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Absolute Beginner Questions with 'Who' and 'What'

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Now that students have learned a number of jobs, you can introduce questions with 'who' and 'what'.

Teacher: Ken, what are you? I am a teacher. (Model the next question to the students.)

Teacher: Susan, what are you?

Student(s): I am a nurse.

Teacher: Susan, ask Paolo a question.

Student(s): What are you?

Student(s): I am a student.

This exercise can get complicated because many of the students' jobs will not have been included. If this happens, point to a picture and then model a question pretending to be something from one of the pictures.

Part II: Who is a ...?

Teacher: What are you? I am a teacher. Who is a nurse? Susan is a nurse. (Model the difference between 'what' and 'who' by first asking yourself 'what are you?' and accenting the 'what' in the question and 'teacher' in the response. Next, show the difference by asking the question 'who is a ...' accenting 'who' in the question and the person in the response. This use of accenting differing words with your intonation helps students distinguish the differnce between thing and person.)

Teacher: Paolo, who is a policeman?

Student(s): Olaf is a policeman.

Teacher: Susan, who is a teacher.

Student(s): You are a teacher.

Continue this exercise around the room with each of the students. If a student makes a mistake, touch your ear to signal that the student should listen and then repeat his/her answer accenting what the student should have said.

Part II: Mixing up 'who' and 'what'

Teacher: Paolo, what are you?

Student(s): I am a clerk.

Teacher: Susan, who is a clerk?

Student(s): Paolo is a clerk.

Teacher: Olaf, what is Paolo?

Student(s): Paolo is a clerk.

Continue this exercise around the room with mixing 'what' and 'who' in the question form, be sure to also vary the questions using 'you', 'he' and 'she'.

Back to the Absolute Beginner 20 Point Program

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