Classroom Discourse in Populated Classes in Tanzania: Questions as Pedagogical Lecturing Strategy at the University of Dar es Salaam
Journal of Humanities & Social Science (JHSS),
Vol. 11 No. 2, (2022)
This paper reports the findings of a study on the utilisation of questions by lecturers in facilitating teaching and learning during lectures at the University of Dar es Salaam. Three objectives guided the study: (i) identifying the types of questions that lecturers use to facilitate teaching and learning; (ii) establishing the pattern of lecturers’ use of questions; and (iii) determining why lecturers use questions as a discourse strategy to convey information at a sophisticated level of academic rhetoric to facilitate knowledge delivery. Data used to demonstrate this linguistic practice were collected from eight (8) recorded lectures, and interviews with lecturers teaching first-year students in two departments of the University of Dar es Salaam: Political Science and Public Administration, and Sociology and Social Anthropology. Using the discourse analysis (DA) approach, the study identified and analysed the nature of questions as a discourse strategy for lecturers struggling to cope with rising numbers of undergraduate students, and as part of spoken registers generically applied in university teaching in Tanzania. The study found that lecturers used four types of questions: tag, rhetorical, closed-ended and open-ended questions. It further established that lecturers used the four types of questions as pedagogical strategy to stimulate students, involve them, and to manage a class. These four types of questions played a facilitative role in enabling knowledge transfer during lectures with large numbers of undergraduates being baptised to university teaching methods at the ‘deep-end’. Overall, this question pedagogical strategy proved to be useful at the University of Dar es Salaam that continues to witness a steady growth in the numbers of matriculating undergraduate students. This paper, therefore, broadens the understanding on how university lecturers utilise various discourse strategies to enhance knowledge delivery and understanding.
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