THE ROLE OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
IN TEACHING ENGLISH TEXTS
and probing questions Provocative 引起争论议论、兴趣等探索性的
intensify the classroom learning，This makes formerly passive students into full participantswhile the probing aspect allows the instructor to ascertain the ；弄清
students' skill-level and proceed at a pace not beyond their ability，This article
introduces my method of college English text teaching by analyzing the present condition of English learning of Medical postgraduates，In my text teaching class, 1
put forward a lot of questions concerning the text; different questions at different stages of the text for students to answer；including pre-reading questions；
time-controlled comprehension questions；questions about words or sentences and
text analyzing questions，
In our university；the Postgraduate Department sets the required year-long English course；8 or 10 hours a week for the postgraduates；and they have to pass the
College English Test at Band 6，the most important national standardized English test for non-majors in China(for their Master's degree，Through one year's English study；
more than half can, pass the test；however, most just reached the passing mark；60.
They are fairly good in reading and writing；but their listening；and especially their
speaking skills are poor，
There are several reasons leading to this weakness：the students' poor English
foundation；too many students in one class, etc. But the most essential reason lies in the teacher's role. Traditional ELT in China is dominated by a teacher-centered；
examination-oriented；grammar and vocabulary-based method. Knowledge of English is transmitted through the teacher who acts as“an authority；a knowledge-giver and
moral example"，Cortazzi！Jin；1996(，The students are simply regarded as silent passive knowledge receiving boxes，
The cognitive psycholinguistic theory believes that a foreign language learner's competence in using the language is actually the combination of the learner's“receptive skills”，listening and reading(and“productive skills”，speaking and
writing(，Language acquisition is in fact a process in which“different language skills
are best assumed to develop simultaneously and to complement each other throughout the process" (Stern, 1983)，For language learners；to learn only the intricacies of the device without knowing how to put it to use is rather like learning about the delicate
mechanisms of a clock without knowing how to tell the time，Widdowson 990a：
95)，So；mastering a language needs learning with practice，grasping；consolidating
and using the language as a tool，
To train both the students' receptive skills and their productive skills；as far as my
text teaching goes；I put forward questions about the text to stimulate their thinking；
and give them opportunities to voice their thoughts；and so to improve their oral
communication competence.“The use of questions is an important part of teaching. Effective questioning is essential for conducting a variety of activities and tasks in the classroom." ，Montague；1987(，Rod Ellis' "study of teachers" questions shows
questioning is undoubtedly a kind of control under which the teacher can direct the class successfully. “Questions are also used to provide the opportunities for students' output and this‘pushed output’helps learners to reconstruct their inter-language …A
key issue；therefore；is‘how’a teacher's questions cater to such output …A teacher
can ask many different types of questions during classroom instruction. Different. types of questions may serve different functions”，Montague；1987(，We can utilize
certain types of questions at appropriate times，
1. Pre-reading Questions
Pre-reading questions introduce the text，They pertain not only to the text's
content or key words but also to the students and their opinions concerning the text. "Your Key to A Better Life" in Book V of College English exemplifies pre-reading questions：
1(Have you ever doubted your ability to do something well?
2(Did you ever fail? In what aspect?
3(What do you think about the failure?
4) Did the failure help you succeed or make you lose heart?
5) Are you too modest；or do you underestimate your ability?
6) What's your own opinion of yourself?
Getting students to state their beliefs and opinions is essential for effective discussions；because questions that allow several possible correct answers may help foster more willingness and ability to respond. In the course of this part；students are
usually excited and interested in the questions；thus their desire to read the text is
2. Time-Controlled Comprehension Questions
Comprehension questions train students' reading speed and comprehension ability；
i. e. to get the most information in the shortest possible time，The questions to be
chosen should not be too difficult to answer；and follow the students' preparation of
the new words but before the text explanation. For example；the questions in
paragraph one in "Your Key to A Better Life" include the following：
1(What is the most important psychological discovery of this century according to
2(What does the author mean by“self-image”~
3(From what has the self-image been built up?
4) From what have the beliefs about ourselves been formed?
