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Questioning Techniques Essay

A number of researches conducted recently within the local setting on teaching skills of teachers show that there is a decline of the quality of classroom teaching of many teachers. The prime reason for this decline, as concluded by many researchers, lies in the problems of the training they receive at pre-service training institutions. For example; Lim, Cock, Lock (2009) state that though there is a practical element of pre-service teacher training, it does not provide enough knowledge and skills for the teachers to handle the challenges they encounter in the classroom brought by globalization and the development of modern technology. Because it is the National Colleges of Education that produce the pre-training to majority of teachers their syllabi were analyzed to understand that heavy theoretical knowledge given through the syllabi deprives the prospective teachers of opportunity of having enough practical teaching experience during their on campus training. On the other hand, no specific attention is paid on developing important teaching skills even though some practical teaching opportunities are given to them.

Karaseva (2013) also highlights the importance of giving teachers assistance in getting their problems solved in relation to particular teaching skills of which they show weaknesses in. Among those important teaching skills, questioning techniques are one of the skills to which less attention is paid during pre- service teacher education. Cotton (1989) says that virtually no attention is paid on developing questioning techniques of teachers during their pre-service training period. Further, Aggarwal (2013) highlights the importance of questioning techniques because psychologically and philosophically asked questions help teachers achieving lesson objectives to expected level. Therefore, this research broadly aims at developing the questioning techniques of prospective teachers using a widely recognized technique and evaluating the efficacy of the used technique in developing teaching skills of prospective teachers. Objectives of the Study;

To review the theoretical background of questioning techniques in teaching. To investigate the development of questioning techniques of prospective teachers through the current programme of instruction. To find out innovative techniques that can be used in improving questioning techniques.

Theoretical background of questioning techniques was reviewed through literature and a check list was used to determine the current states of questioning techniques employed by prospective teachers in their lessons. It was further expected to use the checklist to determine how far the existing methodology of instruction is capable of developing questioning techniques. The check list focused broadly on general aspects of questioning such as tone and accuracy of questions and specific skills such as eliciting, probing and Socratic questions. Lessons were videotaped for further analysis and at the same time descriptive field notes were kept by the researcher for recording and analyzing the questioning techniques employed by prospective teachers. Peer group members too observed the lessons and used an observation schedule to record and comment on the questioning techniques used by their colleagues. An available convenience sample of 30 prospective teachers of English was selected for the research and two lessons of each member were observed using the check list. From the 30 teachers observed, 12 were selected to conduct lessons in the classroom for the peer group. Half the peer group acted as students while the rest was observing the lesson using the observation schedule. Therefore, the data gathering instruments of the research include a checklist, field notes, an observation schedule, videotaping and lesson plans prepared by prospective teachers. Results/Findings;

When the theories related to questioning techniques were analyzed it was understood that Bloom’s Taxonomy provides proper guidance for teachers in selecting, grading and using questions to develop the cognitive domain of students(Bloom cited in Huitt, 2011). Doff, (1988); Alexis,( 2009); and Hyman, (1982) add the importance of wait time to classification of questions according to Bloom’s Taxonomy. They prove that longer wait time encourages critical thinking. When literature is further analyzed it was understood that probing questions are very important for the subject taught by prospective teachers, i.e. English language as probing questions demand authentic language production (Stepien, 2012). With the light of the theories related to questioning techniques, results of check lists were analyzed with comparisons to the field notes of observed lessons. The results of check list show that prospective teachers use tone appropriately in asking questions which is further verified by the field notes.

Though high marks were noticed for the accuracy of questions in the checklist field notes and observation schedules record inaccurate questions especially in complex structures such as, “Can you tell me what is this colour?” There were five sections of the check list out of which probing questions recorded the least marks for a greater majority of the prospective teachers. This was further noticed in field notes and observation schedules because only a few such questions had been recorded. Teachers seemed to be happy with the received questions or directly corrected the inappropriate answers without attempting to probe into the answer. When research conducted to develop teaching skills were studied it was found out that “Micro Teaching” has provided effective results in international setting in developing skills such as class control and classroom management

Prospective teachers should be encouraged to preplan their questions whenever possible to increase the accuracy of them because inaccurate questions lead to misconceptualization. New strategies must be employed to give more training to prospective teachers to develop aspects such as wait time, using probing questions because the existing method has not been able to develop those aspects of questioning. “Micro Teaching” is suggested to be used in developing questioning techniques since it has been successful in many other situations in developing several other teaching skills such as class control and classroom management.

1. Aggarwal, J. C. 2013. Essentials of Educational Technology. Innovations in
Teaching – Learning. Dlhi, Vikas Publishing house Pvt. Ltd. 2. Alexis, 2009. A Questioning Strategy, Power of Wait Time/Think Time. Retrieved from on 10.02.2014. 3. Asking Questions to Improve Listening. The Teaching Center. Washington University.(2009)Retrieved from on 12.02.2014 4. Beare, K. (N.D.) Speaking Skills – Asking Questions. English as 2nd Language. (Retrieved on 13.02.2014) 5. Cotton, K. 1989. Classroom Questioning. School Improvement Research Series. NorthwestRegionalEducationalLaboratory. html. 6. Doff,A. 1988. Teach English: A Training Course for Teachers. Trainer’s Hand Book. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 7. Fries-Geither, J. 2008; Why Ask Questions? The Ohio State University. Ohio 8. Hyman, 1982. Teaching Methods. Questioning in the Classroom. How to Ask Questions. Retrieved from, on 14.02.2014 9. Innovations and Initiatives in Teacher Education in Asia and the Pacific Region. (1990).(Vol-II).Bangkok, UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific 10. Marzano, R. Pickering, D. and Pollock, J. 2001. Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 11. Professional Development among Academic Staff at Selected Malaysian Public Universities: Preliminary Findings of the Impact of the Basic Teaching Methodology Courses, International Journal of Business and Social Science 2(3) 2011.p.125 12. Research Scholar. An Experimental Study to Find Out the Effectiveness of Some Micro Teaching Skills in Teaching Geography at the Secondary Level. West Bengal, Rabindra Bharati University. 13. Rowe, M.B. (n.d.) Wait Time: Slowing Down May Be A Way of Speeding Up. Journal of Teacher Education. 1986; 37; 43 Retrieved from, on 13.02.2014 14. Shomoossi, N(2004),.The effect of teacher’s questioning behavior on EFL classroom interaction: A classroom research study, The Reading Matrix, 4 pp. 96–104

15. Yang, C.C.R. (2010)Teacher questions in second language classrooms: An investigation of three case studies, Asian EFL Journal, 12 (1) (2010), pp. 181–201

Declaration Form for Corresponding Author

Title of the abstract: Asking Questions the Right way; an analysis of the questioning techniques employed by prospective teachers. (Current state of an ongoing action research to develop the questioning techniques of prospective teachers)

Name of authors: R.M.D. Rohan

Address of institution where the work was carried out: Pasdunrata National College of Education Kalutara

Name of the supervisor: Prof. Manjula Vithanapathirana

I declare that the above abstract reports the results of original research work and that the work reported in the abstract has not been published or presented elsewhere.

Name & Signature of the Corresponding Author: R.M.D. Rohan Address: Pasdunrata National College of Education – Kalutara Date:
Supervisor’s signature:

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