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Question Asking in the Science Classroom: Teacher Attitudes and Practices

Abstract

"Despite the wide agreement among educators that classroom learning and teaching processes can gain much from student and teacher questions, their potential is not fully utilized. Adopting the view that reporting both teachers' (of varying age groups) views and actual classroom practices is necessary for obtaining a more complete view of the phenomena at hand, the present study closely examines both cognitive and affective domains of: (a) teachers' views (via interviews) concerning: (1) importance and roles of teacher and student questions, (2) teacher responses, and (3) planning and teacher training; and (b) teachers' actual practices (via classroom observations) concerning: (1) number and (2) level of teacher and student questions, as well as (3) teachers' responses to questions. The data were collected from 3 elementary, 3 middle, and 3 high school science teachers and their respective classroom students. The findings lay out a wide view of classroom questioning and teachers' responses, and relate what actually occurs in classes to teachers' stated views. Some of the study's main conclusions are that a gap exists between how science researchers and teachers view the role of teacher questions: the former highlight the cognitive domain, while the latter emphasize the affective domain."

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