefson 9GIG1 suggests
that the cognitive level of the ,uestion has a dramatic impact on students7 responses. !he
implication here is that the goal of text information ,uestion se,uencing lies in that the
se,uence is not only used as a systematic and logic clue #ut also as a trigger exploring how
far students can go in terms of text comprehension.
E. 5s to ,uestion presentation, the three teachers generally tend to present reading text
comprehension ,uestions after students7 text contact #ut in listening text comprehension
work two of them 0!eachers 5 and $1 tend to present ,uestions #efore students listen to the
tapes. +uring ,uestion presentation, teachers are likely to present ,uestions orally and
,uestion presentation visually is rarely o#served. In most cases no time is allocated for
students to make sense of ,uestions and prepare for answers. !eachers are inclined to
mechanically present ,uestions to learners. When directing ,uestions to students, teachers
frame their ,uestioning #y using the <,uestion4then4nomination= and <nomination4then4
,uestion= interchangea#ly.
-uestion presentation is an essential part of the ,uestioning work. !here is a close
relationship #etween ,uestion presentation and text contact. !he time of ,uestion
presentation and students7 contact of texts have a close relationship and different se,uences
reflect two distinct teaching propositions8 If ,uestions are presented #efore text exposure,
the teacher intends to train or teach students how to tackle with texts: if ,uestions are
presented after text exposure, the teacher wants to test or check students7 understanding of
the texts. In the first case, text comprehension ,uestioning is considered as a testing device
whereas in the second it is regarded as a learning tool 0"ower D *teve 9GIB8 9B91. 5lso,
the teacher7s #ehavior of ,uestion presentation #efore or after text contact has influence on
student affect. >ecent research has shown that #y not giving any task the first time students
listen to/read a passage, it can take the anxiety out of listening/reading 0Wang et al. ;JJ98
IG1. In addition, different se,uences of ,uestion presentation and text exposure produce
different types of learning results 0Pi 9GGF8 ;E94;E;1. $esides, different modes of ,uestion
presentation #ring a#out different results8 if ,uestions are presented not wholly #ut one
after another, then sufficient wait time should #e given in order that student can get ready
for answers. 5lso, teachers should learn to use different techni,ues to present ,uestions
such as rephrasing and translating instead of overusing repetition of ,uestions. If ,uestions
can #e presented #oth orally and visually, students may comprehend ,uestions much #etter.
F. 5s to ,uestion distri#ution, it is found that two teachers 0!eachers $ and (1 use the
hands4up system as a reference to ,uestion direction. !he three teachers direct most text4
#ased ,uestions to individual students8 E;.9H R 0!eacher 51, I9.H; R 0!eacher $1 and
FB.IE R 0!eacher (1. 2owever, there exists unfair ,uestion distri#ution among the class8
some of those directed students are asked #y teacher more often than others: some students
are totally ignored #y teachers in ,uestion direction and there#y receive no chances of
#eing targeted #y teachers7 ,uestions. !he techni,ue of redirection as an effective method
of involving more students in answering the same ,uestion is less fre,uently used #y all
the three teachers 0only !eachers 5 and $ occasionally exploit the techni,ue in their
It should #e acknowledged that #y reference to the hands4up system teachers can #e
informed of how students comprehend texts and ,uestions so that teachers can direct their
,uestions to the class more effectively than merely nominating individual students among
the class. 2owever, the most pro#lem with the teachers is the unfairness in ,uestion
direction. !eachers should #ear in mind that the first and foremost principle in ,uestion
distri#ution is e,uity. !o ensure that goal, teachers have many options8 using the sitting
chart, name cards, etc. 3very student should #e involved in classroom ,uestioning work
and #e given chances of performing their comprehension and production in the target
I. 5s to reaction, it is found that #oth the teachers and peers participate in responding
to student responses to ,uestions #ut teacher reaction is su#stantial and peer feed#ack is
formal. !eacher reaction occurs while4 and post4 student responding. When a student is
answering a ,uestion, the teachers sometimes interrupt the answering process. In
responding to silence, wrong or incomplete answers, the teachers in most cases tend to
immediately give the same ,uestion to another student instead of using useful techni,ues
that can help the respondents to successfully answer ,uestions: in reacting to correct
responses, they are more likely to repeat student responses #efore asking students to sit
down. Positive feed#ack like giving praises and acknowledgements is infre,uently adopted
#y the su#%ect teachers in this study.
