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Yes-No Questions as a Research Tool

Submitted by Lester John A. Cajes, Las Piñas National High School, Philippines

Students perform better when they realize that what they are learning is relevant to their current needs and interest. For instance, teaching the structure of yes-no questions to students of a research-oriented program can be integrated with making a survey form or a questionnaire. In this case, the students will find it highly necessary to learn how to write accurate questions to be able to come up with presentable survey tools that will not only enhance their research but also impress their survey respondents who might be their peers as well.

Here are the steps.

  1. Present examples in class, and let the students discover the pattern in formulating yes-no questions. Let them transform statements into questions and vice versa for further familiarization.
  2. Let the students think of a topic that they may use in an actual research, e.g., study habits, choosing friends or peers, school club preference.
  3. Ask the students to work in groups (3 to 4 members look fine) and draft questions that will let them gather information as regards their chosen topic. Then, they have to decide on whether their target response is a simple “yes or no” or a range of options, e.g., never, seldom, often, and always. Remind them to make their questions clear and concise. They should also avoid using negative markers such as “not” and “never” to avoid making their respondents confused.
  4. Collect their drafts and give comments on their content and grammar. Let them revise until all the questions become accurate and appropriate.
  5. After finalizing the questionnaire, ask the students to prepare for the actual survey. Have a brief discussion on the lines or spiels and procedures that have to be observed. Once ready, send them to the battlefield; let them conduct the survey.
  6. Finally, let the students use graphs or tables to present the data they have gathered. Then, they interpret such figures in linear form. At this point, they have to make sure that the information is properly transcoded from linear form to non-linear form or vice versa. Well, that’s another language skill for them to refine. See, this activity lets you hit two birds (even several birds) with one stone.

The Implementation of Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy

Submitted by Elih Sutisna Yanto, Universitas Singaperbangsa, Indonesia

Pre-reading activity

Viewing Video

This activity is the first step for implementing vocabulary self-collection strategy (VSS). The teacher takes a clip from a video containing second language research terminologies. Once the teacher has the video, extract all vocabulary items related to the second language research terminologies that students need to know to comprehend the text and include them in a list that teacher can complete with other relevant words of the second language research terminologies that are not included in the video. Through modelling the process of using the VSS, the teacher demonstrates how to use the strategy.

Teacher scaffolding

The teacher then projects a copy of the text in the video on LCD and uses a think-aloud as a way of modelling how to select words that are important for understanding the reading. The teacher indicates his interest in a word that may result from his not knowing the word, or finding it difficult or interesting. He shares with the class the need to know something more about the word to understand the text. The teacher, then project a graphic organizer that includes a box for the word, the reason for selecting the word, and the definition of the word as shown in Figure 2.1, Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy Chart. He writes the word in the appropriate box, says the word, and ask the students why they think he chose this word as an important one for leaning. He then writes the reason in the appropriate box. Next step, the teacher defines the word, writing the definition in the next box. Finally, the teacher consults the dictionary about the word’s definition.

2.2. During reading activity

The teachers directs the students to view video containing second language research terminologies. After viewing the video to do the following

  1. After viewing the video, revisit the text and select at least five words that they think are important to their understanding of the readings or that they found interesting or challenging.
  2. Complete the VSS student Chart in figure 2.1 that directs them to write the word, they found it at what page, the reason for selecting the word, and a definition of the word if they know it and finally consult dictionary the definition.

2.3. Post reading activity

Forming groups

Students are divided into small groups that can be formed based on a teacher decision, a student preference, a mixture of genders, a mixture of students’ proficiency level in language and reading abilities. More critically, a teacher facilitates students to form groups in order to the mutual agreement about composing together can be reached through negotiation between teacher and students or between individual members of each group.

The groups will focus their discussions on the words they have selected and their reasons for choosing the words. Through their texts and completed VSS charts, each group is directed to do the following:

  1. The group appoints one student to act as leader whose role is to keep the discussion moving as they focus their talk on the words they have selected.
  2. Each student submits one word he or she has selected and provides the reason for choosing the word that becomes the focus of the discussion. The discussion may center on the word’s meaning, the importance of the word in understanding the reading, whether the members of the group selected the word, or another reason. The group then decides whether the word should be selected for the group chart.
  3. The group leader uses the group chart to record the word, the reason it has been selected by the group, and the word’s contextual definition. Each group limits the number of words included on the VSS chart to five.
  4. Writing the contextual meaning of each word is the last step of using the VSS. Students then validate the meaning of each word through the use of the dictionary both printed or electronic dictionaries or the glossary that may be found in the text.
  5. After the small-group discussion, the teacher brings the groups together for a class discussion. Each group leader reports to the class, providing the list of words selected by the small group. The teacher or student records the words on the VSS class chart, along with reasons for choosing the word and the contextual meanings.
  6. The teacher may list additional words overlooked by students that are required for understanding the text. For words with a high-difficulty level that the students do not understand, the teacher provides direct instruction, focusing on the words’ contextual meaning.