Moral Complexities of Student Question-Asking in Classroom Practice


  • Stephen C. Yanchar Brigham Young University
  • Susan P. Gong Brigham Young University



Prior research on student question-asking has primarily been conducted from a cognitive, epistemological standpoint. In contrast, we present a hermeneutic-phenomenological investigation that emphasizes the moral-practical context in which question-asking functions as a situated way of being in the midst of practice. More particularly, we present a hermeneutic study of student question-asking in a graduate seminar on design theory (i.e., a seminar focused on theory and philosophy of design, emphasizing the work of design scholars such as Simon, Cross, Krippendorff, and Lawson). The study offers a unique moral-practical perspective on this commonly studied phenomenon. Our analysis yielded four themes regarding the moral-practical intricacies of question-asking in this setting, with a particular focus on time-related constraints on participation, various types of background understanding, and value-laden expectations that participants encountered in this complex ecology of practice.