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Teacher Training

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    Default Teacher Training

    Classroom Language

    Read through the list below and see how many errors you can find:


    1. "If you throw a six, have another go"
    2. "Can I have your attention please?"
    3. "Why are you late? Did you oversleep?"
    4. "You've been a great help"
    5. "Take your hands out of your pockets"
    6. "That's nice handwriting"
    7. "Next time we'll do it perfectly"
    8. "Take one and pass them on/ along"
    9. "You need one card each"
    10. "It's a draw"
    11. "Whose turn is it?"
    12. "Add your scores up"
    13. "Shake hands with your partner"
    14. "Listen to the tape and answer the questions"
    15. "Have a good weekend. See you (, then)"
    16. "See you next Wednesday."
    17. "That was great"




    Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn from him (R. Emerson)

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    Default Re: Teacher Training

    Asking questions


    Questioning is crucial to the way teachers manage the class, engage students with content, encourage participation and increase understanding. Typically, teachers ask between 300-400 questions per day, however the quality and value of questions varies.

    Types of questions
    Classroom questions tend to fall into two broad categories:

    Display questions.
    These are designed to elicit learners’ prior knowledge and to check comprehension.
    They often focus on the form or meaning of language structures and items, and the teacher already knows the answer.
    What does ..... mean?
    When do we use .....?
    What comes after .....?
    What’s the opposite of .....?
    Where’s the stress in .....?


    Referential questions.
    These require the learner to provide information, give an opinion, explain or clarify.
    They often focus on content rather than language, require ‘follow-up’ or ‘probe’ questions, and the answer is not necessarily known by the teacher.
    What do you think about .....?
    Have you ever....when/where .....?
    If you had .....what.....?
    What kind of .....?
    How do you .....?

    The best referential questions are those that are ‘divergent’ or ‘open-ended’ in that they are broad, may have multiple answers, and require a higher level of thinking from the learners.
    Open-ended questions are ideal for developing skills such as inferring, predicting, verifying and summarising, as well as eliciting more language.
    Convergent’ or ‘closed’ questions have more narrowly defined correct answers which can be recalled from memory and require little reflection or originality.
    Closed questions are common in conventional tests.

    Purposes of questions
    During the lead-in to a lesson, referential questions form the basis of brainstorming a topic, generating interest and topic-related vocabulary.
    Student’s responses may be recorded as a mind-map on the board, or as the first phase of a ‘what we know / what we would like to know/ what we know now’ framework, particularly in receptive skills based lessons where predicting content is a useful pre-reading / listening activity.

    Meaning and understanding need to be checked before language is practised. Concept-checking questions (CCQs) should demand short answers, be simple and asked often (‘Is he talking about the past, present or future?’, has the action finished?’, ‘Is time important?’, ‘ıs the meaning positive or negative?’)

    In skills lessons, questions may focus on strategies as well as language (‘Do you have to read everything to get the information?’, ‘Do you need to understand every word?’. ‘What do you think will happen next?’ ) Questions may also focus on process rather than product (‘How did you guess the meaning of that word?’, ‘Where in the passage did you find the information?’, ‘What helped you to understand what the speaker’s opinion was?’)

    Student nomination may also be used for obtaining the answers to exercises and comprehension tasks, but feedback on the tasks themselves is equally important and can be dealt with by questions such as ‘What was difficult about that question?’. ‘Did you have enough information?’ and ‘Did you enjoy that activity?’

    Throughout the lesson, questions play an important role in classroom management, including general questions (‘Can you all see the board?’, ‘Have you got your dictionaries ready?’) and questions for checking progress ‘Ready?’, Have you finished?’. Questions designed to check instructions are vital in order to avoid interrupting a task in order to reinstruct or clarify the task. These questions should be kept simple (‘Are you working alone or in pairs?’, ‘Who’s in group B?’, ‘Are you going to write anything?') and spread around the class.

    Effective questioning
    Decide on the purpose of questions.
    Minimise the use of "yes / no" questions except when checking meaning and understanding or encouraging weaker students.
    Ask a balance of referential and display questions.
    Use open-ended (divergent) questions to encourage opinions, elaboration and discussion.
    Ask questions about important rather than trivial content.
    Grade language in questions and try not to over-paraphrase.
    Personalise questions where possible.
    Avoid questions that contain the answer.
    Make sure that students clearly understand questions.
    Spread questions randomly around the class.
    Balance questions to the whole class with individual student nomination.
    Give enough time for students to answer.
    Anticipate students' responses.
    Give appropriate responses to questions, particularly where correction is required. and in order to extend the dialogue.

    Good questioning provides a model which hopefully will promote correct and intelligent questions from learners.




    Last edited by yamha; 10-25-2009 at 01:22 AM.
    Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn from him (R. Emerson)

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