!eachers should keep in mind that during a student response #oth the teacher and the
class should attend to him/her so that the respondent7s answering is appreciated and peers
can learn from the answering. !he practice of introducing peer feed#ack in reaction to
student responses should go #eyond formal adoption and #e put into practice. *tudents
should #e encouraged to make %udgements a#out peer responses, which may result in
increased attentiveness, student O to O student interaction. 5ccording to different types of
student responses, teachers can exploit various techni,ues to react to them #ut the #asic
principle should #e that any teacher reaction can encourage student active participation.
!eachers should learn to give more positive feed#ack to students emotionally and ver#ally.
&egative or neutral reaction should #e avoided in use.
G.5s to structuring of ,uestioning, it is o#served that the pattern most fre,uently
adopted #y the teachers is the I>F structure. @ther patterns such as I>9/>;/N/F, I>I7>7F
and I9>9I;>;F are occasionally used #y them #ecause of lack of or less occurrence of
redirection, pro#ing, clarification re,uests.
What patterns of ,uestioning structuring and how fre,uently those patterns are
exploited in teachers7 ,uestioning reflect how teachers and students interact in the course
of ,uestioning. 5s indicated in this study, the teachers do not know how to make meaning
negotiation with their students, how to involve more students in answering ,uestions, and
how to help students make successful responses or to explore and extend students7
thinking. (onse,uently, in most cases the teachers simply follow the initiation 4 reaction O
follow4up procedure. In some sense, whether the structuring of ,uestioning is complicated
or not can #e regarded as an indicator of teachers7 effective and positive ,uestioning. If
teachers can learn to use various patterns of structuring in ,uestioning work, the process of
,uestioning will #ecome more flexi#le, interactive and effective.
>202) Teacher 8ifferences
!hough the three teachers share much in common in their text4#ased ,uestioning,
differences do exist #etween them. !o mention a few #ut not all, #elow are some points.
9. In terms of the use of text4#ased ,uestions, they have different sources.
It is found that !eacher ( only makes use of text comprehension ,uestions directly
from the text#ook, !eacher 5 not only adopts text#ook ,uestions #ut also improvises some
text ,uestions and !eacher $ has three sources of text ,uestions8 the text#ook, the teacher
and the students.
!he underlying reason for the a#ove differences is that the three teachers have distinct
positions a#out text instruction8 #oth !eacher 5 and $ stress the importance of text
comprehension work in text learning and therefore they try to ask students as many
,uestions as possi#le. !hey expect that #y training students to tackle text ,uestions their
text comprehension a#ilities can #e developed. 2owever, !eacher ( who also emphasi6es
text comprehension work is o#served to have allocated second half of class time of every
lesson to ask her students to do multiple choice exercises of extra4class reading text
comprehension. *he does not prepare extra text4#ased ,uestions for her students. *he
expresses in the interviews that she #elieves #y doing more testing items students can get
high marks in tests.
;.In terms of techni,ues used in the course of text4#ased ,uestioning, there are slight
differences among the three teachers. For instance8
91 5s to the pacing of ,uestioning, #oth !eacher 5 and !eacher ( keep a fast speed in
their classroom ,uestioning. 5s a result, they do not always offer wait time for their
students to tackle text4#ased ,uestions in class. !his can #e explained #y their personality.
$oth teachers tend to speak fast. 2owever, !eacher $ shows more patience with her
students than the other two teachers. *he does not execute her text4#ased ,uestioning in a
hurry. >elatively speaking, !eacher $7s learners receive more thinking time than those in
the other two teachers7 classrooms.
;1 5s to the se,uence of ,uestion presentation and text analysis 0language study1,
!eacher ( tends to ask students text ,uestions after she and her students have studied the
language points and this is usually arranged in the #eginning of the following lesson. $ut
!eacher 5 and !eacher $ tend to deal with text ,uestions #efore getting students to study
voca#ulary and structures. @#viously, the three teachers adopt different se,uences on the
#asis of their own teaching experiences.
B1 5s to ,uestion distri#ution, #oth !eacher 5 and !eacher $ use the techni,ue of
redirection to some degree whereas !eacher ( does not exploit this strategy. In the
interviews they express different reasons for using the techni,ue or not. !eacher 5 adopts it
only in listening text comprehension ,uestioning in order to find out whether her students
can catch the meaning conveyed #y the tapes: !eacher $ uses redirection in her text4#ased
,uestioning so that more students can #e encouraged to generate ideas: !eacher ( does not
think it necessary and useful to pose the same ,uestion to different students and she
#elieves it is a waste of time to do so. It can #e seen that different understandings of
teaching techni,ues #ring a#out distinct teaching #ehaviors.
