Questioning Techniques


  • Use verbal prompts. Phrases such as 'go on', 'could you tell me more' and 'that's interesting' do much the same job as non-verbal prompting.

  • Ask open-ended questions. They encourage a wide range of replies and allow the learner to open up.

  • Repeat key words. Sometimes it's useful to repeat one or two words the speaker has said. For example, if the learner said 'I don't know. I guess I feel a bit muddled' you could reply 'Muddled?' It encourages them to say more without a long question that breaks their train of thought.

  • Check and clarify your impressions. Use sentences that begin 'It seems to me that ...' or 'I get the idea that ...'. This can do two things. Learners believe they're being listened to and understood. Second, you can check you have understood.

  • Avoid asking two questions at once. Try to keep your questions simple and to the point - and think twice before offering clarification. If you allow enough time your first question will usually produce a response.
Last modified: Wednesday, 25 May 2011, 7:53 PM