“Do You Understand?”: An Analysis of Native and Non-native EFL Teachers’ Questioning Patterns at a Taiwanese Cram School

| December 1, 2012
“Do You Understand?”: An Analysis of Native and Non-native EFL Teachers’ Questioning Patterns at a Taiwanese Cram School

Keywords: questioning, discourse analysis, native and non-native EFL teachers, cram school, classroom interaction

Shin-Mei Kao and Wang-Chi Weng
Yunnan Nationalities University, China

Bio Data
Shin-Mei Kao has been teaching English to Taiwanese undergraduate and graduate students at the Foreign Languages & Literature Department, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, since 1996. Her research interests include classroom interaction, cross-cultural communication, discourse analysis, and multilingualism.

Wang-Chi Weng graduated from the linguistics section of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, with a Master’s degree in 2009. Her research interests were classroom discourse and teacher-student interaction. She is currently working for a technology company in Taiwan.

A number of young Taiwanese students take extra English lessons at cram schools where classes are taught in English by native speakers of English; however, not much has been studied in such settings in previous literature. This study investigated questioning patterns of four cram school teachers, two native and two non-native speakers of English, with high- and a low-level classes of young learners. Eight types of questions used by the teachers and students were identified from 12 video- and audio-recorded lessons. Questioning patterns were analyzed and compared in terms of the teacher’s language background and the students’ proficiency levels. The study found that the class level, but not the teacher’s language background, influenced how the teachers formed questions. The teachers with high-level students used more communicative question types, while the teachers with low-level students preferred instructional questions. In addition, it was found that using the target language as the sole medium in the classroom did not guarantee a communicative learning environment. When instructional questions dominated the classroom discourse, the students became passive in the interaction. The study suggests that EFL teachers should monitor the functions and effects of their questioning techniques so as to facilitate genuine interaction, even with low-level EFL learners.
[private] See page: 39-68

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 14 Issue 4