Trinh Doan Thi Nguyen, Huan Buu Nguyen


Research has indicated that questioning is used as an interactive way to engage students in learning English as a foreign or second language. In particular, rooted in Socratic philosophy, this strategy involves students in thinking and communicating ideas and knowledge to others for effective learning. However, teacher questioning in English classroom context in higher education in Viet Nam has not received much attention. Moreover, classroom questioning and teachers’ perceptions of this instructional practice facilitating students’ critical thinking in English major classes remained scarce. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the effects of questioning as pre-reading activity on students’ critical thinking in EFL reading classes. The participants in this study were 80 grade 12 students of the two classes at a high school, in Kien Giang province. Data collection in this study includes pre-tests, post-tests, questionnaires, and interviews. The findings from this study indicate that the implementation of questioning as a pre-reading activity by students in the experimental group yielded positive effects on students’ critical thinking in reading classes. Pedagogical implications for teachers and school administrators are made.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter


questioning, pre-reading activity, critical thinking, reading

Full Text:



Ajideh, P. (2003). Schema theory-based pre-reading tasks: A neglected essential in the ESL reading class. The Reading Matrix, 3(1), 1–14.

Aloqaili, A. S. (2012). The relationship between reading comprehension and critical thinking: A theoretical study. Journal of King Saud University-Languages and Translation, 24(1), 35–41.

Al-Zahrani, M. Y., & Al-Bargi, A. (2017). The impact of teacher questioning on creating interaction in EFL: A discourse analysis. English Language Teaching, 10(6), 135–150.

Amalia, A. R., & Devanti, Y. M. (2017). The use of questioning strategy to improve students’ reading comprehension. ELLITE: Journal of English Language, Literature, and Teaching, 1(2), 81-88.

Anderson, R. C., & Pearson, P. D. (1984). A schema-theoretic view of basic processes in reading comprehension. In P. L. Carrell, J. Devine, & D. E. Eskey (Eds.), Interactive Approaches to Second Language Reading (1st ed., pp. 37–55). Cambridge University Press.

Arifin, S. (2020). The role of critical reading to promote students’ critical thinking and reading comprehension. Journal of Education and Teaching, 53(3), 318–326.

Asgharheidari, F., & Tahriri, A. (2015). A survey of EFL teachers’ attitudes towards critical thinking instruction. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(2), 388– 396.

Atkinson, D. (1997). A critical approach to critical thinking in TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 31(1), 71-94.

Beck, I. L. (1989). Reading and reasoning. The Reading Teacher, 42(9), 676–682.

Borg, S. (2003). Teacher cognition in language teaching: A review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do. Language Teaching, 36(2), 81–109.

Bui, N. K., Nguyen, H. B., Ly, T. H., & Pham, A. L. (2021). Students’ perceptions of the effects of questioning at pre-reading stage on reading comprehension: A case at a Vietnamese University. Multicultural Education, 7(12), 377–385.

Cárdenas, Y. I. C. (2021). Questioning as an effective tool to enhance students’ interaction in the English classroom. South Florida Journal of Development 2(2),3510-3520

Cosgrove, R. (2011). Critical thinking in the Oxford tutorial: A call for an explicit and systematic approach. Higher Education Research & Development, 30(3), 343–356.

Davies, M. (2011). Introduction to the special issue on critical thinking in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 30(3), 255–260.

Do, D. X. T., & Tran, T. T. T. (2020). An investigation of teachers questioning in the English reading classrooms–a case study. Hue University Journal of Science: Social Sciences and Humanities, 129(6B), 165–181.

Duke, N. (2003). Comprehension instruction for informational text. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Michigan Reading Association, Grand Rapids, MI.

Duster, S. (1997). Classroom questioning: How teachers use it to promote creativity and higher-level thinking. Pacific Lutheran University.

Ennis, R. H. (1985). A logical basis for measuring critical thinking skills. Educational Leadership, 43(2), 44–48.

Ennis, R. H. (2002). Goals for a critical thinking curriculum and its assessment. Developing Minds, 3, 44–46.

Ennis, R. H. (2018). Critical thinking across the curriculum: A vision. Topoi, 37(1), 165–184.

Fahim, M., & Bagheri, M. B. (2012). Fostering critical thinking through Socrates’ questioning in Iranian language institutes. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(6), 1122–1127.

Floyd, C. (2011). Critical thinking in a second language. Higher Education Research and Development, 30, 289–302.

Fraenkel, J., Hyun, H., & Wallen, N. (2011). How to design and evaluate research in education. McGraw-Hill Education.

Gall, M. (1984). Synthesis of research on teachers' questioning. Educational Leadership, 42(3), 40-47.

Ghabanchi, Z., & Behrooznia, S. (2014). The impact of brainstorming on reading comprehension and critical thinking ability of EFL learners. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 513–521.

Godfrey, K. A. (2001). Teacher questioning techniques, student responses and critical thinking. Master's thesis, Portland State University

Grabe, W. (2009). Reading in a second language: Moving from theory to practice. Cambridge University Press.

Halpern, D. F. (1998). Teaching critical thinking for transfer across domains: Disposition, skills, structure training, and metacognitive monitoring. American Psychologist, 53(4), 449-455.