C1 5s to reaction to student response, !eacher $ shows more positive attitudes to her
students than !eacher 5 and !eacher (, who use more expressions such as < "ood=,
<!hank you= very fre,uently. (lass o#servation shows that !eacher $ expects her students
to speak as much as possi#le and therefore she tries her #est to encourage her class to take
part in classroom ,uestioning. *he always keeps smiling to her class. 2owever, !eacher 5
and !eacher ( treat their students in a cold way. !hey seldom give their students warm
encouragement and they deal with text O#ased ,uestioning as if they are going through a
ritual process. !hey do not always appreciate what their students perform in ,uestioning
work. @ccasionally they even critici6e students when the latter keep silent or give wrong
responses. It seems that !eacher $ pays attention to keeping a good rapport with her class
while !eacher 5 and !eacher $ are more teacher4centered.
"enerally speaking, the slight differences among the three teachers in this study in their
text4#ased ,uestioning are caused #y their differences in terms of their individual
personality, teaching policy, relationship with students, teaching experiences. $esides, their
differences can also #e interpreted #y their individual #lind attempts in text4#ased
>2) Pedagogical 1mplications from This Study
!he findings in this study show that there is a great divergence #etween what theorists
advocate and what teachers actually practice in text4#ased ,uestioning. 5ll the three
teachers in this study report in the interviews that they know little a#out classroom
,uestioning and they are not clear a#out what options they have in dealing with text4#ased
,uestioning. !hey admit that what they are doing in ,uestioning work is simply #ased on
their own intuition, previous learning experience, their peer teachers7 teaching practice, and
understanding of what should #e done in teaching, instead of on any theoretical guidance.
!hey also express in the interviews that !3FL methodology courses provided #y current
teacher colleges are uninteresting and do not offer student teachers any practical help in
classroom ,uestioning in !3FL area. 5ll the su#%ect teachers expect to improve their
,uestioning skills #ut they do not get access to the effective approaches
In view of the fact that all the three sample teachers7 ineffective text4#ased ,uestioning
is caused #y their little knowledge a#out good and poor ,uestioning strategies and #y lack
of useful instruction from various teaching resources, all the #lame for their poor ,uestions
and ineffective ,uestioning does not rest with the teachers themselves, although they
should share some responsi#ilities. !he following implications can #e made from this
Pro$ision of professional training
Pre4 and post4 service !3FL programs should train teachers in text4#ased ,uestioning.
!raditional teacher training courses usually follow the product approach in course design
focusing on content, i.e. what teachers need to teach students 0for example, language
knowledge and language skills1, instead of taking the process approach training teachers in
using effective strategies or techni,ues to help students ac,uire language through using it
in classrooms.
!exts are samples of real language in use. !here are many approaches to tackle texts
and the ,uestion4and4answer method is considered as one effective way that can #e
adopted in text instruction. !ext4#ased ,uestions can #e used as tasks for students to
perform in their text learning. 'nfortunately, there have #een so far few !3FL courses that
integrate ,uestioning strategies into text instruction 0text listening/reading comprehension1.
"ruenewald D Pollark 09GGJ8 CG4HJ1 point out, ,uestioning can #e classified as processes
#ut does not receive much attention. It is reported that most teachers are unaware of their
,uestioning patterns and they are una#le to analy6e or change them #ecause they are not
trained in asking ,uestions 0"ood D $rophy 9GG98 ;E: "ruenewald D Pollark 9GGJ8 CG1. In
other words, most teachers do not know how to make a good ,uestion, nor do they know
how to utili6e ,uestions appropriately. !herefore, it is expected that in the near future
!3FL courses containing text4#ased ,uestioning strategies can reach practical teachers so
that teachers can #e theoretically guided in the course of their text instruction. Practice
without any effective theoretical guidance is thought to #e #lind attempts. 'nless teachers
are aware of how, why and when they should ask ,uestions, they are unlikely to #e
effective in their ,uestioning #ehaviors. !eachers will #ecome more competent in their
text4#ased ,uestioning through professional training.
1mpro$ement in textboo,s as models
!ext#ooks should provide teachers with good models of ,uestion design. 5s has #een
shown in this study, most of the three teachers7 text4#ased ,uestions come directly from the
text#ooks and teachers7 ,uestion design in terms of ,uestion form, content and type and
,uestion se,uencing are much influenced #y those in text#ooks. 5s we have seen in
(hapter C, pre4 and post4 reading/listening text comprehension ,uestions are exclusively
small in num#er 0only !eacher $ occasionally raises lead4in ,uestions in several reading
text comprehension ,uestioning work1: most of their text comprehension ,uestions are at a
low level in relation to cognitive re,uirements: all the series of text comprehension
,uestions are se,uenced in line with the development order of text information.
!he finding in this study conforms to some existing research studies. 5s to the
cognitive level of text4#ased ,uestions, the studies #y @. L. +avis .r. D Francis P. 2unkins
09GEE, cited in @rlich et al 9GGJ8 9G91 and #y !rachren#erg 09GFC, cited in @rlosky 9GI;8
;9H1 investigated ,uestions in text#ooks and work#ooks and the thinking processes they
apparently foster. $oth studies used the !axonomy of 3ducational @#%ectives #y $loom
09GHE1 and the findings showed that all the ,uestions consistently emphasi6ed knowledge
or memory ,uestions and uniformly avoided higher4order ,uestions and over GHR
,uestions were at the lower level of cognition.
!ext4#ased ,uestions in the current secondary 3FL text#ooks are pro#lematic. !ake the
text#ooks the three sample teachers use in this study as examples. In .3F( 9$ no lead4in
,uestions are designed for all the texts in the text#ook while there are only a few lead4in
,uestions in .3F( ;$: in #oth .3F( 9$ and ;$ not every text has attached text
comprehension ,uestions: all the text4#ased ,uestions in the two materials are se,uenced in
the same <specific to specific= format and ,uestions are arranged in line with text
information development order: every text4#ased ,uestion seeks locali6ing detailed
information at the sentence levelN 5ll these features of text#ook ,uestions have a direct
impact on teachers7 use and their own design of text4#ased ,uestions. !herefore, it is hoped
that text#ooks and materials can set good examples for teachers in ,uestion construction
and ,uestion se,uence and help teachers 0especially inexperienced teachers1 esta#lish a
good #asis for using ,uestions.
>24 Theoretical 1mplications
5s mentioned in (hapters 9 and ;, the exiting research on classroom 0text4#ased1
,uestioning has #een confined to studies of ,uestions or ,uestioning strategies/techni,ues
in a separate way. 2owever, this study has made attempts to take an integrated approach to
investigating teacher text4#ased ,uestioning from #oth static and dynamic perspectives.
$ased on the related literature review, the author proposes a framework of analy6ing and
descri#ing classroom teacher text4#ased ,uestioning and puts it into practice of an
empirical study of three %unior 3FL teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning. !he present study
proves that this framework can capture the #asic features of teacher text4#ased ,uestioning.
!herefore, it is #elieved that this framework can #e applied to other further related studies.
In addition, it is expected that this framework can lead to the provision of #etter ones and
make theoretical implications for inventions of frameworks for studies on other types of
>2+ imitations in This Study 7 Suggestions for Further Studies
!his study is an attempt, which focuses on description and analysis of the features of
teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning #y means of class o#servation, tape4recording, irregular
interviews with the teachers and learners. *ome findings have #een summari6ed from this
study #ut they cannot #e generali6ed #ecause there are some limitations in this study8
Firstly, the su#%ect teachers are small in num#er: they are all selected from the same local
area: their teaching years are approximately the same: they are all female: no teacher in
%unior grade three is involved: *econdly, interviews with the learners are small in num#er:
interviews with the teachers should have explored the hidden teacher #eliefs. !herefore,
the summary of this study can not #e generali6ed to represent the situation of all the other
%unior 3FL teachers7 text4#ased ,uestioning, though the findings can provide us with some
useful insights into classroom 3FL teachers7 ,uestioning features in text instruction.
