AN INVESTIGATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF TEACHERS’ CLASSROOM QUESTIONS ON THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF STUDENTS IN MATHEMATICS; IN SOME SELECTED JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KADUNA NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF KADUNA STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
One of the major duties of mathematics classroom teacher is to promote thought and inspire inquiry in students and one effective way of doing this is through proper questioning in the classroom. Caram and Davis (2005) emphasized that when teachers’ questions are used correctly, it can enhance students learning by developing critical thinking skills reinforce student understanding correct students misunderstanding, provide feedback for students and enliven classroom discussions. Teachers’ questions are significant values for many instructional purposes eliciting student reflection and challenging deeper student understanding and engagement in the classroom.
According to Croom and Stair (2005) stated that “Classroom questions are best used as diagnostic tools to help indicate student’s academic progress or to assess students critical thinking”. This was supported by Vogler (2005), “questions can monitor comprehension, help make connections to prior learning and can stimulate cognitive growth. Classroom teachers are aware that it is possible to transfer factual knowledge and conceptual understanding through the process of asking questions.
Danielson (1996), “good and skilled classroom questions, when they are carefully crfted and framed engages students in a true exploration of the content and allows the students to exhibit their understanding of the concept”, where as, unskilled classroom questions from the teachers focus on short-answer, low-level questions which just check for students knowledge. Danielson (1996) called theses types of questions as “recitation questions” rather than “indepth discussion questions”. The unskilled classroom questions from the teachers are poor questions, boring, comprehensive to only a few students, narrow and the teacher has a single answer in mind, even when choices are possible.
Unfortunately, although the act of asking questions has the potential to greatly facilitate or influence learning process it may also have the capacity to turn a child off learning if not done properly in the mathematics classroom. for proper teaching to take place in the classroom, a teacher should be able to pose good questions to the students and asking good questions fosters interaction between the teacher and the learners. The teachers good use of classroom questions are designed to develop the cognitive skills of students, facilitate learning and promote reasoning skills of the students in mathematics.
Teachers classroom questions serve many purposes, such as: provoking students and making them listen carefully, analyzing their thoughts and thinking critically, and initiating discussion and reviewing material. The importance of teachers’ classroom questions cannot be underestimated and according to Kawanaka and Stigler (1999), teachers’ classroom questions guide students to discuss problems and derive mathematical concept and procedures thereby functioning to guide students to use mathematical concepts and procedures to solve problems. In mathematics classroom, teachers’ questions are vital components of proper understanding of concepts which is an effective way of learning.
Questioning has been for thousands of years, one of the most popular modes of teaching (Tan, 2007) and research attention has been paid to teacher question (Guan Ery Ho, 2005). According to Ornstein and Lasley (2000P. 184, cited in Bonne and Pritchard, 2007) good questioning is both a methodology and an art. Therefore, is used well it can make a significant contribution to improve teaching and learning. By this study, it is thought that to determine pre-service teachers thought on teacher questioning in effective teaching process can make a contribution to the research educators and teachers education programs.
Teachers questions give the children the opportunity to connect what they know with they needed to examine and reflect on in their own thinking (Fisher, 1995 P. 76) some studies (e.g Durham, 1997) indicate that teachers also view questioning as a basic way to stimulate student thought and to guide the development of knowledge. However, according to McNamara (1994, P. 125) questions are also used to encourage children to express themselves orally. On the other hand, Capel, Leask and Turner (1996) state that teacher should consider questioning to motivate the students. Petty (1993) noted that questioning can also be used to evaluate the learning of students. According to Vogler (2004, 2005) asking questions can have a positive impact on student learning and most teachers are aware that verbal questioning can facilitate student learning. Researchers studying both traditional face to face classroom discourses pointed out that teachers’ questions can facilitate dialogic inquiry as stated by Groenke and Paulus (2007).
