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April 07, 2007

Tips and Tricks- Open Ended Questions

Hello Readers,

Let's say you're talking to your students about different learning strategies. Which of the following questions do you think would be more interesting for your students?

When some successful language learners find a word they don't know in a text, they _______ the meaning of the word from the context.
a. guesses b. guessed c. have guessed d. guess

When some successful language learners find a word that they don't know in a text, they guess the meaning of the word from the context. What are some other learning strategies that you could use if you don't know the meaning of a word?

While closed questions, like the one in example 1, ...

... can be useful for lower-level language students, they can be quite boring, repetitive, and easy to answer without thinking much about it for higher-level students.

Open-ended questions also have the added benefit of allowing students to answer in a way that is suitable for their own level. If you have a mixed-level class, this is especially important, as lower-level students can give a simple answer and learn from the other higher-level students who might choose to give more complex answers. Furthermore, open-ended questions also give students allow for a variety of different answers, in content as well as in complexity.

Look through some of your textbooks, worksheets, and lesson plans. If you find that you have closed questions, take a few minutes to change them into open-ended questions. Modifying your questions takes little effort, but can make a large impact on your students.

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*For more ESL Tips & Tricks from ESL-Lesson-Plan, please click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, and lived and worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at the Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at April 7, 2007 06:35 AM

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