Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Teaching Speaking (6)


Eliciting is related to presentation of the lesson as well as asking questions. Eliciting is an important process which teachers must employ to get the class involved in what is going on in the class. For speaking practice eliciting is highly essential. It helps students to focus their attention, to think, and to use what they already know. It helps teachers to assess what the class already knew.

Presentation of a lesson with eliciting questions helps students remember words and structures, and gives them practice right then and there when the word is introduced. This may be used even to test the learning level achieved so far within that particular lesson. For example, you may present words for the different parts of the face. Then follow it by eliciting each word by pointing to the feature on your face, asking students what it is called, and then how to spell it. If no one knows the answer for a particular item, give the answer yourself. Use the board to write the words.

In straightforward presentation, the teacher gives the word and points to the part, asks the students to repeat, and then writes the word on the board. In presentation with simple eliciting, the teacher presents the words one by one and points to the parts, asks the students to repeat after her, writes the words on the board, points to the feature and elicits the word for it, and elicits the spelling. Note that, in eliciting, students are actually asked to practice speaking.
You can elicit vocabulary from pictures; you can also elicit sentences and phrases which give the description of what is depicted in the pictures. Ask simple and common questions when you show the pictures to the students. Let the student answer according to each picture. For example, show a picture in which a girl is swimming, and ask the question, What is she doing? Show the picture of a doctor and ask the question, What is this man?

Pictures from previous lessons would be most ideal, for students already would be familiar with the words, phrases, and sentences needed to describe the pictures. How about a story known to your students which is now given in pictures and the student is asked to narrate it in English? Picture cues are very helpful in teaching tense in English.

Care should be taken to frame questions in an unambiguous manner and the questions should be such that the students are able to answer without much difficulty.

At least two types of questions may be asked using pictures. In Type 1, the questions relate directly to what is seen in the picture. In Type 2, the questions ask students to imagine and interpret the picture beyond what is seen clearly in it (Doff 1988).

Type 1 Questions: Where is this woman standing? What is she wearing? What is she doing? What is she holding in her hand? What time of day is it?

Type 2 Questions: Why is she standing here? What has happened? How does she feel? Why? What is she thinking? Write some of her thoughts in a few words. Imagine this is a scene from a film. What will happen next?

Type 1 questions elicit important words or structures relating to the picture.
Type 2 Questions, however, ask students to imagine things beyond the picture, and to express possibilities using English. For this the students need to think and compose their thoughts, as well as find appropriate words and structures in English.


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