Lesson 7: Group work – preparing questions

Lesson objectives

  • Explain what makes a good listener and an effective question in a discussion
  • Prepare a range of questions to ask a visiting speaker next lesson

Starter (10 minutes)

Remind pupils that while we often take listening for granted, effective listening is an important skill. In pairs, pupils have five minutes to list what they think makes a good listener, share their thoughts and agree on at least three important characteristics/skills.

Take examples from pairs and on IWB/flipchart compile a class list of skills of a good listener.

Main (35 minutes)

Ask pupils to add to the class list the listening skills required to aid a successful discussion. Teacher models examples of open and closed questions then asks pairs to some up with two examples of each, related to what was on TV this week.

Let pupils know that an outside speaker from one of the emergency services will be coming into school next lesson and share examples of interview questions that elicit more than a one word or short answer, for example:

  • Do you agree that…?
  • What would happen if…?
  • Could you describe what happens when…?



Groups prepare questions to ask the visiting speaker(s) next lesson. To help pupils generate questions suggest they use a KWL grid (what I know, what I want to know, what I have learned) which can be added to over the next two lessons.


Teacher/teaching assistant (TA) supports a group in preparing useful questions to ask. Teacher/TA models one or two questions as suggested examples. In pairs pupils think of two open and two closed questions and then share them with the rest of the group, who suggest ways to improve them and make them more productive.

Plenary (15 minutes)

Take examples of questions from each group. Create class list on IWB/flipchart. Pupils then decide which five questions are likely to be most useful for moving the discussion forward. Are there any follow-up questions that could come from the initial question? Recall lesson objectives and remind pupils of listening skills and the importance of body language and facial expressions in communication.

Pupils complete their journals, highlighting examples of when they listened well, contributed an effective question and identify a personal goal for their listening and questioning in their lessons over the coming week.


interactive whiteboard (IWB)/flipchart; resource SL1.1a; pupils’ journals

Suggested focus words

  • listen, useful, visitor, speaker, skill
  • question, improve, progress, effective, goal.