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Asking Questions - Advanced Level

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Speaking Skills - Asking Questions

Speaking skills include the ability to listen, and that means asking meaningful questions. In class, teachers often take over the task of asking probing questions, but sometimes the students don't quite enough practice in this essential task in any conversation. This lesson plan focuses on helping students improve their question asking skills to move beyond just basic questions.

Students - even higher level students - often run into problems when asking questions. This is due to a number of causes: i.e., teachers are the ones that usually ask questions, the inversion of the auxiliary verb and subject can be especially tricky for many students. This simple lesson focuses on helping higher (intermediate to upper intermediate) level students focus on some of the more difficult question forms.

Aim: Improving speaking confidence when using question difficult question forms

Activity: Intensive review of advanced question forms followed by student gap question exercises.

Level: Intermediate to upper intermediate

Outline:

  • Focus on auxiliary verb usage by making a number of statements in tenses the students are familiar with. Ask students to identify the auxiliary verb in each case.
  • Ask a student or students to explain the underlying scheme of the object question form (i.e., ? word Auxiliary Subject Verb). Have students give a number of examples in different tenses.
  • Review the question forms of some of the more difficult tenses and constructions such as: conditionals, used to, present perfect continuous, past perfect, etc.
  • Split students up into pairs. Distribute worksheet and ask students to ask an appropriate questions for the given answer taking turns.
  • Follow-up check of questions either by circulating through the student pairs or as a group.
  • Ask students to each take the second exercise (one for Student A the other for Student B) and complete the gaps by asking their partner for the missing information.
  • Solidify question forms by quickly playing a verb inversion game using the various tenses (i.e., Teacher: I live in the city. Student: Where do you live? etc.)
Asking Questions

Exercise 1: Ask an appropriate question for the response

  • It was really rather wet and windy with temperatures well below normal.
  • Since eight o'clock this morning.
  • I was cleaning up.
  • I'd buy a new house.
  • She can't be at home, I tried to call her a few minutes ago.
  • Why don't you go shopping?
  • For about 2 years.

Exercise 2: Ask questions to fill the gaps with the missing information

Student A

The last few weeks have been very difficult for my friend ______. He discovered that he hadn't insured his car after his car was stolen __________. He immediately went to his insurance agent, but she told him that he had only bought ____________, and not against theft. He became really angry and ________________, but, of course, he didn't do that in the end. So, he hasn't been driving for the past two weeks, but ___________ to get to work. He works at a company about 15 miles from his home in __________. It used to take him only twenty minutes to get to work. Now, he has to get up at ___________ in order to catch the seven o'clock bus. If he had more money, he would ___________. Unfortunately, he had just spent most of his savings on an _____________ before his car was stolen. He had a wonderful time in Hawaii, but he now says that if he hadn't gone to Hawaii, he wouldn't be having all these problems now. Poor guy.

Student B

The last few weeks have been very difficult for my friend Jason. He discovered that _______________ after his car was stolen three weeks ago. He immediately went to his ___________, but she told him that he had only bought a policy against accidents, and not ________. He became really angry and threatened to sue the company, but, of course, he didn't do that in the end. So, he hasn't been ___________ for the past two weeks, but has been taking the bus to get to work. He works at a company about __________ from his home in Davonford. It used to take him ____________ to get to work. Now, he has to get up at six o'clock __________________________. If he had more money, he would buy a new car. Unfortunately, he had just __________________ on an exotic vacation to Hawaii before his car was stolen. He had a wonderful time in Hawaii, but he now says that if _______________, he wouldn't be having all these problems now. Poor guy.
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