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Questioning Technique in Teaching English

Brown (2001) proposes that the most important key to creating an interactive language classroom is the initiation by the teacher. One of the best ways to develop the teacher’s role as an initiator and sustainer of interaction is to develop a repertoire of questioning strategies.

Questioning is an important technique of teaching, It has received much research attention for many years. According to Frazee and Rose (1995), Questioning is the oldest and most common teaching, and it is fundamental to outstanding teaching. But, Questions are the sparks that ignite students’ thought process. Good questioning behaviors have long been associated with effective teaching (Armstrong, 1994).

Questioning technique can be used by teachers in teaching English skill. According to Gebhard (1999), questioning can benefit teachers who want to provide a chance for the students to interact in English in meaningful ways. Eanes (1997) adds that teacher’s questioning plays a crucial role in comprehension development. It means that the questioning can enhance the students’ reading skill.

In addition, Fraenkel (1980) states that the essence of any effective teaching strategy lies in the questions a teacher asks. The questions reveal a great deal about the teacher’s objectives. Morgan and Saxton (1991) adds that a teacher asks questions for several reasons. First, the act of asking questions helps teachers keep students actively involved in lessons. Second, while answering questions, students have the opportunity to openly express their ideas and thoughts. Third, questioning students enables other students to hear different explanations of the material by their peers. Fourth, asking questions helps teachers to pace their lesson and moderate students’ behavior. Last, questioning helps teachers to evaluate student learning and revise their lesson as necessary.

Additionally, Ur (1996) states that there are various reasons why a teacher might ask a question in the classroom. The reasons are to provide a model for language or thinking, to find out something from the students (fact, ideas, and opinion), to check or test understanding, knowledge, or skill, to get students to be active in their learning, to direct attention to the topic being learned, to inform the class via the answer of the stronger students rather than through the teacher’s input, to provide weaker students with opportunity to participate, to stimulate thinking (logical, reflective or imaginative), to probe deeply into issue, to get students to review and practice previous learnt material, to encourage self expression, and to communicate learners that the teacher is genuinely interested in what they think.

Christenbury and Kelly (1983) in Brown (2001) mention different functions of asking questions. First, teacher questions give students the motive and opportunity to produce language comfortably without having to risk initiating language themselves. It is very scary for students to have to initiate conversation or topics for discussion. Second, teacher questions can serve to initiate a chain reaction of student interaction among themselves. One question may be all that is needed to start a discussion; without the initial question, however, the students will be reluctant to initiate the process. Third, teacher questions bring immediate feedback about students’ comprehension. After posing a question, a teacher can use the students’ response to diagnose linguistic or content difficulties. Last, teacher questions provide students with opportunities to find out what they think by hearing what they say. As they are pushed into responding to question about, say, a reading or a film, they can discover what their own opinions and reactions are.

According to Lemlech (1994), questions can be used for some following reasons. First, to motivate and guide students’ study. Second, to orient students to problems and make them aware of values. Third, to teach students to process information. Fourth, to facilitate analysis and evaluation.


Armstrong, D. G. 1994. Secondary Education: An Introduction. New York: Macmillan College Publishing.

Brown, H.D. 2001. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Eanes, R. 1997. Content Area Literacy: Teaching for Today and Tomorrow. Boston: Delmar Publisher.

Fraenkel, H. R. 1980. Helping Students Think and Value Strategies for Teaching and Learning the Social Studies. New Jersey: San Francisco State University Prentice Hall.

Frazee, B. M. & Rose, A. R. 1995. Integrated Teaching Method: Theory, Classroom Applications and Field Based Connections. New York: Delmar Publishers.

Gebhard, G. J. 2000. Teaching English as a Foreign Language or Second Language: A Teacher Self-development and Methodology Guide. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press.

Lemlech, J. K. 1994. Curriculum and Instructional Methods for the Elementary and Middle School. New York: Macmillan College Publishing.

Morgan, N. & Saxton, J. 1991. Teaching, Questioning, and Learning. New York: Routledge.

Ur, P. 1996. A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. England: Cambridge University Press.


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This website is dedicated for all English teachers by presenting article, news, researches, and diagrams to help them to optimize the teaching of English around the globe


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