Quick Activity Idea: Student-Generated Questionnaires



The following activity is from James’s poster presentation from the November 2013 NYS TESOL Convention on student-generated learning. There are multiple advantages to having the students prepare the materials you use in class.  In addition to minimizing teachers’ preparation, it also maximizes students’ learning by creating more learning opportunities; helping to develop important critical thinking skills; and improving students’ communicative ability and further developing their language skills. In addition, students can learn from each other when working collaboratively on a task; it can deepen their understanding of what they are studying; and, in exam preparation classes, it can deepen their understanding of proficiency tests, providing a positive wash-back effect.

So, what are you waiting for?! Start having your students generating their own materials! Here is one activity that you can use. More to follow in the coming months.   

QUESTIONNAIRES FOR SPEAKING PRACTICE (e.g., Second Conditional Questionnaire)

A. Generating the Materials

  1. Activate schema and generate ideas by asking the students to brainstorm situations in which they have (or might have) told ‘white lies’ or not been completely honest about something.
  2. Give students first two multiple choice questions (as a model) and the root of the next 2 questions of a “Be Honest” survey. For example:

1. If you had a small accident while you were driving your parent’s car, would you…
(a) check first if they were in a good mood.
(b) say nothing and hope they didn’t notice.
(c) tell them as soon as you arrived home.

2. If you went shopping with your new date & an old girl/boyfriend waved at you, would you…
(a) wave back and tell your date all about them.
(b) ignore them.
(c) wave back, but pretend you didn’t know who it was.

3. If your parents gave you a present you didn’t like, would you…

4. If your best friend was wearing a hat that you thought looked terrible, would you…

5 to 10 you create :).

  1. Working in pairs, students create choices for Q 3 and 4 and create complete questions for Q 5-10.
  2. Teacher monitors and corrects as necessary.

B. Application / Use of Materials

  1. Students then mingle and ask other students their questions.
  2. Then students go back to their pairs and compare results.
  3. Students can compile a summary report (written) and then share their findings with the whole class.



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