GETTING QUESTIONS FROM YOUR STUDENTS
QAQ = Question, Answer, Question.
A very basic means of getting students to use a new kind of question at low levels where simple and practice is necessary, e.g. after introducing a new tense or other grammatical form such as any/some where the question structure needs deliberate practice.
It involves, basically, simply asking a question, waiting for the answer and then getting your student to repeat the same question with a gesture and a prompt. Thus in it's simplest form it might go:
T Where do you live?
S I live in Madrid.
T Good. (gesture) Where ......
S Where ... do you live?
T I live in...
After "Good" don't say "Now ask me." "Now me" or anything other than the prompt - the first word the student should say, "Where" in this case. A simple beckoning gesture with all four fingers tells the student what you want him to do.
When you want more than a single question, set up a substitution drill with a pattern of three questions for the student to repeat and then expand upon.
Let us suppose that the teacher is practicing student questions after introducing the simple present tense.
T Does John work in Paris?
S Yes, he does.
T Does Peter work in Paris?
S Yes, he does.
T Does Susan work in Paris?
S No, she doesn't.
T Good, (gesture) Does ....
S Does Susan work in Paris?
T No, she doesn't. (the teacher then prompts another name for the student to use)
S Does ....... etc. (Teacher prompts more names: Henry, Mary, Mr. Duval, the Queen... and when you get tired of changing names you can change the city instead of the name)
The above is the simplest form of pattern available, suitable for a first effort at asking questions and useable with the slowest pupil.
Here aresome examples of the same technique using progressively more demanding patterns.
Only the three questions put by the teacher are shown. Get short answers with the auxilliary , "Yes I do", "No he didn't", when appropriate
Does Mr. Morgan smoke?
Do You smoke?
Do I smoke?
Here the student has to switch from "does" to "do" in his questions and back again according to who the teacher is indicating as the subject of the next question he wants. Note that the teacher can point to two people or pictures at the same time to elicit "they" and to himself and the student at the same time to elicit "we".
Does Mr. Morgan smoke?
Does he speak English?
Does he read the New York Times?.
This is the simplest sequence which will get a student to apply succesive verbs. he should use the proper noun in his first question and to switch to the pronoun for subsequent questions. Note that if the teacher points to other third person characters for the continuation all the student has to do is to change the name in the first sentence and perhaps "he" into "she" but if the teacher switches the drill onto himself or the student he effectively upgrades the exercise as the student will have to change all his "does's" into "do's" as well.
Does Miguel speak French?
Does he speak German?
What language does he speak?
Two inversion questions followed by the appropriate key question make a very neat pattern which a student can retain fairly easily and which is quite demanding as he has to use contrasting forms of question succesively. Once again a subsequent shift onto "I "or "You" is especially difficult.
Does Peter speak German?
Does Celine speak German?
Who speaks German?
The "Who" question - an apparantly aberant form for your student because it doesn't use an auxilliary - should get special attention. Your student may well, and from his point of view quite logically, try to say "Who does speak ...?" The above series should be preceded by a simpler but necessary series of simple successive "Who" questions.
© Mark Yates 2000 modified 2015