Hill, J. B. (2012). Questioning techniques: A study of instructional practice. Peabody Journal of Education, 9(5), 660-671.

Hong, T. D. & Nguyen, H. B. (2019). Teachers' beliefs and practices of scaffolding students' reading comprehension through questioning at pre-reading stage. European Journal of Foreign Language Teaching,4(4), 72-91.

Hou, Y. (2019). Employing questioning to cultivate critical thinking dispositions and attitudes toward questioning: A case study with Taiwanese EFL students. The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, 26(2), 1-18.

Iksan, Z. H., & Daniel, E. (2015). Emerging model of questioning through the process of teaching and learning electrochemistry. International Education Studies, 8(10), 137–149.

Ikuenobe, P. (2001). Questioning as an epistemic process of critical thinking. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 33(3–4), 325–341.

Karimi, L., & Veisi, F. (2016). The impact of teaching critical thinking skills on reading comprehension of Iranian intermediate EFL learners. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 6(9), 1869–1876.

Keenan, J. M., Betjemann, R. S., & Olson, R. K. (2008). Reading comprehension tests vary in the skills they assess: Differential dependence on decoding and oral comprehension. Scientific Studies of Reading, 12(3), 281–300.

Kintsch, W. (1998). Comprehension: A Paradigm for cognition. Cambridge University Press.

Le, K. T., & Nguyen, H. B. (2017). Teachers’ beliefs about critical reading in students' reading classes. European Journal of English Language Teaching, 2(4), 39-57

Lee, Y., & Kinzie, M. B. (2012). Teacher questions and student response with regard to cognition and language use. Instructional Science, 40, 857–874.

Lundy, M. M. (2008). The nature of questioning moves used by exemplary teachers during reading instruction. University of South Florida.

Maphosa, C., & Wadesango, N. (2016). Questioning ‘questioning’: Examining the use of questioning as an interactive teaching tool in higher education. Journal of Communication, 7(1), 111–117.

Martin, J. R. (1992). Critical thinking for a humane world. In S. P. Norris (Eds.). The generalizability of critical thinking (pp. 163–180). New York: Teachers College Press.

Mason, M. (2007). Critical thinking and learning. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 39(4), 339–349.

McPeck, J. (1981). Critical thinking and education. Oxford: Martin Robertson.

Moon, J. A. (2008). Critical thinking: An exploration of theory and practice. Routledge.

Moore, T. (2004). The critical thinking debate: How general are general thinking skills? Higher Education Research & Development, 23(1), 3–18.

Nguyen, H. B., Haworth, P., & Hansen, S. (2019). Challenging ESP teacher beliefs about active learning in a Vietnamese university. Teacher Development, 23(3), 345–365.

Nguyen, H. B. (2013). Beliefs about support for teacher change in English for specific purposes university classes. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 19(2), 36–48.

Norris, S. P., & Phillips, L. M. (1987). Explanations of reading comprehension: Schema theory and critical thinking theory. Teachers College Record, 89(2), 281–306.

Nuttall, C. (1996). Teaching reading skills in a foreign language. Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH.

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2007). Critical thinking: The art of Socratic questioning. Journal of Developmental Education, 31(1), 34–35.

Peterson, D. S., & Taylor, B. M. (2012). Using higher order questioning to accelerate students’ growth in reading. The Reading Teacher, 65(5), 295–304.

Pham, L. N. K., & Hamid, M. O. (2013a). Beginning EFL teachers’ beliefs about quality questions and their questioning practices. Teacher Development, 17(2), 246–264.

Phan, N. P. T., & Nguyen, H. B. (2021). Teachers’ perceptions of questioning as pre-teaching stage in general English classes. European Journal of English Language Teaching, 6(5), 81-94

Ruggiero, V. R. (1984). The art of thinking: A guide to critical and creative thought. New York: Harper & Row.

Şeker, H., & Kömür, S. (2008). The relationship between critical thinking skills and in‐class questioning behaviours of English language teaching students. European Journal of Teacher Education, 31(4), 389–402.

Song, W. (2019). Study on the influence of teachers’ questioning in high school English reading class on students’ critical thinking. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 9(4), 424–428.

Sunggingwati, D., & Nguyen, H. T. M. (2013). Teachers’ questioning in reading lessons: A case study in Indonesia. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 10(1),80-95.

Thurman, B. A. (2009). Teaching of critical thinking skills in the English content area in South Dakota public high schools and colleges. University of South Dakota.

Tran, T. T. T., & Phuong, Y. H. (2018). The impact of questioning and semantic map in pre-reading stage on students' reading comprehension: A comparative study. European Journal of Education Studies. 4(6), 279–294

Wangru, C. (2016). The research on strategies of college English teachers classroom questioning. International Education Studies, 9(8), 144–158.

Wilen, W. W. (1991). Questioning skills for teachers: What research says to the teacher. ERIC

Yu-hui, L., Li-rong, Z., & Yue, N. (2010). Application of schema theory in teaching college English reading. Canadian Social Science, 6(1), 46–59.

Zhang, L. (2018). A survey of effective classroom questioning in college English teaching. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 9(2), 328-335.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright © 2015 - 2023. European Journal of English Language Teaching (ISSN 2501-7136) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).