Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 24 – Speaking – Encouraging Communication

There are several ways to encourage communication using questions.  As a teacher, I love asking the follow-up question technique.  If my student constantly gives me 1-7 word responses (with no open-ended answers), I would either create an easy task or have them read out loud.  Normally when a student is closed, it’s because they lack confidence.  I would encourage all teachers NOT to pressure them by continuing to ask the same question, putting them in an even more uncomfortable position and taking away the little bit of confidence they have.

Also, long pauses and awkward atmospheres is another horribly-sure-way to destroy a student’s confidence.  So, let’s go over some of these ways to help.

  • You can say when you didn’t hear or understand (surely for a lot of travelers out there instead of saying the big “WHAT?!)

I didn’t hear what you said about…..

Can you say that again?

I’m sorry?

Can/could you repeat that?

  • You can ask more information or explanation.

Could you explain that a bit more?

Let’s go back to what you said previously, (ask them another question on a part of their story they showed a lot of enthusiasm on) what made you do that?

What do you mean by that?

  • You can add a “prompt,” giving an example of a possible response?

I especially love these.  “What’s your favorite travel? Once I traveled to Bali and had the most amazing vacation ever!” (because they heard Bali, they heard the keyword which will prompt them to talk about an emotional memory).

  • Have you ever done charity work? Maybe volunteering, or raising money for a good cause?

Podcast

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