March Paragraph Diary 5

Question X

“Why are you 39 years old?” “Why are you tall?” “How come you don’t have a car?” “Why can you play music?” and “When you poop, does it stink?”. These are four questions Kenneth, our friends’ 4 year-old son asked me yesterday (the fifth in Thai, after he called me ‘so silly!’ for being able to speak Thai at all). The questions of children have a special quality. They are equal parts ridiculous and profound. I think questions we post to learners can be similar. We might ask questions to engage and focus learners, activate schema, check understanding, seek authentic opinions, or any number of other things. To the outside observer, these questions may sometimes appear like those of a child: a bit naive, somewhat beside the point, or a little direct, a bit abrupt. But in the context of instructional conversation, questions can perform multiple functions and like children we are usually “up to something”. It’s rarely only about asking question X to collect answer Y, is it. This rather quirky site lays out 17 types of questions and I like some of the fresh descriptions.


4 thoughts on “March Paragraph Diary 5

  1. Love the post, Sandy. I also often start out by having students formulate questions to ask me. In addition to all the affordances you mention in your post, it does the job of reminding me that I, the teacher, *can* be an appropriate object of attention in class (as long as its purposeful). This is despite the insinuation of EFL tropes that may suggest otherwise. I think as a younger teacher I might have gasped. So “teacher-centered!”. Little did I know.


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