Let your students know they will be working with an ESOL class for a few periods. Pair each
student from your class with an ESOL student. Your students will be reporters and find out as
much as they can about their partners. Remind your students that because English is not an
ESOL student's first language, it might be difficult to communicate. They will need to be patient
and sensitive, and if necessary, use other methods of communication, such as gestures or
1. As a group, make a list of potential questions to ask the ESOL students. (Remind your
students to focus more on the ESOL student's country and culture rather than on personal
2. Arrange a class period for the two classes to be together, and pair up the students.
3. Let the pairs spread out around the room or in the hallway for more private conversations.
4. Have your students interview the ESOL students for 20-30 minutes. They may use a video
camera and microphone, or paper and pen. They may also want to take still photos.
5. Your students then take their notes and write a story about the ESOL student's life, or edit a
video mini-profile on the computer, depending on the medium being used. (Remind
students that their stories should have a beginning, middle and end, and include conflict
6. Bring the classes and pairs of students together one more time, and have the ESOL
students read or view what's been created about their lives and check to make sure it's
7. With permission from the ESOL students, put the photos and stories together and publish
them in the school newspaper; create a separate magazine to be distributed throughout the
school; or broadcast mini-documentaries on the school's television station.
Arrange to have a regular column in the school newspaper about students who are recent
arrivals from other countries. For each edition assign a different student reporter or pair of
reporters to interview a newly arrived student and write a profile for the column. If students
work in pairs, one can conduct the interview and the other can write a sketch of the student's
country of origin. Give the student reporters the list of
Standard interview questions
Caution them to avoid delving into very personal matters as this may be an area of particular
sensitivity for the new student.
Alternative 1: Have the reporters write a general article about all the new students from a
particular country, with just a line about each individual. The article can be accompanied by a
Alternative 2: If your school does not have students who have recently arrived from other
countries, the column can focus on what other cultures have brought to the local community.
See Cultural Contributions, below.
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