Ask Good Questions
Writing good DISCUSSION questions
A good discussion questions asks about OPINION or EXPERIENCE or PLANS.
- This is not a quiz. No questions that have correct answers
- How many people live in Tokyo?
- What is the capital of Yemen?
- This is not a dissertation (論文). No questions that need research
- How can we reduce water pollution in Bangladesh?
- What is the solution to poverty in Vietnam?
- No questions with obvious answers.
- Have you ever been to Paraguay?
- Do you think war is bad?
- No lazy questions. The following are BANNED.
- “Do you know TOPIC” (Of course they do! You just explained it!)
- “What do you think about TOPIC?”
- “What is your image of TOPIC”
- “How do you feel about TOPIC”
- Instead, be specific e.g. “Do you think that X is Y?”
- If I ask you to write three questions, they must start three different discussions.
- 1) Do you like dogs
- 2) Do you want dogs
- 3) Do you have dogs
Here are some patterns to follow
- Use the patterns but change the content.
- e.g. When did you last go shopping? —> When did you last see a movie?
- Do you have any brothers and sisters? —> Do you have any pets
- Some content ideas for small talk:
- Friends, Food and drink, Music,
- Pets, Shopping, Travel, TV and movies,
- Sports, Games, Gadgets,
- Work, Books, School
- What are you going to eat tonight?
- What game will you buy next?
- What movie do you want to watch next
(Habits, daily life, personal questions)
- What do you usually have for breakfast?
- Do you often go to karaoke?
- Do you have any brothers and sisters?
- How often do you watch music videos on YouTube?
- How do you get to school?
- Do you still see your HS friends?
- How do you find new music?
- Can you play an instrument?
Past, Present Perfect
- What was your favourite TV show (when you were small)?
- What’s the first CD you ever bought?
- What’s the last movie you saw?
- What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
- When did you last go shopping?
- Where did you buy your shirt?
- Where have you been in Japan?
- Have you ever been to Okinawa?
- Have you ever bought stuff at a flea market?
- What’s a good place to buy English books?
- Where do you think I should do a study abroad?
- Which do you think is best – hotel or homestay?
- Do you like karaoke?
- Do you prefer the country or the city?
- Who’s your favourite Japanese artist?
- What’s your favourite restaurant?
- What kind of movie do you like?
- Do you think it’s OK to keep animals in zoos?
- (See discussion phrase sheet for more)
Imagination patterns (“conditionals”)
- Would you ever become vegetarian?
- What would you do if you got sick in another country?
- Where would you like to go on holiday?
Put “category” in right place
- What countries have you been to?
- What kind of movie do you watch?
- Which country would you like to work in?