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How teacher questioning behaviours assist and affect language teaching and learning in EFL classrooms in Taiwan

By Fang-yu Chang


This study examined classroom questioning with a socio-cultural theoretical framework to gain a better understanding of how teacher questioning operates as a pedagogical and learning tool in English classroom settings in Taiwan. Four teachers and twelve students in four different classes in three secondary schools participated in this study in the second term of the academic year 2006. Three kinds of interviews (pre-observation, post-observation, and stimulated recall interviews) were conducted for all subject teachers in order to obtain in-depth information for further analyses. 12 focal students were selected to respond to the questionnaire and participated in the semi-structured interview with the researcher. 24 class periods were videotaped and twenty of them were transcribed verbatim. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches were employed to analyze the collected data.\ud Teacher questions served as important devices to self-clarify, to push learners’ language production, to encourage comprehensible output, to impart knowledge and to mediate learners’ language learning and cognitive development. Both Mandarin and English languages used in teacher questioning had pedagogical functions. Also, the research findings indicate that there is a strong relationship between teachers’ teaching and learning goals and their decisive use of questions to scaffold classroom participation and learning. L1 use as private speech in learner responses was found to have affective, social, and cognitive functions. Most of the time, the four classes which were observed were quiet and passive. After analyzing the questionnaire and interview data, the researcher found that some socially-constructed affective factors, the learner-teacher or learner-learner interpersonal relationships, and some specific Taiwanese socio-cultural reasons might cause learners to hold back from classroom interaction.\ud The instructional goals of the subject teachers differed in the opportunities they created for learning. The research findings also suggested that no matter which languages the teachers used, how to make efforts to negotiate forms and meanings with students is the most effective way to improve learners’ learning. Socio-cultural theory is indeed a viable theoretical framework for analyzing teachers’ solicitations but further research can be improved by conducting a complementary socio-cognitive model that emphasizes that social and cognitive concepts are even more closely connected. It addition, it seems important for further research to carry out prolonged and extensive fieldwork to obtain in-depth data and investigating long-term, not short-term, effects of teacher questioning

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