This term is frequently used in relation to English language teaching to refer to the techniques a teacher can use to ensure that the students provide the maximum amount of information during a lesson, rather than simply being told everything by the teacher. If done correctly, this process can draw a surprising amount of existing knowledge from within the student group that can then be developed further by the teacher. Vocabulary and grammar structures that are developed in this way are far more likely to be memorable to the student in the long term than language that is simply provided by the teacher alone. Using elicitation in the classroom can also lead to a more student focused environment which is generally more stimulating for the class as a whole.
Simple elicitation techniques include the use of visual items such as pictures, photographs, freehand drawing and real objects to draw vocabulary from the class. Other examples include using mime, dialogue and example sentences on the whiteboard to encourage the student’s input.