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The Effects of Referential Questions on ESL Classroom Discourses

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Title:The Effects of Referential Questions on ESL Classroom Discourses
Authors:Brock, Cynthia A.
Contributors:University of Hawaii at Manoa. Department of English as a Second Language. (department)
Keywords:referential process
esl instruction
esl reading
first language
second language
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Date Issued:1985
Abstract:Long and Sato (1983), in an examination of ESL teachers' questions in the classroom, found that teachers ask significatly more display questions, which request information already known by the questioner, than referential questions, which reuqest information not known by the questioner. The main purpose of the present study was to test for some possible effects on adult ESL classroom discourse of higher frequencies of referential questions. Foir experienced ESL teachers and 24 non-native speakers (NNSs) enrolled in the University of Hawaii's English Language Institute participated in this experimental study. Two of the teachers were provided with training in referential questions; the other two teachers formed a control group not provided with training. All four teachers taught the same reading and vocabulary lesson to one group each of six NNSs. It was hypothesized, on the basis of first language classroom research on attempts to increase the cognitive level of teachers' questions, that teachers could, with training, increase their use of referential questions. It was further hypothesized, on the basis of first language classroom research on the effect on student reponses of higher cognitive questions, that NNSs' responses to referential questions would be longer and more syntactically complex than their responses to display questions. The above hypotheses were supported by the results obtained. Not supported by the data were hypotheses predicting greater numbers of confirmation checks and clarification requests accompanying greater number of questions.
Pages/Duration:87 pages
Appears in Collections: Occasional Papers

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