For the purpose of further exploring how 3FL teachers execute the ,uestioning method
in text teaching, the following suggestions may #e helpful8 91 those who are interested in
this area can investigate features of ,uestion design in current 3FL text#ooks, materials
and teachers7 manuals in (hina: ;1 researchers may compare expert teachers and
inexperienced teachers in text4#ased ,uestioning #ehaviors: B1 exploration can #e made
a#out the intra4teacher variance in language4focused and in text4focused ,uestioning: C1
research can also #e done in comparison #etween teachers who have received special
training in text4#ased ,uestioning and those who have not: C1 attempts can #e made to
examine what influences different types of text4#ased ,uestions have on learners7 cognitive
and linguistic development: H1 studies can as well make contrasts of text4#ased ,uestioning
features among primary, secondary and tertiary 3FL teachers: H1 the effects of approaches
to text instruction with and without text4#ased ,uestioning, etc. can also #e investigated in
future studies,
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Appendix 1: Field notes in class obser$ation
Field notes of !eacher 57s lesson
!eacher 5 (lass 9I !uesday ;JJB/JB/9I ;8JJT;8CJ pm
;8JJ *s listen to and sing a song <+o, >e, e= after the tape.
;8J9 !eacher checks students7 voca#ulary memory #y asking individual students to
;8JF !eacher introduces to the class the main idea of the story in 'nit 9G.
;89; *tudents look at the text#ook and listen to the tape of 'nit 9G.
;89I *tudents listen to the tape and read after it sentence #y sentence.
;8 ;F *tudents listen to the tape a third time.
;8BC !eacher and students ask and answer text comprehension ,uestions.
Zai Ping%ie8 3r , they are going to visit the island.
8 Pes. /Pes.
Liu 2an8 school gate.
(ai8 at six./Peah.
!ian Lei8 First. / Pes.
Zhang )iaoliang8 3r the farther, the farthest.
Liu 2an8 &o. / &o.
;8BE !eacher explains <have #een=.
;8BEH !eacher and students continue asking and answering text comprehension
Why did the children pull NQ
"uo Mai8 3r 4444 they7re afraid they can7t find their #oat.
Fan8 under the #ig tree. / #ecause they want to keep the food cool.
Ping (huan8 *orry, I don7t know.
Li $o8 3r #ecause something
)ie8 &o, they didn7t.
Zhang )iaofeng8 0silent, lowering head1
2ow did they feelQ
.iang *huai8 they feel very happy.
;8CJ Why did Mate feel a little afraid againQ
Zhang (hengyin8 3r, the #asket is missing.
;8C9 !eacher gives assignment to students.
Appendix 11: Tape transcripts
*ample transcripts from !eacher 57s lesson on arch 9I
!8 "EB/kQ
*s8 k<
!8 3r 444 GOD < 1 +o you know who are theyQ Peah we know there
are six children. +o you knowQ Who are theyQ
*s8 0noisily uttering 1
!8 0speaking while writing on $#1 !he first one is N. Pes or &oQ
*s8 Pes.
!8 We know in this story, there are six children. !hey are Lucy, N and Mate. PesQ
*s8 Pes.
!8 Peah. 5nd we know N. +o you think soQ
*s8 Pes.
!8 !hey want to go to the island the weekend. N. &ow listen to me carefully. 0#egins to
introduces the story to students in 3nglish 1N &ow let7s listen to the tape.
0!eacher plays the tape recorder. *tudents look at the text#ooks and listen to the tape.1
05fter the 9
listening 1
!8 N 9G 97 L A .
*s8 Mate.
*s8 Mate.
!8 AMate, AoA7 "E6 G7< 2
05fter the B
listening 1
!8 &ow answer my ,uestions. !he first one. +o you know where are the children
goingQ Where are the children goingQ +o you knowQ Zai Ping%ie. Where are the
children goingQ
Zai8 !hey are going to visit the island.
!8 !hey are going to visit the island. 0to *s1 +o you think soQ
*s8 Pes.
!8 !hank you. Pou are right. &ext one. Zhang Pan. +o $ill want do $ill want to go
with themQ +o $ill want to go with themQ
Zhang8 Pes.
!8 +oesn7t heQ Pes or &oQ
Zhang8 Pes.
!8 Pes. !hank you. &ext one. Where are they going to meetQ WhereQ Where are they
going to meetQ &iu )ing.
&iu8 *chool gate.
!8 at the school gate. !hank you. &ext one. When are they going to meetQ When are
they going to meetQ Peah. (ai -ian.
(ai8 at six.
!8 at six o7clock. PesQ *it down please. !ian Lei. Which island are they the children
going toQ Which island are the children going to Q
!ian8 first.