Danielson (1999, cited in Latham, 1997) noted that questioning is used not only for students’ assessment but also angages students in higher order thinking process and stimulate their curiosity. As Chin (2006) indicates that flexibility in questioning is needed, the teacher adjusts questioning to accommodate students contributions and responds to students’ thinking in a neutral rather than evaluative manner. Yang (2006. P. 196) stated that the teachers’ questions can be considered as the most powerful device to lead, extend and control communication in the classroom”.
Brown and Edmonson (cited in Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 1996, P. 229) listed some of the purposes in asking questions as follows: to arouse interest and curiosity concerning a topic, to focus attention on a particular issue or concept to develop an active approach to learning, to stimulate pupils to ask question themselves and others to diagnose specific difficulties inhibiting pupil learning, to express a genuine interest in the ideas and feeling of the pupils, to provide an opportunity for pupils to assimilate and reflect upon information. All these suggest that there are variety of purposes and reasons for asking questions in the classrooms by teachers.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
One major aspect of any successful teaching and learning processes in the mathematics classroom, is the interaction between the teacher and the learners, in order to have a good interaction in the classroom, teachers pose questions which should play a major role in the type of learning in mathematics classroom, because of the abstract nature of mathematics.
The problem of this study therefore is to carryout an investigation to find out the influence of the use of questioning techniques by teachers as it affects the achievement of learning outcomes in mathematics.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of teachers’ classroom questions on the achievements of students in mathematics.
The specific objectives of the study are as follows;
1. To find out the reasons why teachers use questioning techniques in teaching mathematics in the classroom.
2. To find out how students perceive the use of questioning techniques by their teachers in the classroom.
3. To find out how male students perceive the use of questioning techniques by their teachers in the classroom.
4. To find out how female students perceive the use of questioning techniques by their teachers in the classroom.
5. To find out which group of students are influence more through the use of teachers’ questioning techniques in teaching mathematics in the classroom.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the reasons for using questioning techniques by teachers in teaching mathematics in the classroom?
2. What is the extent to which students perceive the importance of using questioning techniques in the classroom by mathematics teachers?
3. How does male students perceive the use of questioning techniques in teaching mathematics in the classroom by teachers?
4. How does female students perceive the use of questioning techniques in teaching mathematics in the classroom by teachers?
5. Which group of students found to perceive the use of questioning techniques by teachers in the classroom more than the other?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The ultimate significant of asking a question is to have an answer. However, it is only a good question that will stimulate the expected answer. To achieve this, the teacher has to put in mind certain principles when asking questions;
a. The question must be clear, brief and direct. This must be in a straight, simple and clear language.
b. The question must be thought provoking. Good questions are those which encourage learners to apply the knowledge learned.
c. The questions must be at the level of the learners. It must be the type of the learners do understand and can attempt.
d. The question should be asked for the essential points
e. They should provide focus and direct attention to important aspects of the problem under investigation.
1.6 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study was designed to cover four schools in Kaduna North metropolis. Research sample where drawn from questioning technique on learners and teachers. Financial constraint was a problem since the cost of moving from one place to another was not easy as the researcher was not mobile to go round the schools. Time factor and the situation of the nation hindered the researcher to extending the research to cover all the schools in Kaduna North metropolis.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Questioning: This is the process in which a sequence of suitable questions are asked with the objective of leading the learners to draw a logical conclusion or generalization.
A Technique of Teaching: This refers to a method of manipulation in an art of teaching. That is an artistic execution of teaching.
Mathematics: mathematics is the science of quantity and space. “it is a systematized, organized and exact branch of science”. It is a creation of human mind, concerned primarily with ideas, processes and reasoning. Therefore, mathematics can be seen variously as a body of knowledge, a collection of techniques and methods, the product of human activity and even as the activity itself, namely, the solving of problems.
Achievement: This is a thing that somebody has done successfully, especially using their own effort and skill. The act of achieving or performing an obtaining by exertion, successful performance, accomplishment, as achievement of his/her object.