Glossary

A commonly employed prompt to elicit language use. A key element of scaffolding to support learners’ use of language and to encourage further contributions. Different types of questions provide different prompts:

  • closed questions are questions for which there are predictable answers. For example, What time is it? These are typically used as prompts for short answers, as a framework for testing comprehension or reviewing facts, and for routinized interactions. They are frequently used to scaffold early language development.
  • open questions are questions with unknown and unpredictable answers that invite and support more elaborated and extended contributions from learners. For example, How do you feel about that?What do you think might happen next? They are used as stimulus to discussion, reflection and investigation.

Questions are an important element of intercultural language teaching and learning. The quality of questions determines the quality and substance of the learning experience. Effective questions relating to the nature of language, culture and identity and the processes involved in language learning and intercultural experience guide the processes of investigating, interpreting and reflecting which support new understanding and knowledge development.