Peer Review of Instructional Practice at Colleges: A Perspective on the Professional Development of Instructors
This study set out to investigate the nature and the level of
cognitive complexity of questions that teachers ask in the classroom.
Primarily informed by the value the concept of a "reflective practitioner" , the
study involved one instructor of English who volunteered to participate in the
research. The instructor's class was recorded, transcribed and analyzed
using the observation technique known as "selective verbatim" which was
developed by Achenson and Gall (1989) and the Taxonomy of Cognitive
Difficulty of Questions developed by Thomas Barret. Analysis of the
instructor's questions revealed that he posed a total of 88 questions in an
hour. Most of these (71.5%) were lower cognitive questions and only very
few of them (3.4%) were real higher cognitive questions - a finding
consistent with the research literature. Further analysis made by reflecting
on the data secured led to some major observations and feedback. The
feedback was intentionally used in the subsequent lessons and a second
recording and analysis revealed the improvements in questioning
techniques and the influences on the quality of classroom interaction.
Finally, implications for practice and in sights with regard to professional
development were drawn both from the findings and the experiences of
participating in the study.