Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Friday, 4 March 2011

Your questions for a politician


Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron is used to answering questions from the media

By the end of this lesson, students will have devised a set of questions to put to a politician, whether it's for a face-to-face interview or a news conference.

Students begin by ranking a number of issues in terms of importance. They examine a particular issue and political intervention before formulating questions.

They rehearse an interview and select the best questions to use.


Start off by asking the class if there is anything about school-life they think needs changing.

What about their immediate local area, is there anything about the way that land is used or services and businesses organised that they would like to see changed?


Encourage them to think about issues in a wider context: What about those affecting your local region, the country or the planet?

Write a class list of their suggestions. (The numbers below refer to the activities on the student worksheet.)

1. Using this worksheet, ask students to write down 10 issues which are important to them, using examples from the class list and adding their own ideas.

2. Students rank the issues, putting a number in the [ ] next to the topic. (1 is the issue they feel is the most important.)


(Activities 3 to 7 can be done in pairs or in small groups, in which case, students should debate and reach a decision on ONE issue of concern.)





name of issue e.g. knives

3. Students complete the sentences on the worksheet:

• The issue I care about most is ...

• I am concerned about this because ...

• The government can help by ...

Time allowing, students might like to research the issue in more detail or find out what action the government has already taken regarding the issue.

The search engine on the BBC News website or CBBC's Newsround website is a useful tool.


4. Students devise a question for a politician.

Remind students that open questions begin with the 5Ws and an H (what, who, where, when, why and how). You can get more detail on this in our lesson on gathering news.

Encourage them to ask insightful questions by modelling good and bad questions:

Bad: What are you going to do about pollution? This is a generic question which invites a stock response.

Good: How can you encourage people to ditch their cars in favour of public transport? This is a more specific question, requiring a considered and more detailed response.


One student acts out the role of the politician. He or she sits at the front of the class.

5. The rest of the class take it in turns to address their questions to the "politician."

The "politician" comments on the clarity of the question, both in terms of volume (is it loud enough?) and comprehension (is it clear what the questioner is asking?)


6. Students vote on the top 10 questions

7. They rank them in order of importance (1-10).

Remind students that when interviewing VIPs, journalists often ask the most pertinent questions first in case their guest has to rush off to another engagement.

Remind them of the good and bad question examples to help them make an informed decision.

Politicians grilled by younger generation
11 Mar 10 |  School Report


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