The Role of Questions in the Science Classroom - how girls and boys respond to teachers’ questions

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

  • Nina Elisasson, DMA, Mid Sweden University, Härnösand, Sweden
  • ,
  • Karl-Göran Karlsson, Midsweden University, Sverige
  • Helene Sørensen

The purpose of this study was to explore (a) to what extent male and female science teachers pose different types of questions and (b) if the type of science question posed influences the extent to which boys or girls respond to them. Transcripts of the teacher–student interaction in a whole-class situation were analysed, with attention paid to interactions that involved science questions. Closed and open questions were used. Results revealed that the percentage of closed questions posed corresponded to 87%. Results show that teachers mainly use closed questions, and responses from boys to closed questions are in the majority regardless of if the question is posed by a female teacher (56%) or a male teacher (64%). Both categories of closed questions are mainly considered lower order questions that do not facilitate higher cognitive levels in students. Thus, a direct consequence of an excessive use of this type of questions may be that both boys and girls will be given less opportunities to practise their ability to talk about science. Less access to general classroom interaction may also affect girls’ attitudes to science in a negative way which could ultimately hamper the recruitment of girls to higher scientific studies.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Science Education
Sider (fra-til)433-452
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2017


  • Køn, Naturfag/science education

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