Tips for Working with ESL Students
Techniques for Questioning ESL Students
Within the tutoring session, frequently check students’ comprehension to make sure they really understand concepts. ESL students may nod their heads as though they understand when they really don’t. Encourage participation and check comprehension in non- threatening ways, and provide cooperative experiences by using the following techniques.
Most Difficult: Wh- questions (Who, What, Where, When, Why, Which & How) “Why is A more difficult?”
Easier: OR questions. “Which is more difficult, A or B?”
Easiest: YES / NO questions check comprehension, but do not rely on this strategy too much. “Is this difficult for you?”
Begin with the most difficult question type. If these cannot be answered by the student, try a less difficult level to help them understand what you’re asking; then work toward the more difficult levels.
Compiled by Tracy Henniger-Chiang (1997), Director of Global Language Institute; UW-River Falls.