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Patrícia Albergaria-Almeida
Newspaper / Magazine article
Researchers, Teachers
3 – 10 pages
In this work both teacher’s and student’s role in classroom questioning was examined, as well as the relationship between the questioning patterns and the teaching strategies. The study was conducted by three secondary school teachers dealing with three different disciplines (philosophy, portuguese (native language) and chemistry).
According to the used methodology, each teacher has audio-recorded a 45 minutes class that was further transcribed verbatim and analyzed. The total communication time was calculated as the sum of the individual oral contributions.
The overall results obtained in this study suggest:
- Diverse questioning patterns for the involved teachers, as well as for their students. Teachers have also adopted distinct teaching strategies.
- For all the disciplines, communication time was always superior for the teacher. This fact was more noticeable in chemistry class (83% versus 17%).
- The number of the teacher’s questions was always greater than the number of the student’s ones. In chemistry, a higher number of questions were made by the teacher in a short period of time.
- In chemistry, 75% of the student’s questions were not content-related, fact that was associated with group activities development during the target class. In opposition, teacher’s questions were most often content-related (78%).
- In terms of questions’ cognitive level, all chemistry teachers’ questions were acquisition questions. This fact requires reflection since open questions are recommended in order to produce deeper levels of learning.
- The chemistry teacher used a fact-based questioning strategy that does not encourage divergent thinking and does not enhance student’s question competence. However, questioning is considered fundamental to science and science inquiry.
- By comparison, the philosophy teacher asked fewer questions but more complex and promoted more interaction between teacher-student and student-student. This teaching strategy approaches the thinking-based questioning. The portuguese teacher was closer to the fact-based questioning strategy, asking mainly questions to stimulate facts resulting in a “right” or “wrong” feedback.
As referred by the author the study has a main drawback related to the chosen limited sample size, making generalizations quite difficult. Nevertheless, the treated subject (Questioning patterns and teaching strategies in secondary education) is of major importance and influences students’ engagement at the class, which in our opinion can promote motivation. It was put in evidence the distinct teaching strategies and patterns of questioning depending on the analyzed class (chemistry, philosophy and portuguese). Concerning this point, the chemistry teacher involved in the selected sample followed a fact-based questioning strategy. This is an interesting point of reflection since science and science enquiry are intimately related to an active questioning environment. Facing the obtained evidences it would be interesting to conduct the study with a larger sample, as was pointed out by the authors. To the best of our knowledge the upgraded study was not published yet.
Procedia Social and Behavioral Siences 2 (2010) 751-756 (
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.07.16

Posted by Veronika Popová (Czech Republic)

Message: As upper described the article brings results of a study conducted by three secondary school teachers teaching philosophy or Portuguese or chemistry. In the described study both teacher´s and student´s role in classroom questioning were examined as well as the relationship questioning patterns – teaching strategies.
The treated subject is of top importance for the project CIAA Network, because questioning patterns and well-chosen teaching strategy influences students´ engagement in the class (through stimulation of critical and creative thinking) and consequently can increase students´ motivation.
The used research method was an analyze of audio-record of 45 minute class. The method of the probe (rather than a research) is demanding and time consuming and the topics studied bring lot of ideas. Although the small sample of the probe (only 3 teachers and 3 classes with different disciplines) doesn´t allow any valid generalizations, it rise a lot of relevant questions, ideas and information that should be further studied in an extensive research. Even in the extent used, offer the results of the probe important inspiration for teachers of different subjects regardless of land. The study opens questions that should every good teacher keep in mind in order to develop critical and creative thinking by his/her students and consequently increase their motivation to learn.
Let us hope that there will soon occure researchers willing to further examine a relationship between questioning patterns and learning strategies in extensive research in order to bring valid generalizations applicable to the development of teaching methods (particularly in chemistry) that would help to increase students´ motivation.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Elena Ghibaudi (Italy)

Message: The paper shows the result of a study carried out on a portuguese secondary school classroom in three distinct disciplines (chemistry, philosophy and portuguese). The authors compare and discuss the modality of interaction between teacher and students in the above-mentioned disciplines through the analysis of the questioning patterns (i.e. communication time, number of question, types of questions). Although performed on a small sample (a single classroom) it aims at showing the possible impact of different teaching strategies on the questioning pattern.
The collected data show that the philosophy teaching – as compared to the other two disciplines - was characterized by the most active role of students, who spent significant amount of time in asking valuable questions, whereas the chemistry teaching was more based on the idea that learning occurs when the teacher asks questions and the students can answer them according to his expectations.
Two sentences – extracted from the paper – summarize the author’s message: “Learning does not occur until learners can raise their own questions” and “Teachers nurture the culture of the ‘right answer’ rather than discovering the ‘right question’”.

Based on their findings, the author suggests that divergent thinking and discussion are encouraged only by a thinking-based questioning approach. As a consequence, a crucial aspect of teaching is represented by the time spent by the teacher in stimulating and listening students’ questions. Evidently, not all kind of questions have the same value in the learning process: only those questions that require the reorganization of concepts into novel patterns and the hypothesis of new or different applications of principles are effective in the learning process.
The authors distinguish between acquisition questions (that deal with relatively straightforward ideas and generally have one correct or best answer), specialization questions (that go beyond a basic search of information as they require the use of previous knowledge, involving the establishment of relations and the understanding and interpretation of the meaning of related issues) and integration questions (the most valuable ones, that require reorganization of concepts into novel patterns and the hypothesis of new or different applications of principles. These questions are attempts to reconcile different understandings, resolve conflicts, test circumstances, etc.).
According to the authors, the pattern of questioning is related with the teaching strategies. These are classified as i) lecture-based, with little or no interaction between students and teacher; ii) fact-based questioning approach, that assigns a central role to the teacher; iii) thinking-based questioning approach that assigns the main role to the student, whereas the teacher becomes a kind of facilitator or mediator. It relies on the intellectual resources of students and allows their valorisation.
Although the study is performed on a small sample and it is not exclusively focused on chemistry, it proposes reflections that should be born in mind by chemistry teachers - at any school level - seeking for strategies apt to motivate their students.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.