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August 22, 2007

Lesson Plans- Questionnaires

Hello Readers,

This lesson is for those of you who are preparing your students to write research papers, whether it's in a writing class, a foundation year class, or an EAP class, though it could also be used to some extent for teaching adverbs of frequency (e.g. always, sometimes, never). Teaching your students about questionnaires is a great way to...

...make a writing class interactive and fun.

1. Distribute short questionnaire for students to complete.
For example:
a. How long have you been studying English? [less than 1 year/1-3 years/4-5 years/more than 5 years] b. Which skill do you find the most difficult in learning English? [reading/writing/speaking/listening/they are all equally difficult]
c. Why are you studying English? [for fun/it's a requirement/to get a better job/other: ]

2. In small groups, discuss what makes a good questionnaire.

Easy to read
Easy to answer
Short and concise
Unbiased questions

3. Feedback

4. Look at sample of poorly written questions on a questionnaire; discuss how to improve the questions
eg. Do you like taking a bus into town and going out to eat?
(Comment: This question is asking two things. Some people might like taking a bus into town, but not going out to eat, while others might like going out to eat, but not taking a bus into town.)

5. Look at sample of well-written questions; discuss why they are good examples.
e.g. (See 1a. above)
Comment: a. There is no overlap in the answers.

6. Look at different ways to answer questions:

open-questions: eg. How do you learn new vocabulary words? _________________________
closed-questions: eg. [tick boxes]: Which of the following strategies do you use to learn new vocabulary words?
[write word in vocabulary notebook/use flashcards/use word in a sentence/repeat the word]
[likert scale]: How often do you use flashcards to learn new vocabulary words?

7. What are the pros/cons of using the different types of answers mentioned above?

Suggested answers:
open-questions: allows students the option of giving true answer, students may not know how to answer, it's difficult to analyze, it takes longer to answer
closed-questions: doesn't take much time to answer, easier to analyze, may push students into a category

8. In small groups, students create questionnaires for the following titles (one title/group):
attitudes to speaking English
how students spend their weekends
opinions of men-women equality
attitudes to pets

Tip: If you have an OHP, give each group a transparency and a marker to write their questionnaire on

9. Have each group present their questionnaire and allow time for students to write their answers down on paper. Discuss each questionnaire: suggest ways to improve it and comment on what was done well

Extended Activity: Groups make changes to their questionnaires, distribute them, write a group paper, present results.

Alternative Activity: Use this as a follow-up to a grammar lesson on adverbs of frequency; require all answer options to be adverbs of frequency.

For more information about designing questionnaires, go to: http://student.bmj.com/back_issues/0601/education/187.html

For more information on what makes a good questionnaire, go to: http://www.drkenhunt.com/papers/question.html

For more information about adverbs of frequency, go to the following link: http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/adverbs-frequency.htm

Hope that helps!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

Looking for more articles about lesson planning for the ESL classroom? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students of all ages and levels. She worked at universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, and did private tutoring as well. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she also writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at August 22, 2007 04:45 AM

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