University of Exeter
Language and Education
This paper draws on observation data from 54 teaching episodes in year 2 and year 6 whole class teaching. It describes the findings of the analysis and illustrates how ‘interactive’, whole-class teaching is characterised by questions requiring predetermined answers. Speculative questions, which invite opinions, hypotheses and imaginings, or process questions, which invite children to articulate their understanding occupy little of the classroom talk arena. Despite national initiatives to develop greater use of whole class teaching with higher levels of interactivity, teachers use questioning to maintain control and to support their teaching, rather than pupil learning. The paper raises important issues about the nature of interactivity in whole class teaching and about the role questions play in supporting and extending pupils’ learning experiences.
Language and Education, Volume 19, Issue 5 September 2005 , pages 415-427