Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Questions Teachers Ask: An Exploratory Study of Teachers’ Approach to Questioning in the Primary and Secondary Classroom
Stephen Joseph, Ph.D.

This quantitative study investigated teacher questioning patterns and behaviours at the primary and secondary levels of the education system. One hundred and fifty-seven (157) teachers were randomly drawn from Infants to Standard 5 classes in the primary school system and Forms 1to 6 in secondary schools of Trinidad. One-way ANOVA and t-tests were used to analyze teacher responses to thirty (30) questions on a 5-point Likert-type scale. These tests were done on the basis of a probability of error threshold of 1 in 20, or p< .05.Cronbach’s alpha was used to measure internal consistency or reliability for 25 items used in the Likert scale. The result was .853, which indicates a high level of internal consistency. Findings of the study revealed that despite their reported high levels of confidence in asking both convergent and divergent questions, teachers who operate in high-stakes examination classes tend to ask low-level cognitive questions that require factual information rather than higher-order questions that stimulate lively classroom discussion. The study also showed some disconnect between teachers’ reported high levels of confidence in asking divergent questions and their ability to provide satisfactory written samples of critical thinking questions.

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