Teacher questions in second language classrooms: An investigation of three case studies

Chi Cheung Ruby YANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study investigates the types of questions asked by three NNS pre-service English teachers teaching in three different bands of secondary schools during the whole class teaching portion of their lessons through analyzing the transcripts of their videotaped lessons. A special emphasis is put on exploring the effects of the types of questions teachers ask on the students’ discourse patterns. Similar to the results of previous research, the findings of this study show that in all the three lessons, yes/no questions, and closed and display questions were frequently asked by the teachers, while open and referential questions were rarely or even never asked. However, the referential questions themselves will not make students produce longer responses unless the teachers are able to encourage their students to elaborate further rather than just accepting those brief and syntactically less complex responses. The implications of this study are that pre-service teachers should be provided with more training in developing their questioning techniques. Also, to facilitate second language development and bring about more dialogic forms of whole class teaching, students could be asked to expand their thinking, justify or clarify their opinions in the follow-up moves. Copyright © 2010 Asian EFL Journal. The journal web site is available at http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-201
JournalAsian EFL Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010



Yang, C. C. R. (2010). Teacher questions in second language classrooms: An investigation of three case studies. Asian EFL Journal, 12(1), 181-201.


  • Teacher questions
  • Whole class teaching
  • Yes/No questions
  • Closed and display questions
  • Open and referential questions