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18 Survey and follow-up discussion

János Blasszauer

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Lesson plan


Questions / instructions

What students do

How students work

What you need

Introductory mini-survey / warm-up
10 min Identifying movie preferences
Questionnaire about movies
Reading comprehension, writing individually Online survey

5 min

Teacher gets students engaged in talking
about movies. (follow up short discussion based on survey result)

whole class

Tallied survey result online


General introduction

In this introductory section of the content-based lesson on movies students are asked to fill out an online survey and afterwards, based on the survey findings, to carry out a little conversation to kick-off the lesson and arouse students’ interest towards the topic. The main idea is that each student answers the survey questions and after that the teacher shows the tallied results – the online software does the tallying immediately – which can give a lot of food for thought. This activity enhances students’ enthusiasm towards a specific topic, and it serves as a springboard for a great warm-up conversation thus motivating students and getting them engaged in the lesson.

The activity step by step

1.  Students go to the website where the survey is. In my case at the “Virtual English School” (based on a Moodle platform) I have created a section called “Movies” In this section I collect all the links that I want my students to visit. So they just click on the hyperlink and get to the survey site.

2. Students fill out the survey.

3. Teacher projects the tallied results – the online program can automatically tally them – by projecting his screen to the students’ monitors. Alternatively, he could project the results by a projector.

4. Now students are invited to comment on the results.

5. Based on the findings some students report to the whole class on what they have learnt.

6. Teacher praises students and by giving them a feeling of success he sets the tone for the whole lesson.

General advice

Why use questionnaires? This activity is designed to be fun. You can use them at any time but mainly at the beginning of a lesson or at the end of it. You can design your survey questions that matches the topic of a unit in the course book, as well as your students’ language level. The activity is great to introduce some variety and excitement to the lesson. It is a great way to elicit/revise language and structures in an enjoyable way. Some questionnaires can be designed to be done in pairs, others in small groups. This techniques is suitable for both small and large classes, so whatever the size of your class, you will be able to use them. Usually I design my surveys to last from 5 to 15 minutes.

What about any new vocabulary? It might be a good idea to pre-teach unknown vocabulary before students begin. You could create an online glossary or choose to write any words you think your students don’t know on the board and then tell them to use an online dictionary to look them up. They can do this individually, or in groups (with each group looking up different words and then reporting back to the class). Alternatively, when students come across an unknown keyword they can highlight it and click on the Wordweb icon in their toolbar to get the definition of the word. WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words from in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. You can download it free of charge at:

Technical tips

If you want to design a similar lesson with your class, just click here, so that you can see what questions I put to my students. The good news is that you can design your own online survey and you don’t need any HTML knowledge at all. You just have to follow the simple instructions at a given survey creator site where you can build your survey free of charge. Dafne Gonzales has created a great page where she compares the free online survey creators. I have used the Survey Monkey tool to create my online questionnaire.

Preparation for class

First of all see the Technical Tips section above on what you have to check before class.

In case of a content-based lesson, you know best what survey suits your students so bear that in mind when designing your questions.

The following checklist might be useful.

1. Decide on the topic.

2. Decide which survey creator tool suits you best.

3. Create survey questions based on students’ language level and interest.

4. Decide how you will share the survey link.

5. Decide in what way you will discuss survey results (pairs, small groups, whole class).