I found that, in general, there are three major types of students regarding questions and answers.
Type 1 are those whose answers to questions are always“don’t know”; and who usually say“no” when I asked them whether they have any questions. They are like black boxes - it is difficult to find out what is going on in their minds.
Type 2 are those who can answer my questions (they are paying attention), but rarely volunteer the answers, and almost never have any questions to ask or comments to make. They are a bit like sponges; absorbing everything, but rarely generating anything themselves. They seem to be the majority in Hong Kong.
Type 3 are those interactive students who volunteer to answer questions, and occasionally ask intelligent questions. They are most teachers’ favourites. At least among those teachers who believe in interacting with their students.
Are students born into these types? I don’t believe so. Can a student move from one type to another? I think so.
There was a student in my class last year who was a black box when I started asking her questions in class in the beginning of the term. Gradually she evolved into a sponge, and even a borderline interactive. Later she told me that when she realized that I would be asking her questions, she started paying more attention in class. So their behaviour regarding questions and answers is at least partially learned.