An essential skill in communicating and keeping up a conversation is the ability to ask questions. Students sometimes get lots of chances to answer questions but here is how you can get them to make some questions themselves! These activities can be used with a whole range of levels.
1. FAQ's challenge
Tell students that they are preparing information on a topic for a booklet or a website e.g. tourist information for their town, information about their school system, information about customs or music in their country.
- Students in groups or pairs brainstorm a list of six to eight frequently asked questions on the subject.
- The whole class pool their questions and discuss them.
- Students prepare the answers in the next lesson.
2. Quiz question challenge
A quiz game based on recent vocabulary and topics covered can form the basis of this game with a twist. It has been played successfully with beginners!
- Read aloud the answers from your quiz cards
- In teams students must guess what the question is! Allow conferring between team members.
- Award two points for getting the question exactly right and one point for providing a question which makes sense and gets the answer, e.g. if the answer is '21', the questions could be 'How many students are there in this class? (two points) and 'How old is the assistant?' (one point)
3. Guess the object
Divide class into groups. Each group makes a list of three or four objects. Focus on words recently studied, words for objects in the room or words for objects related to a topic e.g. home, studying, music etc.
- One group must guess the objects of another group by asking questions e.g. 'Is it made of metal? Can you find one in this room? Is it bigger than this table?'
- Set a limit to the number of questions possible for each object (e.g. six to eight questions). Give a point to the team if the object is not guessed/guessed within the number of questions allowed.
- Guide students by providing the lists of objects yourself or focussing on specific question types to suit your classes.
4. Question time challenge
This approach can be used as a regular lesson slot or filler to change pace. Give one question with the words jumbled up on slips of paper. The first pair or group to unscramble it correctly are the winners.
A longer version: Take four or five question types recently covered by students. Jumble the words of the questions and write on one worksheet or on slips of paper in an envelope. Challenge small groups or pairs to re order. Run through the questions scoring two points for each correctly ordered question. Then challenge students again to think of logical answers to the questions or to use a couple of the questions in a mini dialogue.
By Clare Lavery