Re: Display questions in and outside the classroom

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Sat Mar 05 2005 - 13:41:26 PST

See rendering of Rembrandt's picture referred to by Dr. Griffin. It
ain't perfect, but it helps convey my sense of the argument.

On Sat, 5 Mar 2005 13:40:38 -0600, Peg Griffin
<> wrote:
> Hi, Olga and all,
> There's a piece from a bit ago that might be helpful (or maybe not -- it
> has something to turn everyone off -- on the one hand a metaphor based on a
> Rembrandt chalk drawing "Two Women Teaching a Child to Walk" and on the
> other attention to formal conversational analysis). (Come to think of it,
> the Rembrandt base could annoy two groups at once, couldn't it -- the
> anti-artsy metaphor folk and those in my country now who worry about people
> insidiously supporting gay families. I wonder if I can get Dobson to make
> Rembrandt as contemporaneously infamous as he has SpongeBob Square Pants?)
> Anyhow, the chapter is about escaping from the tyranny of equating a turn at
> talk with an isolated expression of meaning and about seeing some
> expressions (particularly those in Zo-peds) as multi-party/multi-turn. I
> think great teaching is that way. There is a not only student body, but a
> class as organism entity (when the class has been organ-ized), and the
> teacher's contributions and students' contributions express joint acts that
> can subsequently show up as concepts which have been appropriated by one (or
> more) of the participating contributors, i.e., having been learned.
> It builds on the "How the west has won" chapter in the Construction Book
> that Denis, Mike and I did an even longer time ago.
> It was published in 2000 as "Collaboration in school: 'I (don't) know'
> answers and questions." It's on pp. 472-491 in a book from Hampton Press
> that I helped to edit (with Peyton, Wolfram and Fasold) "Language in Action:
> New Studies of Language in Society."
> If there's a lot of trouble getting it and you want it anyhow, I might be
> able to unearth a Word file of an earlier version to email; just let me
> know.
> Peg
> PS Has anyone seen that and other drawings of little ones learning to
> walk -- it seems at Rembrandt's time Dutch people issued toddlers with
> protective headgear for learning to walk. And some people complain about
> motorcycle helmets....
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Griswold, Olga" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2005 11:50 AM
> Subject: Display questions in and outside the classroom
> > Hello,
> >
> > I am looking for literature on the different functions of display vs.
> > referential questions in the classroom. I am somewhat familiar with the
> > literature on the role of such questions in second language classrooms,
> but
> > most of the research in this area discusses the primary functions of
> display
> > questions as comprehension checks and as means of eliciting particular
> forms
> > (e.g. grammatical structures and/or vocabulary) form L2 learners. The
> > pedagogical advice seems to be to increase the number of referential
> > questions and to decrease the number of display ones in order to promote
> > more communicative classrooms.
> >
> > In my own analysis of classroom talk (a citizenship class at an adult
> > school), however, I am finding quite different functions of display
> > questions in the co-construction of content and linguistic knowledge. I
> am
> > new to the investigation of interaction in the classrooms that are not
> > strictly ESL, and I would very much appreciate any recommendations on any
> > literature addressing the functions of teacher questions in non-language
> > classrooms, especially in adult settings.
> >
> > Thanks in advance to everyone who can help,
> >
> > Olga Griswold
> >
> >

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