Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number1 March 2020                                                      Pp. 69- 78

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The Use of Question Modification Strategies in ESL Class

Zailani Jusoh
Faculty of Languages and Communication
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Terengganu, Malaysia 

Junaidah Abdul Rahman
Centre of Knowledge Enhancement
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Terengganu, Malaysia 

Hishamuddin Salim
Faculty of Languages and Communication
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Terengganu, Malaysia




Questioning is a popular instructional strategy in a language class to encourage learning. However, not all questions are effective in doing so, as some questions sometimes go unanswered.  When faced with a situation such as this, teachers must adjust their questions to make it more understandable.  This study investigates question modification strategies employed by student teachers in English as a second language (ESL) class.  Data for the study was collected through classroom observations. The participants were seven Diploma in Teaching English as a second Language (TESL) students who were undergoing their compulsory 12-week teaching practicum (TP) at various primary schools in Terengganu.  The data were analyzed thematically based on the types of strategies used in the process.  The finding shows that the most popular modification strategies among the STs are repetition and translation.  Besides, the choice of modification strategies is limited to just a few.  Many strategies were not fully utilized in class.  The findings highlight important pedagogical implications for education providers (EPs) to improve on to produce competent teachers.  EPs should expose student teachers to a wide array of question modification strategies to prevent interaction breakdown and to encourage active participation in the class.  The ability to modify questions will create a more interactive and communicative environment suitable for learning English in a second language context.
Keywords: class observation, ESL, question modification strategies, student teachers, teaching practicum

Cite as: Jusoh, Z., A Rahman, J., & Salim, H.  (2020). The Use of Question Modification Strategies in ESL Class.  Arab World English Journal11 (1) 69 – 78.


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ZAILANI JUSOH, Ph.D is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Languages and Communication
(UniSZA). She has a doctoral degree in education from the International Islamic University
Malaysia (IIUM). Her research interests include reading assessment and teacher development.
She has been teaching for more than two decades.

JUNAIDAH ABDUL RAHMAN has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences (English
Language and Literature) from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and has
been teaching in Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) for more than 10 years.

HISHAMUDDIN SALIM is a lecturer at the Faculty of Languages and Communication,
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA). He has 20 years’ experience teaching ESL at tertiary
level. ORCID: