Circling and PQA: Empowering ESL Learners with Second Language Acquisition Techniques

16 Jul 2023 | ESLteachers

Two powerful techniques that align seamlessly with the SLA teaching model are Circling and Personalized Questions and Answers (PQA). In this blog, we will explore how these techniques contribute to SLA learning and provide practical examples of how to apply them effectively in ESL classrooms.

Watch this video to learn how to incorporate Circling and PQA into your classroom step-by-step

The Power of Circling and PQA

Circling and PQA are rooted in the principles of SLA theory, which emphasizes the importance of comprehensible input, interaction, and meaningful communication. Let’s see how these techniques align with these principles:

1. Comprehensible Input:

Circling and PQA are designed to provide students with language input that is clear, engaging, and tailored to their proficiency level. By using repetition and variations of vocabulary and structures, these techniques ensure that learners are exposed to comprehensible input that gradually challenges them to progress.

2. Interaction and Communication:

Both Circling and PQA foster interaction between the teacher and students, as well as among students themselves. These techniques encourage students to listen, respond, and participate actively in the learning process, mirroring the real-world language use advocated by SLA theory.

Practical Application in the ESL Classroom

Let’s dive into practical examples of how to apply Circling and PQA techniques to enhance ESL learning:

3. Circling:

Circling involves asking a series of questions about a sentence or statement to ensure students understand and can respond accurately. For example, if you introduce the sentence “She loves to play the guitar,” you can circle by asking:

  • “Who loves to play the guitar?”
  • “What does she love to play?”
  • “Does she love to play the piano?”

This technique helps reinforce vocabulary and sentence structures while ensuring comprehension.

4. Personalized Questions and Answers (PQA):

PQA involves asking open-ended questions that are personalized to the students’ lives and experiences. For example, if you’re discussing hobbies, you can ask:

  • “What’s your favorite hobby?”
  • “Why do you enjoy it?”
  • “Have you ever taught someone else your hobby?”

PQA encourages students to express themselves, promoting meaningful communication and the integration of language into their daily lives.

5. Storytelling:

Incorporate storytelling into your ESL lessons using Circling and PQA. Begin with a simple story or dialogue and use circling to explore details and PQA to encourage students to share their own related experiences or opinions. This approach not only enhances listening and comprehension but also encourages students to use the language creatively. In our next blog, we will share more details of how you can use Storytelling to teach vocabulary and grammar while creating a fun and engaging classroom.