In the presentation stage of a lesson (usually the very first part of the lesson after the warmer) it is often the teacher who talks while the students listen. Although this does not conform to the Communicative approach, there are ways to involve the students in this stage and get them thinking. The most important of which is known as eliciting. Briefly, eliciting means asking the students questions and drawing out of them suggestions, encouraging them to guess new words and to contribute things they have already learnt. The technique is illustrated in the following example.
T: (points to banana) What's this? Who can tell me?
T: Yes, good. Banana. Can you say it? Everybody 'banana'.
Ss: Banana (said a few times to remember).
T: What about this? (points to pear) It's a … a p… a p…
T: A pear. Everybody, 'pear'.
Ss: Pear. (said a few times to remember)
After five or six new words have been presented and drilled, it is a good idea to hold them up one-by-one in a random order and get students to repeat what it is. This further enables the students to remember these words. As illustrated below:
T: (Holds up pear).
T: How do we spell pear?
Ss: P – E – A – R
T: (writes word on board).
Some Important Points About Eliciting
Eliciting involves the whole class by focussing students' attention and making them think. This is true even when the students don't know the word being elicited.
Eliciting encourages students to draw on what they already know or partly know. It is therefore useful for mixed ability classes or classes with students from different learning backgrounds, where students know different things.
Eliciting affords teachers the opportunity of seeing what their students know and what they don't know; thus allowing the teacher to adapt the presentation to the class.
Eliciting takes longer than the straightforward presentation of new items (simply telling them the new word with no eliciting). Given this, most teachers are inclined to use a mixture of the two.