Classroom questioning is the core of the EFL classroom teaching. It is also an important mode of classroom teaching. At present, English classroom questioning suggested in the interaction between teachers and students, encouraging students to participate in class activities actively. In the current English classroom teaching, classroom questioning still has many problems. Such as the problem is that too easy or too difficult, ignoring the students of low grade. It leads to the classroom teaching efficiency not so high and students’ achievement rough parity. According to the problems existing in the English classroom questioning, the thesis brings forward the proper strategies which require teachers in teaching should pay attention to the development of students' thinking ability and the preparing before class, and advocates that on the basis of knowledge, students explore some valuable problems in cooperation to make every student has the opportunity to participate in class. It can promote classroom teaching problem solving. And it is an effective way to make the students' innovative thinking.Introduction
Teachers’ questioning is an important means in EFL classroom teaching. It plays a very significant role in the popular teaching mode. It is the basis of classroom interaction and teachers should grope for a long time to master it. It is both an important part of classroom teaching and an effective way of learning second language. Teachers' questioning is a very important factor of EFL classroom teaching. In second language classrooms, where learners often don’t have a great number of tools, teachers’ questions provide necessary stepping stones to communication. Questions can not only involve students into communication, but also encourage students to mend their language. It is important to provide English teachers with some useful suggestions to strengthen the way of questioning. Effective English teaching needs proper classroom questioning. Therefore, improving English teachers’ ways of classroom questioning is the need of English teachers’ professional development and the requirement of new curriculum reform.
In recent years, a lot of researchers have already reached an agreement that the classroom is a valuable place to look at, for the classroom is a very important platform for second and foreign language students. As an important part of the English classroom, questioning plays an important role to rich the class environment and to organize the courses.
I. The Necessity of EFL Classroom Questioning
Questioning is regarded as one of the most important and basic teaching techniques. In fact classroom questions are recommendations of teaching. Questioning is a relatively complicated teaching skill of all the teaching technique. Questioning is closely related to teaching. A lot of scholars at home and abroad have made research on the definition of class questioning. They found that questioning is one of the most necessary factors in EFL classroom. Study shows that each teacher needs questions to manage her or his class. Some teachers use more than half of the class time to exchange questions and answers in some EFL classrooms. They think communication is more important than teaching only. And they can find how the students master and understand about the lesson through the questioning. In classroom settings, teacher questioning is defined as instructional methods, that convey to students the content to be learned and guidance for what they are to do, and how they are to do it. Questioning is an important aid that can set a good lesson, and the teacher's questioning techniques can determine the success of students in answering the questions.
1.1 The Reasons for Classroom Questioning
At present in China, most students learn English from their school English teachers in EFL classrooms. So in EFL classroom, the importance of classroom interaction is teachers and students themselves. And asking good questions cultivates interaction between teachers and their students. Teachers must be sure that they have a clear purpose for their questions rather than just determining what knowledge is known. If a teacher does not ask questions in the class, he or she will not really master the students’ real ability. You do not know that if the lesson you had yesterday is understood by them.
“Learning is an outgrowth of the questions that students are asked and the better a teacher’s questions, the better a teacher’s teaching and a class’s learning” (Dillon, 1988: ix).Teachers know that classroom questioning is one of the most powerful and familiar tools. Teacher questioning can be provided with a series of reasons. It can develop students’ interest and help students to be actively participate in classes, foreknowledge students’ preparation, check on their homework, review and summarize the previous lessons, and manage the classroom. It can create situation, get through students’ channel and offer space for thinking. When the teacher set a suspension, arouse thinking and enlighten the minds of students, their mind will be actively and positively in the process of exploration. And at the same time, if the teacher can add some students’ questioning, it can motivate students’ questioning and answering or even the teachers own questioning and answering, it can motivate students’ active thinking. The effect will be better than the teacher’s general statement.
1.2 The Role of Classroom Questioning
Questioning is defined as one of the most effective teaching methods. Classroom questioning can inspire students' thinking. It can give full play to the role of the teacher's leading. English teaching starts from the questions and develops with more questions. So, it is not only a kind of important teaching skills, but also the important way to train student's innovation ability.
In China, language environment is limited for English learners, especially for students of middle school; teachers’ language is the most important channel for English learners. The school classrooms become the only place to use English for English learners. It can evaluate students’ preparation and check on their homework or seatwork completion; it can develop students’ critical thinking skills and inquiring attitudes; it can train students’ insights; it can evaluate achievement of instructional goals and objectives; it can encourage students to study independently; it can consolidate a fact. Questioning is regarded as an important process which aims to involve students in the EFL classroom and educe thoughtful answers. Because of the role, questioning is helpful for English teachers to find effective ways to improve the use of questions, and it is also very important for us to conduct research into this phenomenon.
No matter what subjects you have, questioning is still one of the necessary factors in the classroom. And English as a foreign language to learn in China, questioning is more important than others. In order to answer the teacher’s questions accurately, students have to focus their attention, quicken their mind, fast process information and active explore the answers to the questions. The teacher can finally achieve his goal of arouse interest in English learning.
II．The Current Situation of EFL Classroom Questioning
Questioning is an important part for teachers-students and students-students to communicate. And it is even the core of effective teaching. When students join the teachers’ questioning, teachers must give feedback in time, and the feedback must be based on the positive rules. However, there are a lot of problems in English classroom questioning. For example teachers used to use Chinese to ask questions so that students can easily know the meaning. But it is not a good way to practice students’ listening and English thinking. And some teachers because of lacking of preparing before the class, the questions he or she asks are just some simple ones. This kind of questions is not in favor of students recalling the knowledge they learned yesterday. Both teachers and students are muddled through their work on the questioning and answering. Lacking of feedback from teachers is another situation. No matter the answer given by the student is right or wrong, teachers should give feedback on time. If he or she is right, giving he or she some praising. And if wrong, giving some encouragement, and correct the answer. Regarding questioning as a kind of punishment is not a good manner for a teacher and ignoring the low score students can not show the fairness of a teacher.
