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Getting learners talking by using questions

Comment on why it’s good and talk about possible disadvantages
Anybody having the same habit, checking Facebook in the morning? How many of you check Facebook in the evening? Mention some very happy events, very lucky events. Laura, what is a lucky day for you? Please look at the board. And you can see, very fortunate, very lucky and very unfortunate and unlucky events. OK? So if you have any ideas, any thoughts about any of the pictures, please feel free to share it with me. Benjal, do you mind choosing? OK. All right. So it means good luck. Any other people ever visiting this place? Do you know where it is? Do you know about this habit of throwing coins in a fountain? Good luck pictures and bad luck pictures.
And I have one more last picture for you.
It’s the first picture of a story. And you’ll see if it’s a lucky story or an unlucky story. But please tell me what your guesses are. What can you see in this picture? This is a story that you are going to listen to, OK? This person is actually a man, OK, it’s not the best drawing ever. OK, I have this story for you. I would like you to read the introduction of this story very quickly, and then we are going to listen to the story. And you have to order the pictures, OK? You have number one, and you’ve got number nine. But you have to find the correct order. And let’s go through it very quickly.
So we’ve got number one. What happens in picture number one, Marci? And then Ana, if this is the second to last one, what happens in picture B? The Italian guy kills the American. OK. And what does the last picture refer to, Balaj? So this is the right order, OK? But we still have to work on the story a little bit more. And now this is your time to work in pairs. You’ve got sentences of the story, but they are not in the correct order. You have to put them in the correct order, but you have to fill in some extra information about this story as well. Uh hmmm. OK.
Let’s see. I want to hear it from you, too. If I lend you my newspaper, we’ll start talking, Balaj. So these sentences talk about the - I just said it - the future. OK? Possibilities in the future. So Aqbush has a very good question, why isn’t there a ‘will’ after ‘if’? Did I make a mistake? This is the future simple, OK? What does the future simple look like? We have a ‘will’, OK. We have a ‘will’ here, too. And then the - The verb. The verb. Good. You guys are awesome.

We’ve talked before about the usefulness of using questions as a way of engaging learners and getting them to talk in class. In the video for this step we’ve put together some of the questions a teacher (Kata) asks at different times in a lesson.

You won’t hear the learners answering as we’re focusing on the questions the teacher asks. Watch the video and look at the ways that the teacher uses questions at different times. Which of these reasons for using questions do you see being used in the video? What questions does the teacher ask? Make some notes as you watch.

Reasons for using questions

  • To check learners know what to do in an activity
  • To get learners to say what they know about a topic
  • To check that learners understand some vocabulary or grammar
  • To check that learners have the answers to a task.
  • Task

    Why do you think it’s a good idea to use questions in class? Are there any disadvantages? Write your ideas in the comments.

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    Exploring the World of English Language Teaching

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