Assessing Learning or Promoting Communication: A Case Study of Teachers’ Questioning in English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) Classrooms in a Chinese University

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dc.contributor.advisor Biebricher, C en
dc.contributor.advisor Zhang, LJ en Teng, Fei en 2018-04-24T03:13:39Z en 2018 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Foreign language teaching in China, including teaching English as a foreign language (EFL), has shifted its instructional focus to a more communication-oriented pedagogy, influenced by Hymes’s (1972) “communicative competence” and the widely-recognised communicative language teaching (CLT) approach. However, research shows that some of the key teaching practices do not always align with the requirements of CLT during classroom interaction. Teachers’ questions are a key manifestation of such classroom interaction. In foreign language (FL) classrooms, the teacher’s questioning practice plays an important role in facilitating students’ comprehension and production in the target language. Due to the significance of teachers’ questions, this study investigates EFL teachers’ use of questions, particularly their functions in the classroom. The study also seeks to reveal students’ perceptions of their teacher’s questioning practice. A comprehensive review of current taxonomies of teachers’ questions shows key distinctions among various question types. And it also exposes problems in existing classification criteria as they involve both form and function considerations of questions. Therefore, in order to take a snapshot of the teacher’s questioning behaviour, a taxonomy of teachers’ questions by their discoursal functions is utilised in this study. Drawing on the techniques of discourse analysis, this research documents teacher-student interaction in English classes with distinct objectives, with a primary focus on exchanges initiated by the teacher’s questions. Foster, Tonkyn and Wigglesworth’s (2000) AS-units have been adopted for analysing the spoken data quantitatively. In an attempt to triangulate methods, data and theory, this case study has been designed to identify issues with a teacher’s questioning practice. This study attempts to offer insightful empirical evidence, both quantitatively and qualitatively, through analysing classroom observations, interview and survey data of how the teacher’s implementation of questions with different discoursal functions influenced the communication level of the observed EFL classes. The results show that the participating teacher is aware of using questions to elicit students’ oral responses, however, even if the focus is on promoting the development of speaking skills, her questions are assessment-oriented rather than communication-oriented. In addition, teacher questioning is found to be an indispensable tool for dealing with reading comprehension. Findings also reveal that increased use of informative or referential questions is not necessarily associated with extended students’ responses; other factors, such as allowing sufficient wait time after questioning and encouraging group discussion, also contributed to the length and complexity of students’ oral production. Finally, it seems that students are quite clear about the nature of the instruction in the teacher’s questions, though the teacher does not realise that students have trouble formulating answers to her questions. Rather, she attributes such difficulty to students’ lack of understanding of her questions. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265045908202091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title Assessing Learning or Promoting Communication: A Case Study of Teachers’ Questioning in English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) Classrooms in a Chinese University en
dc.type Thesis en Education en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 738067 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2018-04-24 en

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