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Skills and Best Practices

Use of Surveys and Interviews

Using surveys and interviewing is an excellent way to build confidence in a student’s oral language skills. This is especially important for students learning English for the first time. Writing the survey questions also provides the opportunity for less confident students to interact with others in a cooperative group setting.

This site provides some excellent strategies for using surveys and interview to work with this type of student. For example, this site suggests developing and using surveys will:

  • Promote the development of your English Language Learners’ 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

Specifically, surveys will give 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
  • Construction of oral questions
  • Construction of a chart-synthesizing information
  • Record information accurately

Teaching Social Studies Through Literature

Carole J. Wilkinson, Teacher-in-Residence of the Delaware Social Studies Education Project states:

The elementary teacher need not always squeeze social studies into a separate spot in a schedule already bursting at the seams. Teach social studies through literature and infuse life into subjects that children, heretofore, may have thought they didn’t like. A good story stimulates interest in the history, geography, economics, and civics that contribute to its dynamic character. Take it from there.


This site offers numerous suggestions and strategies for doing this. It also provides a wealth of additional resources. It also suggests that asking students questions about what they read provides the opportunity to planning the writing experience. For example, when discussing Foster’s War, following guide questions provide the information for an informative paragraph:

  • What activities did Foster and other members of his family participate in that supported the war effort?
  • From your contact with people you have interviewed, what other activities supported the war effort?
  • From the primary sources you have explored, what additional activities supported the war effort?
  • Have you explained why each activity is important?
  • What order will best present your ideas logically and clearly?
  • Is your sentence structure clear?
  • Have you corrected errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc.?
Updated January 31, 2023 4:24pm