How to Develop Questioning Strategies
by Judie Haynes
Involving English language learners in the discussions in their content area classes can be frustrating if teachers do not develop strategies for asking questions.
Choose easy questions for your ELLs and structure the form of the question to their current language ability. Accept single word/phrases as correct answers. Do not insist that students speak in full sentences.
Let ESL students know which questions they will be responsible for answering in advance. Allow for think time and preparation of answers.
Hierarchy of Questions
- Ask newcomers to point to a picture or word to demonstrate basic knowledge.
- Using visual cues, ask simple yes/no questions.
- Ask either/or questions in which the answer is embedded.
- Break complex questions into several steps.
- Ask simple "how" and "where" questions that can be answered with a phrase or a short sentence.
- Do not expect your ELLs to answer broad open-ended questions.
"Point to the penguin."
"Is a penguin a fish?"
"Is a penguin a mammal or a bird?”
"Look at the mammals. Find the bear, the dog and the cat. Why are these animals all mammals? How are they the same?"
"Where do penguins live?" How do bats hear?
"How do fish breathe underwater?"
© 1998-2004 Judie Haynes, www.everythingESL.net