Infant educators' use of pedagogical questioning

relationships with the context of interaction and educators' qualifications

Sheila Degotardi*, Jane Torr, Feifei Han

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Research Findings: This study investigated the prevalence of pedagogical questions posed by 27 early childhood educators as they interacted with infants in each of two naturally-occurring contexts: book-focused interactions and educator mediated play. The pedagogical questions expressed by educators to infants were coded as confirm (yes/no), specify (what, who, where, when) or explain (why, how) on the basis that these question types present infants with different opportunities to use their developing communication skills to provide information to others. We sought to determine associations between question use, activity context and educators’ qualification levels. Explain questions were used very rarely, while confirm and specify questions were more frequent, comprising 7.60% and 8.32% respectively of the messages expressed by educators to infants. A 2 (activity context) × 2 (qualification level) mixed factorial MANOVA, supplemented with post-hoc qualitative analyses, demonstrated that, in specific activity contexts, degree qualified early childhood teachers used pedagogical questioning in ways which differed from their less-qualified counterparts. Practice or policy: The findings provide much needed data on how educator questioning is used with children under two, how questioning affords context-specific language learning opportunities for infants in ECEC centres, and how educator qualifications may be implicated in these opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1018
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number8
Early online date25 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2018

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