Questioning: Transitioning to Learner-Centred Questions

Questioning: Transitioning to Learner-Centred Questions

Wilson Ozuem (University of Gloucestershire, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch087


Questioning and dialogue provide a framework for sharing educational objectives with students and for charting their progress. However, such an approach can generate feedback information that can be used by students to enhance learning and achievement. Moreover, the feedback generated from good “questioning and dialogue” could help tutors realign their teaching in response to the needs of learners. Organisations or institutions of learning, which integrate productive questioning and dialogue as part of their classroom practices and commitments to students, provide enhanced meaningful connections between what their students are studying and the relevance both their thinking and their knowledge has in comprehending life issues and solving problems. Drawing on qualitative research perspectives and adopting an embedded case study strategy, this chapter addresses the following questions: What are the connections between good questioning and student learning and achievement? What conscious knowledge and beliefs do tutors hold about productive questioning in their classes? The study findings indicate that learners need to be motivated to ask questions and encouraged to get involved in discussions. Tutors should consider “think-pair share strategy” in their classroom delivery.
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Theoretical Framework And Context

It is a truism that a tutor’s questions play an important role in shaping classroom interaction and learning; however, it is a complex area of study. The complexity of the concept has undeniably made it difficult for researchers to agree on what classroom questioning is. Research indicates that questioning is second only to lecturing in popularity as a teaching method and that classroom teachers spend anywhere from 35 to 50 percent of their teaching time facilitating question and answer sessions (Dillon, 1988; 1990; Hunkins, 1997; Kerry, 2002). Wilen (1992) defines a question as “a specialised sentence possessing either an interrogative form or function. When raised by teachers, questions are instructional cues suggesting to students content, elements to be learned and ways of learning or experiencing said content” (p. 3). Hyman (1979) argues that when students employ questions, they serve as guides to particular actions and as sentences that invite thinking and behaving along particular lines. Similarly, Aqvist (1980) classifies questions as special types of commands in which the questioner’s desire for knowledge can be met. It is accepted that people ask questions so that they can obtain information and in order to satisfy their desire for knowledge. Implicit in questions as commands is the acceptance of the belief that what is questioned is known or is possible to be known.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Qualitative Approach: An inductive reasoning of research methodology that is subjectively-based.

Dialogue: Informed discussion between two or more individuals.

Case Study: The qualitative form of research strategy that focuses on the naturally occurring entity (for example, person, university, town).

Question: A form of clearly statement that requires an answer.

Open Questions: The type of question that provides broad parameters for the interviews to formulate their own words around the questions.

Student-Centred: The design and practice of class-based delivery on the learner’s immediate needs.

Questioning: The art of posing some declarative statements that require answers.

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