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ESL forum > Ask for help > Closed questions    

Closed questions

United Kingdom

Closed questions
´Closed questions are bad. Open questions are good. ´ I am sick of hearing this! Closed questions are excellent for teaching EAL. You can give the answer in the question, thus teaching the point,  and then move on to modelling full sentences. E.g. ´Is the table red or black? ´ Good - so the table is.... ´ Then the student says the whole sentence. Has anyone got any materials to show the benefits of closed questioning? Am I even right about this?

1 Dec 2014      


I think there is nothing wrong with closed question as long as they are used for teaching. And you, I am convinced, have got the right technique to use them efficiently.

1 Dec 2014     

United States

Using closed questions is very effective when paired with props, too. Example: Do you want the red circle or the green one?
Do you want the seven or eight? (The teacher has cutouts of the shapes and numbers in various colors and she hands them out to beginners, using the questions above).

This technique was demonstrated at Concordia Foreign Language Summer Program.

1 Dec 2014     


Hi, Lynne, I ´m not sure if the following link is what you are looking for.

2 Dec 2014     

United States

Open questions are necessary if you want to start a discussion, but that isn ´t always the purpose of a question. For vocabulary, a question such as "What is this?" Is more useful. Bruce

2 Dec 2014     


all the stuff about "communicative language learning" but most of the "communication" i hear is not authentic. it is not difficult to choose questions which are authentic even at elementary level. "do you like dogs?"  "do you have a dog?" or in the case of my beautiful new student, "do you have a boyfriend?" 

even with numbers to twelve the questions are authentic. there are two big dice. student A rolls/hides and asks "how many? a student asks "is it seven?" we then use more/less than. i have done this this weekend with very young beginners. i pre-teach more and less and correct  pronunciation [eg six instead of sick] but the questions are authentic.

my puppets use controlled language -i accept that there is a need for both.

does anyone know a similar site for teens and adults? - i have many successful ideas [they work - i am not being conceited] and would like them to live on after my wife has finally worn me out [stress, not pleasure!].

2 Dec 2014     

United Kingdom

Thank you for your answers... and your ideas, frere. Long may you survive!

3 Dec 2014