Display questions in expert teachers’ EFL classes

Czech Republic, ID LLCE2015-117

Research shows that teachers’ display questions (i.e. questions that typically have only one correct answer, which the teacher already knows at the time of asking) comprise a substantial proportion of teacher talk. Relatedly, display questions are often considered less communicative, non-natural and a resource of teachers’ power. However, from the perspective of institutional talk, they reflect the natural asymmetry inherent to the institutional goals. This claim is supported by presenting selected outcomes of conversation analysis conducted on 13 lessons taught by 13 expert teachers. Special attention is paid to justifying the role of display questions in EFL classroom interaction.

Keywords: classroom interaction, teacher talk, English as a foreign language (EFL), display questions, institutional talk, conversation analysis

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