Advertisement

Instructional Science

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 857–874 | Cite as

Teacher question and student response with regard to cognition and language use

  • Youngju Lee
  • Mable B. Kinzie
Article

Abstract

In the current study, we focus on teacher-student discourse in Pre-K science activities, with particular attention to teacher questioning. Videotaped classroom observations and teacher interviews served as the corpus of data. Overall, teachers asked mostly closed-ended questions, but used more open-ended questions when experiments were being conducted. During experiments, teachers’ questions were aimed at prediction and reasoning. In contrast, teachers used primarily closed-ended questions when science skills were being practiced and during science book readings, when their questions were oriented toward recognition and recall of factual information. The effects of the teachers’ questions can be seen in the students’ responses. When questions were open-ended, students employed a more varied vocabulary and more complex sentence structures. When teachers’ questions were oriented toward prediction and reasoning, students practiced these higher level cognitive skills in responding. Based on these findings, we provide recommendations for teaching practice in early childhood science education.

Keywords

Teacher questioning Question type Open-ended question Student response Pre-K science activity 

Notes

Acknowledgment

The work reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A07068 to the University of Virginia. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not reflect the positions or represent the view of the U.S. Department of Education. This paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of American Educational Research Association, Denver, CO, 2010.

References

  1. Anderson, J. R. (2004). Cognitive psychology and its implications (4th ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., & Bloom, B. S. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives (Completed ed.). New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  3. Atkinson, R. C., & Shiffrin, R. M. (1968). Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes. The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory, 2, 89–195.Google Scholar
  4. Bodrova, E., & Leong, D. J. (1998). Scaffolding emergent writing in the zone of proximal development. Literacy Teaching and Learning, 3(2), 1–18.Google Scholar
  5. Bransford, J., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (1999). How people learn. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  6. Broadbent, D. E. (1958). Perception and communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Carin, A. A., Bass, J. E., & Contant, T. L. (2005). Teaching science as inquiry (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Merrill/Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  8. Chin, C. (2006). Classroom interaction in science: Teacher questioning and feedback to students’ responses. International Journal of Science Education, 28(11), 1315–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Conezio, K., & French, L. (2002). Science in the preschool classroom. Young Children, 57(5), 12–18.Google Scholar
  10. de Rivera, C., Girolametto, L., Greenberg, J., & Weitzman, E. (2005). Children’s responses to educators’ questions in day care play groups. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(1), 14–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dillon, J. T. (1982). Cognitive correspondence between question/statement and response. American Educational Research Journal, 19, 540–551.Google Scholar
  12. Farrar, M. T. (1986). Teacher questions: The complexity of the cognitively simple. Instructional Science, 15(1), 89–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gagné, R. M. (1985). The conditions of learning and theory of instruction (4th ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  14. Gall, M. D. (1984). Synthesis of research on teachers. Educational Leadership, 42(3), 40–47.Google Scholar
  15. Galton, M., Hargreaves, L., Wall, D., & Comber, C. (1999). Inside the primary classroom: 20 years on (2nd ed.). Boston: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Girolametto, L., Hoaken, L., Weitzman, E., & Lieshout, R. (2000a). Patterns of adult-child linguistic interaction in integrated day care groups. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 31(2), 155–168.Google Scholar
  17. Girolametto, L., Weitzman, E., Lieshout, R., & Duff, D. (2000b). Directiveness in teachers’ language input to toddlers and preschoolers in day care. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 43(5), 1101–1114.Google Scholar
  18. Greenfield, D. B., Jirout, J., Dominguez, X., Greenberg, A., Maier, M., & Fuccillo, J. (2009). Science in the preschool classroom: A programmatic research agenda to improve science readiness. Early Education & Development, 20(2), 238–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hargreaves, D. H. (1984). Teachers’ questions: Open, closed and half-open. Educational Research, 26(1), 46–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harlan, J. D., & Rivkin, M. S. (2004). Science experiences for the early childhood years (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  21. Harlen, W. (1999). Effective teaching of science: A review of research. Edinburgh: Scottish Council for Research in Education.Google Scholar
  22. Harlen, W., & Qualter, A. (2004). The teaching of science in primary schools (4th ed.). London: David Fulton Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  24. Kinzie, M. B., Robert, C., Pianta, R. C., Kilday, C., McGuire, P., & Pinkham, A. M. (2009, March). Development of curricula, teacher supports and assessments for pre-kindergarten mathematics and science. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE), Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  25. Kontos, S., & Keyes, L. (1999). An ecobehavioral analysis of early childhood classrooms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 14(1), 35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koufetta-Menicou, C., & Scaife, J. (2000). Teachers’ questions—types and significance in science education. School Science Review, 81(296), 79–84.Google Scholar
  27. Martin, A. M., & Hand, B. (2009). Factors affecting the implementation of argument in the elementary science classroom. A longitudinal case study. Research in Science Education, 39(1), 17–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Massey, S. L., Pence, K. L., Justice, L. M., & Bowles, R. P. (2008). Educators’ use of cognitively challenging questions in economically disadvantaged preschool classroom contexts. Early Education and Development, 19(2), 340–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage PublicationsGoogle Scholar
  30. Mills, S. R., Rice, C. T., Berliner, D. C., & Rosseau, E. W. (1980). The correspondence between teacher questions and student answers in classroom discourse. The Journal of Experimental Educational, 48,194–204.Google Scholar
  31. Monk, M., & Osborne, J. (Eds.). (2000). Good practice in science teaching: What research has to say. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  32. O’Brien, M., & Bi, X. (1995). Language learning in context. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 15(2), 148–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ogu, U., & Schmidt, S. R. (2009). Investigating rocks and sand. Young Children, 64(1), 12–18.Google Scholar
  34. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  35. Peterson, C., Jesso, B., & McCabe, A. (1999). Encouraging narratives in preschoolers: An intervention study. Journal of Child Language, 26(01), 49–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Turnbull, K. P., Anthony, A. B., Justice, L., & Bowles, R. (2009). Preschoolers’ exposure to language stimulation in classrooms serving at-risk children: The contribution of group size and activity context. Early Education and Development, 20(1), 53–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. van de Pol, J., Volman, M., & Beishuizen, J. (2010). Scaffolding in teacher–student interaction: A decade of research. Educational Psychology Review, 22, 271–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. van Kleeck, A., Gillam, R. B., Hamilton, L., & McGrath, C. (1997). The relationship between middle-class parents’ book-sharing discussion and their preschoolers’ abstract language development. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 40(6), 1261–1271.Google Scholar
  39. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Walsh, J. A., & Sattes, B. D. (2005). Quality questioning: Research-based practice to engage every learner. London: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  41. Wasik, B. A., Bond, M. A., & Hindman, A. (2006). The effects of a language and literacy intervention on head start children and teachers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 63–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Whitehurst, G. J., Arnold, D. S., Epstein, J. N., Angell, A. L., Smith, M., & Fischel, J. E. (1994). A picture book reading intervention in day care and home for children from low-income families. Developmental Psychology, 30(5), 679–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wittmer, D. S., & Honig, A. S. (1991). Convergent or divergent? Teacher questions to three-year-old children in day care. Early Child Development and Care, 68(1), 141–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(2), 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wragg, E. C., & Brown, G. (2001). Questioning in the primary school. London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  46. Zucker, T. A., Justice, L. M., Piasta, S. B., & Kaderavek, J. N. (2010). Preschool teachers’ literal and inferential questions and children’s responses during whole-class shared reading. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25, 65–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.SeoulKorea

Personalised recommendations