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Questioning Skills of EFL Teachers By Masduki May, 2011. Ice-breaking Background: Character Shift is here in the “S ong of Questions”. Song I: “Kowe bocah ngendi Le?” “Kula lare ndesa” “Kowe arep nyangdi Le?” “Badhe dateng kuta” “Kathik nggawa arit Le?” “Damel mbacok Landa”

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ice breaking background character shift is here in the s ong of questions
Ice-breaking Background:Character Shift is here in the “Song of Questions”
  • Song I:
  • “Kowe bocah ngendi Le?”
  • “Kula lare ndesa”
  • “Kowe arep nyangdi Le?”
  • “Badhe dateng kuta”
  • “Kathik nggawa arit Le?”
  • “Damel mbacok Landa”
  • “Yen Landane mati Le?”
  • “Indonesia merdeka”
song ii
Song II
  • “Kowe bocah ngendi Le?”
  • “Kula lare ndesa”
  • “Kowe arep nyangdi Le?”
  • “Badhe dateng kuta”
  • “Kathik nggawa arit Le?”
  • “Damel pados arta”
  • “Yen wus duwe duit Le?”
  • “Damel sinau maca”
song iii
Song III
  • “Kowe bocah ngendi Le?”
  • “Aku bocah ndesa”
  • “Kowe arep nyangdi Le?”
  • “Arep menyang kuta”
  • “Kathik nggawa arit Le?”
  • “Kanggo mbacok kanca”
  • “Yen kancamu mati Le?”
  • “Sepedahe tak gawa”

A Shift in the Teaching of Reading:

A Traditional Approach To Reading

  • Reading is a matter of simply extracting information

from the text

  • The text is full of meanings
  • The meanings can be poured straight into the readers’


the relatively new approaches to reading
The (relatively) new approaches to reading

Goodman (1995): Psycholinguistic Model

Eskey (1998): Interactive Model

Anderson (2000): Schema Theory

psycholinguistic view of reading
Psycholinguistic View of Reading
  • Reading is not a linear process.
  • Readers sample texts, make and test hypotheses and predictions about what they are reading (based on their background knowledge)


A reader makes use of his organ information processing for:







(Goodman, 1995)


The Interactive Approach Suggests

  • Reading is a more complex process.
  • Reading is “a kind of dialog” between the reader and the text.
  • “Interaction” has been handled form two perspectives.
  • Interaction between the reader and the text.
  • Interaction between the lower and higher levels of reading process.

What can we learn from the models:

  • Teachers of reading comprehension are supposed to activate necessary and relevant schemata to assist the students.
  • The reader’s prior background of the content facilitates his/her processing the text.
  • Fluent reading results from the simultaneous interaction between the higher and the lower level skills of reading.

Lower level skills are known as identification skills:

  • Recognizing words and sentences necessary for decoding and extracting explicit information

Higher level skills require more cognitive efforts:

  • Reading between the lines to find the implicit information
  • Reading beyond the lines to understand the writer’s point of view and making interpretation.

Fluent reading occurs only when lower and higher levels operate together.


What happens in EFL reading classes ?

EFL Reading Classes :

  • Reading is a complex process.
  • Students have not yet mastered the medium for successful reading activities (Sadtono, 2005).



EFL Reading Classes continued

  • Many studies are conducted focusing on learners:e.g. investigating the strategy used by learners to comprehend a text (Retno, 2004).
  • Common evidence (Rubin. 1994; Yuliati, 1999; Emeksiz. 2003) shows that reading interactions in EFL classes may not always occur among the learners themselves.
  • Learners may need someone who will promote interaction and comprehension.

Who ?



  • To initiate and sustain interaction in the classroom is the teacher’s responsibility.
  • The teacher’s performances is as important as the learner for a complemented interactive process.

Teacher’s Intervention Is Required


How/What Intervention ?

In EFL Reading Classes :

  • Teachers make use of different tools to initiate interaction in the classroom.
  • The most commonly used tool is ASKING QUESTIONS (Long and Sato. 1983; Johnson. 1990; Ellis. 1994).

Why Questions?

Through asking questions, teachers help learners:

  • Develop lower and higher cognitive process
  • Use their background knowledge to interact with the text and to build comprehension
  • The teacher is a professional question maker (Gall, 1970)
  • To know how to question is to know how to teach
  • To question well is to teach well
  • Good questions are vital to good teaching (Averbach, 1983)

Questioning is the most:

    • Influential single teaching act.
    • Valuable of all teaching devices.
    • The Greatest medium of instruction (Hyman. 1989).