I do such exercises；because；supervised；time-controlled and checked by the
teacher；the students read attentively；and under this pressure；work faster and better，
3. Questions about Words or Sentences during the Text Explanation
Questions about words or sentences should train students' ability to compose sentences by using the newly-learned words or phrases；analyzing the grammatical
structure of some complex sentences and paraphrasing or translating the difficult ones.
Here are some examples：
1(Can you make a sentence with the phrase.
2(Please analyze the grammatical structure in this long sentence，Who would like
3(Who can paraphrase this sentence?
4) Who can translate this sentence into Chinese?
(Why is the word or phrase italicized? 5
6) Why does the author use quotation marks for this word? 4. Text Analyzing Questions
Text Analyzing Questions help students understand the text more deeply and really
grasp something new：
1(What's the main idea of this paragraph?
2(What are the transitional words in the paragraph? 3(What's the function of this short paragraph here? 4(Can you guess what the author will talk about in the next or the following
(How does the article end? or In what way does the article end? 5
6(What's the theme of this article?
7(What's the author's writing style?
(What's the intention or purpose of the author? 8
9(Do you agree with the author? If not；why?
10(What have you learned from the article?
Through the discussion of this part；the students usually have a better and deeper understanding of the arrangement of ideas；the structure；the logical relationship and the theme of the article；etc，Thus；we avoid“only seeing the trees but not the forest"，Just as a student said；“We have learned not only the usage of language but the content or thought the language tries to convey.”On the other hand；text analysis
shows the students how to write；thus improves their writing ability，
Through one year's English learning；guided by the questions throughout my text teaching process；the students made great progress in English learning in the following aspects：
1. Students' interest in English learning has been aroused：their passive learning has changed into active learning：they hold meetings to discuss how to learn English well；they take part in English corners or foreign experts medicine symposiums；they
also organize English parties；etc，
2. Students' English thinking habit has been trained：most of them can prepare answers faster than before；actually thinking in English；not Chinese.
3. Students' speaking has been improved：most can express themselves better than before；some can even speak very well，
4. Students' ability of reading comprehension has improved：most have become
efficient readers；reading China Daily or 21st Century every day，
5. Students' writing ability has also been enhanced：most of them can express
themselves clearly and organize the passage logically.
Questions are designed depending on the text: they are changed according to the content of the article. But bare in mind the following：
1) Pre-reading questions and text analyzing questions are often discussed in groups and should be checked，
(Asking a question；pausing；calling on a student by name to respond is usually 2
preferred for stimulating the whole class to think about the question before a certain student is asked.
3(If the question is a little difficult；you should give some hints to avoid the
4) If the student's answer is wrong；don't say so quickly lest the student's
self-esteem be knocked. Just clearly provide the correct answer.
5) Note down how often the students volunteer. Encourage them to answer more questions actively.
6) Students should ask questions about anything they don't understand.
7) Emphasize using target language in class and forming an "English only" atmosphere.
8) The homework is mainly reading and writing to compensate for the limited work in class.
In conclusion；to put forward questions for the students to answer is helpful for their English learning in four aspects: First, questions can stimulate students to think；
and their thinking ability can be developed. Second；by answering questions；students
can have opportunities to practice speaking and their communicative competence can be improved，Third；by answering questions；students can strengthen their productive
or output skills and their receptive knowledge can be consolidated. Last；questions are
used to train students' ability of reading comprehension and by using questions；
students' language communicative competence of analyzing；concluding and
reasoning is sure to be cultivated.
Ellis, R. 1994；The Study of Second Language Acquisition，Oxford：Oxford
Montague；Earl J，1987；Fundamentals of Secondary Classroom Instruction. Merrill
Wen Qiufang. 1999；“Spoken English Teaching and the Training of Thinking
Ability'；Foreign Language Teaching Abroad. Hua Dong Normal University
Widdowson, H. G. 1990；Aspects of Language Teaching，Oxford：Oxford University
Zhai Xiangjun. 1998；College English；Hook V，Shanghai Foreign Language
Zhang Zhenbang，1992；New English Grammar Course，Shanghai Foreign Language