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Risk Questions for ESL Students

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a bachelor's degree in English Education from the University of Delaware, and a master's in TESOL Literacy from Wilmington University.

In this lesson, teachers will learn about discussing risk with English as a Second Language (ESL) students. A list of sample questions about risk-taking will be included.

Taking Risks

Risk-taking is a part of life. Some people only take small risks when absolutely necessary, such as taking the longer route to work due to heavy traffic. Other people are thrill-seekers who gamble their money, make spontaneous decisions, and engage in extreme sports. Most people probably fall somewhere in between.

You can help engage ESL students in discussions about risk-taking activities in order to improve their oral language development and social interaction skills. Here are some sample questions you could provide to students for partner or small-group discussion activities:

Questions About Students' Background Knowledge

  • What does it mean to 'take a risk?'
  • What are some of the risks associated with smoking cigarettes?
  • What are some of the risks associated with texting while driving?
  • What are some of the risks associated with drinking alcohol?
  • What are some of the risks associated with pregnancy?
  • What are some of the risks associated with driving a car?
  • What are some of the risks associated with poor dental hygiene?
  • What are some of the risks associated with eating too much junk food?
  • What are some of the risks associated with eating too much sugar?
  • What are some of the risks associated with sunbathing?
  • What are some of the risks associated with gambling?

Questions About Students' Experiences

  • What is the biggest risk you've ever taken? What was the outcome?
  • Have you ever gambled? What was the outcome?
  • Have you ever played the lottery? What was the outcome?
  • Have you ever lost a bet? What did you wager?
  • Have you ever taken a risk and then regretted it? What happened?
  • Have you ever wished you had taken more of a risk? When?
  • Have you ever participated in an extreme sport? What was it?
  • What do you think is the riskiest thing you do on a regular basis?
  • Do you always wear your seatbelt while driving? Why or why not?
  • Have you ever hitchhiked or picked up a hitch-hiker? If so, describe the experience.
  • Have you ever been on a motorcycle?
  • Have you ever risked your life for someone or something? Explain.

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