Questioning in Classrooms: A Sociolinguistic Perspective

William S. Carlsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


This article reviews research on classroom questioning. Analysis focuses on three characteristics of questions: context, content, and responses and reactions by speakers. Studies originating in the process-product and sociolinguistic paradigms are discussed separately, but findings from both research traditions are interpreted from a sociolinguistic perspective. The review argues that research on questioning must acknowledge that the meaning of questions is dependent on their context in discourse, that the content of questions cannot be ignored, and that questions may reflect and sustain status differences in the classroom. Research on questioning has generally failed to recognize that classroom questions are not simply teacher behaviors but mutual constructions of teachers and students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-178
Number of pages22
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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