This Study :

A particular concern with the use of questions by non-native English teachers, focusing on:

  • The Types of Questions
  • How to make teacher questions effective in helping students reach understanding

(how teachers should make use of questions effectively in teaching)


The Research Problems :

  • What are the types of questions posed by EFL teachers in RC courses?
  • How do EFL teachers make effective questions in RC courses?
findings 4 1 the types of questions posed by the efl teachers in rc courses

Findings: 4.1The Types of Questions Posed by the EFL Teachers in RC Courses

4.1 Display Questions:

Requesting the students to display their knowledge known by the teacher

4.2 Referential

Asking for information which is not known by the teacher


With only a single correct answer


With multiple correct answers

4 2 strategies employed by efl teachers to make effective questions
4.2 Strategies Employed by EFL Teachers to Make Effective Questions

Translation (Code Switching)


Pausing (wait-time)


  • Focusing on Subordinate Category
  • Focusing on exemplification


  • Using clues that describe the attribute of the expected answer
  • Comparing or contrasting the expected answer to something
  • Giving an alternative/choice
conclusions the types of teacher questions
Conclusions:The Types of Teacher Questions:

The range of questions as observed falls into two categories:

Display and Referential

Display > Referential

The observed teachers :

Activate lower level skill of reading

Call for surface level meaning

conclusions continued
Conclusions…………………………….. continued

Response  Types of questions

(e.g Wh-Question > Yes/No Question)

Open question types trigger more complex utterances than closed questions types


conclusion continued

No rigid separation of question types took place during the reading

No single type of question turned out to be the most effective

Combination of display and referential  Effective


the strategies to make effective questions
The strategies to make effective questions



Pausing Effective questioning strategies

Probing +Modif. (Helping /facilitating students to reach the

Rephrasing +Modif. intended responses in comprehending a reading



Effective questioning strategy in one reading class (L-1)

Not always effective in another class (L-2/EFL)

Language proficiency of teachers and learners

Level of questions

Purpose of questioning

Contributing factors


No rigid separation of strategy took place during the reading

No single type of strategy turned out to be the most effective

Combination of more than one strategy


(for specific shared purpose)


Possible Combinations

suggestions for teachers and the lc
Suggestionsfor Teachers and the LC

Teachers’ Intervention in ESP is required.

The intervention is directed to the use effective questions and questioning strategies


University Students

High order thinking

Exploration of concept and Ideas

High level questions (referential)

suggestion continued

Teaching Asking Question

Adopt questioning strategies increasing students’ involvement !

Support a special training for questioning skill !

for other researchers
For other researchers

Question  Important tool in language classroom

Strategy Modification  Make students get involved

A quantitative study to see the effect of different types of questions on the student responses in other language skill is interesting

The students’ psychological effect upon receiving questions

Investigation involving more subjects with different background

research method
Research Method

The study is intended to explore:

The types and the strategies that make teacher question effective in reading comprehension courses.

Qualitative Approach

to enable descriptions and in-depth analyses

the design
The Design

A Case Study

  • It is a research design in which the researcher typically observes the characteristics of an individual or a group of individuals.
  • The observation is to probe deeply and analyze intensively multifarious phenomena:
  • One exceptional case/individual actor (exemplary teachers) was chosen
  • A specific setting wasexamined (reading Comprehension course)
  • A particular event was observed (asking questions)
research subjects
Research Subjects


To describe some possible aspects that make EFL Teacher Questions Effective.

The subjects required:

English teachers of reading comprehension course

what kind of teacher
What Kind of Teacher?

Those who are believed:

  • To be representative of everything observed

(Questioning The act to be observed)

  • To provide maximum insight and understanding

Exemplary Teachers (Good Teachers) Needed!

How to select?

“Selecting a sample of participants/subjects who is perceived to be special, relevant, and to have superior performance, and thus, deserve to be the exemplary sample”

selection of the research subject
Selection of the research subject

Conducted in UMM; 46 teachers were selected

Selection process:

  • Already existing mechanism: Board of Academic Quality Assurance (BKMA)
  • Student’s opinion


2 exemplary teachers found

data and data sources
Data and Data Sources

Utterances of Reading Comprehension Teachers:


Teacher questions and Students’ opinion (statements)

Teachers and Students as a Source of data

Teacher questions and statements

(Soft Data)

Transcriptions of teacher questions

(Hard Data)

  • The Researcher

Human instrument to respond, adapt, emphasize, expand, process, clarify, and explore during data collection and analysis

  • Field-notes

To write everything the researcher experiences and thinks during the data collection

  • Video and Audio-tape recorder:

To record the events in the field

data collection
Data Collection

The Researcher:

  • Observing the classroom process
  • Recording verbal interaction (questions generated by teachers) and stop recording until researcher finds the point of data saturation
  • Interviewing the subjects
  • Transcribing
  • Coding the data
data analysis
Data Analysis
  • Data Reduction
  • Data Display
  • Conclusion Drawing
  • Verification

Data Collection

Field notes


Data Coding

Data Reduction

Data Display

Temporary Conclusion

(one semester?)



Final Conclusion

  • Types of EFL Teacher Questions
  • Effective EFL Questioning Strategies

Process of Data Analysis

research stages

Developing Research Design

  • A Case study
Research Stages

Preliminary Study:

  • Finding Research Focus
  • Observing Feasible Subjects (Exemplary Teacher)


  • Researcher
  • Video&Tape Recorder
  • Field notes

Actual Study


  • Reading Classes
  • Responses to Interview



  • Non Participant
  • Interview



Report Writing