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em Métodos de Ensino
Dr Jonathan Aliponga (National University of Singapore)
Ur (2002) cited various reasons why a teacher might ask a question in the classroom, namely:
- To provide a model for language or thinking;
- To find out something (e.g. facts, ideas, opinions) from the learners;
- To check or test understanding, knowledge or skill;
- To get learners to be active in their learning;
- To direct attention to the topic being learned;
- To inform the class via the answers of the stronger learners rather than through the teacher’s input;
- To provide weaker learners with an opportunity to participate;
- To stimulate thinking (i.e. logical, reflective or imaginative) and probe more deeply into issues;
- To get learners to view and practise previously learned material;
- To encourage self-expression; and
- To communicate to learners that the teacher is genuinely interested in what they think.
However, instead of the teacher formulating and asking the questions, learners should be given the duty of doing so, thereby promoting learner responsibility and autonomy. Encouraging learners to ask questions is a powerful learning tool because it allows students to become creative and innovative as well as enhances the learners’ sense of competence and self-worth (Brown, 2001). This consequently results in intrinsic motivation that is strongly related to achievement in learning as revealed through the studies conducted by Gardner & Lambert (1972) and Gardner (1980).
In order for the process of formulating and asking questions by the learners to achieve its desired goals, the following should be taken into consideration:
- Conduct training sessions: Given the reading text, learners should be taught how to come up with various questions types, from knowledge questions to evaluative questions.
- Employ cooperative learning: The process of cooperation is applied in editing each other’s work and sharing one’s output through asking questions. It maximises participation especially in a classroom with more than thirty learners. It also offers an embracing affective climate that increases motivation (Brown, 2001).
- Explain clearly the purpose of the task: Learners should be clearly aware why they are the ones formulating and asking the questions instead of the teacher. Knowing clearly what they are doing, learners appreciate the task and the processes involved. Thus, meaningful learning is achieved. Various studies have shown that meaningful learning results in long-term retention.
- Process the task: After group work, classroom sharing of what transpired in the group activity should be held to give learners feedback on their performance. Besides group work, it is here, too, where learning happens because correct and wrong answers are discussed with the guidance of the teacher.
- Monitor performance: As much as possible, the teacher should check each learner during group work. This will enable the teacher to gather information that can be used in the feedback session.
Brown, H.D. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. NY: Addison Wesley Longman.
Gardner, R. (1980). ‘On the Validity of Affective Variables in Second Language Acquisition: Conceptual, Contextual and Statistical Considerations’. Language Learning, 30: 255–270.
Gardner, R. & Lambert, W. (1972). Attitudes and Motivation in Second Language Learning. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.
Ur, P. (2002). A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.