“Any Questions?”: Investigating the Nature of Understanding-Checks in the Language Classroom



Insofar as effective instruction is contingent upon the degree to which it is tailored to learner understandings in situ, developing a firmer grasp of how understanding-checks work in the reality of the classroom is integral to educators' knowledge of teacher practices and, ultimately, their ability to implement effective teacher training. The purpose of this article is to produce a detailed account of how yes-no questions (e.g., “Do you have any questions?”) work as understanding-checks in the language classroom. Based on 28 hours of interaction in an English as a second language classroom, this conversation analytic study shows how such questions are oriented to by the participants in two major sequential environments and, in particular, how they are not always produced and treated as inviting questions. Findings of this study provide an empirical basis for enhancing the efficacy of pedagogical interaction.