2.1 Common Question in Chinese
Chinese is the mother tongue for the English learners in China. And the thinking style of the students is Chinese, too. However, some English teachers used to use Chinese to ask questions. It makes students ' thinking confine to Chinese thinking. That is both not conducive to broaden students' thinking in English culture and not practice English speaking and listening in English class. At present, most of the English learners are not satisfied with the English education they are receiving from their own school English teachers. As an important teaching method of EFL classroom interaction, teacher questioning is a part they are complaining about. Studies of teacher questioning in EFL classroom will meet the learners’ requests in a way. Chinese exam-oriented education make teachers and parents only care about the score, but English speaking and listening is an important way to communicate with others. China is connecting to the whole world, the English scores are important, but mastering real English skills is necessary.
English as a foreign language in Chinese classroom is not only a course, but also shows a kind of children’s interest. In China, students have so many subjects to learn. After listening Chinese for several lessons，input some English is good and flesh for students. But English teachers still talking about English in Chinese, they will feel boring and not active in this kind of class. It will influence the students’ scores which Chinese teachers most worried.
2.2 Too Many Simple Questions
Many teachers raise single type of problem, and did not serious prepare questions before class. The answers often simply select in "Yes", or "No", "Right", or "Wrong", "True" or "False" and other positive or negative answers. For example:
—Am I right?
This question is not really touched deep intellectual activities and meaningless for students. Teachers should ask more questions like “what”, “why” and “how”. And for students to broaden their horizons, innovative and divergent their thinking is very disadvantageous. The students who have low grades like display question while students who have better grades prefer challenging questions. Sometimes students can guess what kind of answer the teacher want to get the teacher’s positive evaluation instead of thinking actively to find out what kind of answer is correct and proper. Even if in Chinese class students also would not like to listen to teachers’ meaningless words. However, English is a fresh thing to them. Answering questions is helpful for students’ comprehensive growth. Teachers should apply more chances for them to divergent thinking. A good teacher can create different questions for different students rather than muddle through his or her work. Simple questions is lack of challenge and meaningless for some high score students.
2.3Lack of Feedback from Teacher
This is a common phenomenon in English classroom questioning—for the student's answer, the teacher’s evaluation is too simple. Correcting mistakes and guiding the students in right direction is teachers’ responsibility. Teacher’s feedback is an important part of the students' language input. Feedback can be divided into two kinds which are positive feedback and negative feedback. Positive feedback certainly plays guidance and promoting role to students. However, improper feedback, will hit students’ enthusiasm, confidence and motivation in learning English. Through classroom questioning, teachers can realize the students’ comprehension level to learned knowledge, check the students’ weakness of the knowledge chain and then analyze the causes of making mistakes. Finally, teachers can adjust the subsequent teaching arrangement according to the information of feedback. It is the duty for a teacher to solve the questions for students. If the answer given is right, the teacher should say some praising words like “good job”, “excellent” and “well done”. However, the teacher should correct the answer and say some encouraging words like “Thank you all the same” and so on if the answer given is wrong. After questioning and answering, the teacher should sum up the answers to students so that making each student get enough feedback from English teachers. Because of lacking of feedback from teacher, students will not really understand the standard meaning. If a teacher wants his or her students absorb most of the lesson, he or she should give feedback and solve the problem rising by the students in time.
2.4 A Kind of Punishment for Students
The attitude of a teacher’s questions has a great influence on the enthusiasm of students to answer the question. Teachers’ attitude should be kind. A kind, gentle, and warm teacher is very popular to students. “A strict teacher produces outstanding students” is a truth, but strict is not equal to punishment. And sometimes it will arouse students’ treason. Teachers should not regard the question as a kind of punishment for students. The purpose of questioning is recall or practices the knowledge, but not a way to prevent halfheartedness. Most students are generally in fear of teacher questioning. It will increase the students' psychological burden if the questions are full of blame and threat. And it is also affect the EFL classroom atmosphere and the students’ enthusiasm. Some naughty students will hate the teacher and will give the teacher a nickname. It is harmful to teachers’ dignity. Teachers should know how to make students like them and like the atmosphere in their class. They can always say some words like “well done”, “excellent”, “good job” and so on to praise the students who responded. The students also need time to develop their skills of discourse, to develop confidence in their abilities to learn in this way and to perceive that this is an interesting way to learn.
2.5 Ignoring Low-score Students
Fairness refers to teacher questioning should face all the students and make every student has the opportunity to be questioned or take part in the classroom questioning. It is very important for students to obey the principle of fairness. That is because answering questions is helpful for students’ comprehensive growth. No matter he or she is a high-score student or a low-score student, answering questions is in favor of the formation of self-confidence. Each mother thinks her children are the best, and each teacher also would think his or her students are best. Most of the teachers are often think they fairly treat students. A nice teacher can help low-score students learn hard and improve the scores rather than ignoring them and only care about high-score ones. But the survey found that the number of good grades students questioned more than students with poor grades. Some teachers like to ask more questions of high scores than low scores. And some teachers’ questions are mainly focused on talkative students or the students sitting in the front row, which can not do for all students. In fact, every student in the class is equal. They should enjoy equal rights and opportunities to participate in classroom life. And teachers should also ensure that every student has this kind of rights and opportunities. But students of this right and the opportunity have not been real protection in the actual teaching process. This phenomenon we can find from the classroom situation.