• A case study to critically explore one tutor's use of questions to promote interactive teaching on a PGCE programme

      Rush, Linda; Roberts, Joy (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2005-12)
      Interactive teaching involves an increased interchange between teachers, students and the lecture content. The use of interactive teaching can promote active learning, heighten motivation, give feedback to teachers and students and increase satisfaction for both. Questioning is probably one of the most frequently used interactive teaching techniques used by teachers. The aim of this "small scale" research is to explore my use of questions as a means to develop a more interactive style of teaching on a one year programme of study. The Professional Development Education (PDE) course on the Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) Programme in the School of Education at the University of Chester has a prescribed curriculum content which has to be taught and assessed within this one year time frame. This case study is an attempt to explore the reasons for asking questions, to analyse the different types of questions asked and evaluate the ways of asking questions that promote active and reflective learning. It took the form of a questionnaire, a transcript of one hour's teaching on the PDE course and semi structured interviews with a group of the students. There are fifteen students on the PGCE programme and fourteen out of the fifteen students agreed to participate in the study. Fourteen questionnaires were completed and returned. The questions that were asked in an hour's teaching were taped and transcribed. On the same day that the teaching session was recorded I conducted seven individual semi-structured interviews with students. Relevant literature was reviewed focusing on the central theme of questioning. Research dating from the early twentieth century reveals that there are many ways to ask a question and some ways are more effective than others. Thinking about the types and levels of questions that can be asked or even preparing specific questions prior to a teaching session often leads to more effective classroom discussions. Although many studies have failed to find any relationship between the "level" of question and student achievement, many others have shown that students learn more in classrooms where teachers use a mix of analytical and evaluative questions than in those classrooms where teachers ask students mainly to recognise or recall facts. This case study focused on the following key questions: • Why ask questions? • What type of questions are most commonly asked? • How are questions asked? • What are the effects of a questioning approach to teaching on students' attitudes? The major findings to emerge from the case study were: • Students believed that a questioning approach to teaching encouraged interaction in the classroom • Findings from the questionnaire, the transcript and the semi-structured interviews showed that questions were a way of checking students' understanding and knowledge as well as sharing experiences. • Students believed that questions were used to extend their knowledge despite this not correlating with the transcript of the teaching session • Questions which were part of a sequence of four or more questions centred on a similar topic • Positive relationships between students and students and teacher were important factors when using a questioning approach to teaching. • That there is scope for further research on how students' answers are responded to by each other and the teacher. Recommendations based on the results of the research were made. Firstly, that there is a need to prepare fewer and better questions. These questions need to include those which require students to be more analytical and evaluative and which encourage students to question each others' answers as well as questioning the teacher. Secondly, how questions are distributed to the group and individuals needs to be considered more carefully by the teacher. Thirdly, more time for students to respond to questions before rephrasing the question or answering the question oneself needs to be given. Lastly that this research be seen as a starting point for future research by individuals and colleagues in the School of Education on how to improve questioning to develop a more interactive approach to teaching. The major conclusion from this case study is that I must be more aware of the reasons for asking the questions and the type of questions I am asking and develop my use of the effective questioning practices discussed.