1. T asks every SS to think of one discussion question based on a given topic. SS could use any of the discussion question templates on pp.67-71 of You Are The Course Book for inspiration.
Or – T gives each group a copy of Sample Question Set 1 or 2 (p.111) and gives them 10 minutes to write eight discussion questions.
2. T (or a SS) writes questions from each group on the board until there are a certain number, e.g. 6 or 8. The more questions there are, the longer the activity will last. The person writing the questions should choose the best ones from the many that SS have come up with.
3. SS discuss the questions on the board in pairs or small groups. One could ask the questions and the other answer – then change roles. SS should write down their partner’s answers in brief note form. T monitors, checks, and corrects. After a certain period, SS could change partners and either continue discussing the question they were on, or go back to the beginning.
4. Group feedback – T asks different SS for responses to each question. SS tell their partner’s answer as well as their own. T writes errors on the board and discusses corrections with the group.
- SS should use wh- questions, which require a longer answer, rather than yes/no questions which require only a one-word answer.
- Whoever asks the question should try to get a long answer from their partner by asking follow-up questions such as, “Why?” “…for example?” “Can you tell me more about that, please?” and so on.
- Encourage SS to write different kinds of discussion question. For example, there are 16 different kinds of question listed on p.111. There are further examples of discussion questions in the first four Talk a Lot books.
- SS could use vocabulary words from the vocabulary stage as inspiration for their questions.
- Encourage SS to work with partners they do not know very well. This will help everybody get to know one another better.
- Getting SS to write their own discussion questions, rather than reading from a book or worksheet, will encourage them to engage with their learning more deeply, as well as make them more confident with question forms.
- You could ask SS to write up their answers to a set of questions for homework.