The effects of simulations on the development of questioning behavior of students



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It was the purpose of this study to determine the effects of simulations on student questioning behavior. In order to determine these effects answers were sought to the following questions: (1) Do simulations produce an increased percentage of higher-level questions asked by students? (2) Do simulations produce an increase in the total number of questions asked by students? The research design used in the study was the Time-Series design. The study lasted ten weeks and during this time period ten geographic concepts were presented to thirty-three ninth-grade students at Anderson High School in Austin, Texas. Each concept was presented for a period of one week and was examined by either expository teaching methods or simulations. During eight of the ten weeks expository methods were used for instruction. During weeks five and seven simulations were used as the instructional methods. A total of 1,731 student questions were recorded during the course of the study. These questions were placed in random sequence and distributed to a committee of three social studies educators to classify as to the taxonomical level of each question. The leveIs were based on the levels of questions as defined by Norris M. Sanders in Classroom Questions--What Kinds? During each week the total number of questions asked daily at each level was recorded. Cumulative totals were also determined for each week. All questions asked during expository weeks were compared with questions asked during simulation weeks. This was to determine and identify percentage differences and patterns that were observable during the course of the study regarding total numbers of questions asked and number of questions asked at each taxonomical level. The data,when analyzed,led to the following conclusions: (1) From levels four through seven (application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) expository instruction produced an increased percentage only at the application level. On the average, 4.2 percent of all questions asked during expository sessions were at the application level with less than 1 percent occurring during simulations. The analysis level indicated a 7 percent increase during simulation activities while the synthesis level indicated a 1.2 percent increase. At the evaluation level simulations also showed a slight increase of 0.1 percent. (2) The data also indicated that more total questions were asked during simulation activities. During weeks five and seven, 258 and 361 total questions were asked, respectively. These numbers represented an increase of eighty-two more questions asked during week five and 185 during week seven compared to the highest number asked during any expository week. (3) The data also indicated that during simulations there was a sharp decline in the number of classroom procedural questions. The difference was an average of 16 percent more procedural questions asked during expository classes. As a result of this decline in procedural questions, 16 percent more questions were asked which focused on course content and geographical data.during simulations. (4) During simulation activities (weeks) students asked a much higher percentage of analysis questions when compared to expository weeks. The total of analysis questions more than doubled when compared to the highest number of analysis questions asked during any expository week. This indicated a relationship of some type may exist between simulation activities and analysis level questions.