Surveys and questionnaires are a great way to get your students autonomously conversing with each other.
An Interview Activity for Getting to Know Each Other
This interview activity is ideal for a first lesson. It’s simple to set up and works well for most levels above Beginner.
Sketch or print out this framework interview template, You can use one or use two sides depending on how long you want the activity to last.
At the top of each row is a space for a topic title. Think of some topics that might be of interest to the group and write one on the line at the top of each box.
ESL Topics I sometimes use include work, movies and TV, music, free time activities, whatever town you’re teaching in, sport, food, English, holidays, politics, technology, the environment, etc.
Give a sheet to each student and go round the class brainstorming questions for each topic, invite students to write interesting questions on the sheet.
When you have questions for each topic, put students in pairs and get them to interview each other using the question sheet. This is not a writing activity so students should only write keywords and short notes in the smaller space provided to the right of each question.
When the interviews have finished (for ten questions this can take up to 30 minutes) get the students to report what they have found out about their partner and encourage further questions to be asked from the class as and when interesting pieces of information emerge.
Interview Activity Printables
Single Question Surveys
Single question surveys work well with lower level classes. Each student is armed with only one question which they have to ask each of the other students in turn. One advantage of this method is that you can give weaker students an easier question and stronger students more complex ones.
Give each student their question, for example in a cut-up form (see example PDFs), or have them come up with the questions themselves and then decide who will ask which question. Students then circulate and ask the other students their question and note keywords and details down. They must also, of course, answer the question put to them by their interviewee.
When the surveys have been completed, have the students sit back down and give a report to the class about their findings. This could also take the form of a written report for homework, etc.
Students work with a partner to complete a printed survey. The results are shared and discussed with the class after the exercise.