Types of Classroom Interaction


To avoid overemphasizing the theory and memorization of the material presented in class, teachers employ classroom interaction to give students the ability to think critically, focus on specific details and practice what they have learned. Teachers have access to many methods of creating an interactive classroom. Common methods include classroom conversation, question-and-answer, reading aloud and role-playing.

Reading Aloud

  • Reading aloud is a classroom activity in which one person is reading while others listen. Reading aloud may be performed by the teacher or student. Reading aloud may be performed by a single person or by a group taking turns. This form of highly structured classroom interaction allows all students to be focused at exactly the same point in a reading. This allows students to easily focus on vocabulary and pronunciation.


  • Classroom conversation is a form of classroom interaction in which students in the class discuss a given topic. The conversation may be held across the whole class or in smaller groups. Conversation is an important form of classroom interaction because it helps students develop their language skills. In a conversation, students may apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired in the class, making classroom conversation a practical form of interaction.


  • Role-playing is an activity in which students take on given or chosen roles and act out a scene with others. This form of interaction lends itself to almost any situation, and the only restriction is a student's imagination. Role-playing allows students to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge about their roles, and it allows students to think outside of the constraints of the classroom and consider how they might apply the learned material to the real world. This form of interaction can integrate different subjects into one activity.


  • Question-and-answer is a traditional form of classroom interaction in which a teacher or student explains and poses a question for the other. Questions asked by the teacher are usually for the purpose of assessment, while questions asked by the students are usually for obtaining new information. The Socratic method is also a form of question-and-answer interaction. The Socratic method is a form of asking questions with the intent of leading students to discover the answer themselves. Question-and-answer as a form of interactive learning allows students to have a large influence on the agenda of the classroom, because it allows them to freely express their thoughts and feelings.

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  • "Classroom Interaction"; Ann Malamah-Thomas; 1987
  • "Techniques for Classroom Interaction"; Donn Byrne; 1987
  • Photo Credit student image by Ivanna Buldakova from Fotolia.com
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