Eliciting from Pictures

A very easy way to elicit new vocabulary is by the use of pictures. Look at the picture below and decide what questions you might ask in order to elicit new vocabulary from students.

Perhaps the picture is accompanied by a text and could be used to get the students (S) thinking about the theme of the text before reading it. Then the teacher (T) is very likely to use the picture to pre-teach any new vocabulary necessary for reading the text. So when the students read the text the new vocabulary will be clear and understood.

T:  Who are these people? Where are they?
S:  Swimmers. They're at a swimming pool. 
T:  What are they wearing?
S:  Bathing caps, goggles and swimming costumes.
T:  What are they doing? 
S:  They're diving into the swimming pool. They're having a race.

Obviously, it is unlikely that the students would know all of the vocabulary. Especially things like 'goggles' and 'bathing caps'. In which case the teacher would give them the new words. By trying first to elicit them the teacher is focussing the students' attention on them and they will listen with more interest and so are more likely to remember the words.

Guessing and Imagining

So far we have only considered eliciting factual information. It is, of course, perfectly possible to elicit other things too. For instance, still using the picture above, we could elicit that the event might be a national championship or an Olympic trial. We could elicit things such as what swimming stroke they might use or what the outcome of the race will be. Questions like 'What happens next?' will elicit a response from the students, which is based on their imagination.

Just Checking

Eliciting is also used to check students' knowledge of grammar structures. This is done with questions such as 'Who can tell me the form of the Present Perfect?' etc. If it is too difficult for them, write an example sentence for them first.


T:   (on board) I have taken eight pictures today.
S:   Subject + Have/Has + 3rd Form of Verb 
T:   Writes this on board

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