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Liceo Cultural Britanico

Student: Cynthia Randerath

Observation 6
“Eliciting: Teacher prompts”
From “Classroom Observation Tasks” by Ruth Wajnryb

Level: 4
School B
Number of students: 5
Duration: 40 minutes

During this lesson I could record the following prompts of




1) One of the students asked: “Why is wrong 5 seconds Ah, the infinitive.
to say …She used to has….. and the teacher
asked to her: “What do we use after the
preposition TO ?

2) The students were working with passive 2 seconds Ah, yes in the
voice. They were checking their present.
homework and one of the students
passed the original sentence (which was
in the present) into the passive but using
the past. So the teacher asked to her: “Is
the sentence in the past or in the
3 seconds
3) Look at the picture. What does it look It is a bag.
like? 2 seconds
What kind of bag? A shopping bag.

5 seconds
“That we don’t
4) Tell me, if you had to think about the “That we can rest”
positive and negative side of the
“ It is too short”
weekend, what would you say?
2 seconds “ There is no
5) “Do you sleep late at weekends?
“I sleep late
What do you do?”
because I usually
go out”.
“ I rest but I don’t
sleep late because I
have to take care of
my children.”
 According to the data I collected, I noticed that there wasn’t a specific
pattern in the language of the teacher. She used different kinds of
questions. Some of them were closed as the first ones stated in the
chart, and others were open like the last ones. She also used
 I think that the questions used by the teacher can influence on how
the student respond, because some questions for example the
“closed” ones can suggest the answer. I mean that a question that
gives the students two possibilities can be easier to answer by them.
Sometimes, the broader the question is, the more difficult it is for the
student to get to the correct answer. I also think that we can link the
form of the response to the question. When we ask “closed
questions” we generally get short answers, and when we ask “open
questions” the answers tend to be longer and richer. (Examples of
these two cases can be seen in the chart above).
 In this lesson in particular, students respond very quickly and
generally they got to the point. So, the wait time was not very long
and students responded to the teacher with ease. Because of that, re-
formulations were not used by the teacher.
 Taking into account the different purposes that served eliciting, I think
that in questions number 1) and 2) the purpose was to allow the
teacher to get from students what they already know. She just made
the question to get students think in a certain direction. As regards
question number 3), I believe she used it as a lead into the reading
activity, she also added questions number 4) and 5) for that purpose
and also to make the text more personalized. By doing this, she
relates the text with the students´ thoughts and ideas.
 I think that it might be a link between the purpose of the question and
the form, if we make a distinction between closed and open
questions. I mean that, closed questions can serve to fewer purposes
that open ones, and generally the more open the question is, the
more information we can get. As regards the way the teacher
responds to students’ responses, the link might be connected to the
form of the question. That is to say, the teacher will be making new
questions according to what the student says, so the form of the
question will change according to what the teacher will try to get from
the student.
 In general, I like elicitation because I think that is more productive for
students. Besides, it makes more fun than just telling them the
correct rule or answer. However, in some cases it is necessary to tell
students, because we might lack of time or our students just might
not get the point.


As regards myself, I realized that I try to elicit a lot in my lessons.

Nevertheless, I have problems with the “wait time” because I do not like the
class to be in silence. Anyway, I learnt from this observation that elicitation
implies many purposes and not only getting a grammar rule from students.
It can sound strange, but I only connected elicitation to that purpose. All in
all, I realized that I elicit much more than I thought and I like this aspect
about my teaching.