The effects of reducing teacher questions and increasing pauses on child talk during morning news

Elizabeth Orsborn, Helen Patrick, Robyn S. Dixon, Dennis W. Moore

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The effects of reducing teacher questions and increasing pauses on student talk during morning news sessions were investigated. The length of student discourse was observed during random 10-min samples of the lesson, together with frequency counts of teacher questions and pauses. Concomitant measures of teacher praise, directives, control statements and student call-outs were also obtained. Within the constraints of a within-subjects reversal design (ABAB), experimentally reducing teacher questions and replacing these with pauses and/or topic-related statements was associated with an increase in child discourse. Teacher praise and directives did not systematically alter across experimental phases but both teacher control statements and child call-outs reduced during the intervention phases. Reducing teacher questions and increasing the use of pauses by the teacher was associated with increases in student discourse without adversely affecting classroom behavior. These results support the hypothesis that teacher questions foil pupil talk in morning news thereby obstructing the pedagogical value of these sessions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • directives
  • pauses
  • praise
  • student discourse
  • teacher questions

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