Asking Good ESL Conversation Questions

September 29th, 2008

Every ESL teacher knows that some questions stimulate great conversation, while others just get blank stares. How to ask good ESL questions to stimulate conversation in the ESL classroom:

1.  Make sure the question is at the appropriate level.

It’s tempting to want to ask questions that you personally find interesting, but if your questions are at a higher level than your students, you won’t get a good response.

2.  The question needs to be something that the student has an answer for.

If you ask a student a question about the economy for example, they might not even know how to answer the question in their own language, let alone in English.

3.  Make sure that your question isn’t culturally sensitive or something that may cause embarrassment.

These questions can be fun to ask, but without the right class, you won’t get the response you are hoping for.

4.  Your question should be one that the student finds interesting.

You will have to play around a little bit to see where your class is.  Pay attention to what seems to get them excited.  Remember that the same things you find interesting could very well not be the same as what the students find interesting.  I used to run into this problem a lot.

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One Response to “Asking Good ESL Conversation Questions”

  1. pau Says:

    October 7th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    I am not an English teacher or anything like that but I like to read everything on this site, and I found the phrase: “let alone in English”. Even though I can understand what you are saying it sounds odd to me.
    Is there any other way to say the same thing?.
    Maybe you can use in a podcast. It would be great.
    thanks anyway for all the podcasts, the positive attitude and the great advices.

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