!8 the first oneQ
!ian8 Pes.
!8 Pes. *it down please. !he farther one or farthest oneQ Peah. Who knowsQ Who
knowsQ Zhang )iaoliang. +o you knowQ Which island are the children going to Q
Zhang8 3r 444 the farther.
!8 the farthest one. 0to *s1 +o you think soQ
*s8 Pes.
!8 $ut we know, Mate says <we7d #etter not go there. It7s too far away=. .im says <&o
pro#lem. We will go there then=. Peah. Which oneQ
Zhang8 the farthest.
!8 the farthest oneQ 0pauses1 the farther one or the farthest oneQ
*ome *s8 farther one.
*ome *s8 farthest one.
!8 PardonQ Zhang )iaoliang.
Zhang8 farther.
!8 the farther one. 0to *s1 Pes or &oQ
*s8 Pes.
!8 Pes. !his time you are right. &ext one. Liu 2an. 2ave they #een there #eforeQ 2ave
they #een there #eforeQ
Liu8 &o.
!8 0writes on $# <have #een to=1D<have never #een to, 9D "!3
<0explains and gives some examples 1
!8 0to Liu 1 0 A7 2ave you, no. 2ave they #een there #eforeQ Pes or
Liu8 &o.
!8 &o. We know they have never #een there #efore. !hank you. *it down please. &ext
one, next ,uestion. &ext ,uestion. !ian Lei. 'hm 444 Why did why did the children
why did the children pull the #oat out of the waterQ
!ian8 0silent, lowering head1
!8 Why did the children pull, what7s the meaning <pull=Q 0pauses1 , yeah, pull the
#oat out of the water.
!ian8 AAA
Peah. 0to !ian1 *it down please. Pou7re right. &ext one. "uo Mai. Peah. !his ,uestion.
Why did the children pull the #oat out of the waterQ
"uo8 3r 444 they7re they7re afraid , they can7t
!8 0interrupts1 PardonQ
"uo8 they7re afraid, they 444 they can7t find their #oat.
!8 'h 444 they7re afraid they they couldn7t find their #oat. PesQ y oDk< ) &
4 0to "uo1 Pou7re right. &ext one. *it down please. Fan 2ongyao. Where did they
put their picnic #asket Q WhereQ Where did they put their picnic #asketQ
Fan8 under a #ig tree.
!8 under a #ig tree. WhyQ
Fan8 #ecause they want to keep the food cool.
!8 !hey want to keep the food cool. Pou7re right. &ext one. Ping (huan. Why did Mate
feel tiredQ Why did Mate feel a little tired or afraidQ
Ping8 0silent 1
!8 Why did Mate feel a little tiredQ
Ping8 *orry, I don7t know.
!8 'hm 444 *it down please. 3r 444 Li $o. (an youQ Why did Mate feel a little afraidQ
Li8 3r 444 #ecause 444 she heard 444 something.
!8 she heard something near them. PesQ
Li8 Pes.
!8 D9 k< 2 M Pes. *it down please. &ext one. )ie .ialiang. What did the
children do thenQ What did the children do thenQ
)ie8 0silent1
!8 +id they leave the islandQ k /
)ie8 &o, they didn7t.
!8 Peah, no , they didn7t. !hey went for a walk. k< >*. *it down
please. &ext one. &um#er !welve. Zhang Zhang )iaofeng. What did they see on
islandQ What did they see on the islandQ What did they see on the islandQ
Zhang8 0silent1
0!he #ell rings for class #reak1
!8 What did they see on the islandQ +o you knowQ What did they do thenQ What did
they do thenQ
*s8 0noisy1
!We know they saw some #ananas. +o you knowQ kGo, >*
!/*s8 !hey 444 picked 444 some #ananas 444 on them. !hank you. &ext one. 2ow did
they feelQ 2ow did they feelQ 3r 444 .iang *huai.
.iang8 0silent1
!8 feel. 2ow did they feelQ >* %
.iang8 3r, they feel very happy.
!8 ?ery happy. Zhang (hengyin. Why did Mate feel a little afraid againQ Why did Mate
feel a little afraid againQ WhyQ
Zhang8 0silent1
!8*Mate k ) ! %
Zhang8 'hm 444 the #asket is missing.
!8 !he #asket is missing, #ecause the #asket is missing. Peah, the #asket is no longer at
the tree. Pes. *it down please. 7yB8T<8 "