Teachers’ questioning techniques employed in Japanese senior high school’s English class and the perceptions of three Japanese English teachers
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Today, English education in Japanese high schools is facing a major change. The Course of Study for English in senior high schools, which has emphasised the importance of developing students’ ‘communication abilities’ for past few decades, announced a new policy in 2009 suggesting that teachers primarily use the English language for teaching (this will be enforced in full as of the next academic year, in 2013). However, it is said that teachers are still relying on the traditional method in their classrooms, which employs a more teacher-centred, instruction-based approach, despite the need to apply a more student-centred, interaction-based approach. In this respect, although it is necessary for Japanese English teachers to adapt to teaching in English, ‘teachers’ questioning’, as one form of classroom interaction, is considered one way to make their classes more communicative. Hence, three English teachers in Japanese senior high schools were interviewed in order to explore their perceptions of the effectiveness of questioning techniques, using a sample lesson plan that included different types of questions. The interviews showed a gap between what teachers considered effective questions and what they actually asked in classrooms. Furthermore, the teachers revealed the existence of external factors that affected the questioning techniques they employed in their lessons.