Content-based Surveys and Interviews
by Judie Haynes
Get your English language learners involved in content area learning. Promote the development of your ELLs' oral language skills and content area vocabulary through oral surveys written in a cooperative group setting.
Surveys provide your English language learners with a real reason to communicate with everyone in their mainstream class. They learn how to ask questions and acquire new content area vocabulary. Classmates become involved in your newcomers' second language acquisition. Oral English and social skills are further developed when ELLs report their results to their cooperative group.
Taking surveys gives your students practice in the following areas:
- acquisition and use of content area vocabulary
- preparation of a survey
- interaction and negotiation of meaning with English-speaking peers
- contruction of oral questions
- construction of a chart synthesizing information
- record information accurately
1. Combine your survey assignment with a content area lesson. Break your students into cooperative groups. Assign what you normally would to the group but add a survey piece for your ELLs. For example, if your class is studying the rain forest, students in cooperative groups may be each studying a different kind of rain forest animal. They might be required to divide the research on the animal among the members of the group. The newcomer could be assigned a survey about “favorite rain forest animals. “ A newcomer does not need to ask survey questions that require complicated answers. For example, a questionnaire requiring “yes” “no” or one-word responses could be used with beginners.
2. Develop the vocabulary needed for the survey. Your second language learners should develop the questions with the aid of their group.
3. Give each ELL a clipboard, a pencil, and the survey form responses within their cooperative group.
4. If your survey fits, download blank survey form. Explain to students that only one name goes in each box. The person interviewed writes their name in the box above their response.
5. Have classmates take newcomers on a short trip around your school to find people to interview. This gives them practice so that they can go back to their classrooms and survey members of all of the cooperative groups.
6. Students then bring their completed surveys back to their cooperative group and report the results. Review expressions such as “more than” “less than,” the most,” and “ the least.”
7. There are several ways this information can be used. Students can:
- write statements or answer questions about their survey.
- make an individual chart of their responses
- combine their answers and construct a chart
© 1998-2004 Judie Haynes, www.everythingESL.net