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E-pal/Pen-pal Exchange

Prepare a list of powerful questions to ask of young people in another community.

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Suggested Activities

In this challenge, students communicate with other young people in a Tunisian, Peruvian, Indian or Ukrainian community to research and learn about these communities and about the residents' perceptions of Canada. To prepare for the activity, contact other schools to arrange e-mail pals or pen pals for your class. Using e-mail or land mail, invite students to write to young people in another community. Select a clear purpose for the information exchange. It may grow spontaneously out of students' questions about life in these communities, or you may want to connect it with other themes in this inquiry–the environment, equality, children's rights, international assistance or quality of life. Explain that in order to learn what these other communities are really like, it would be valuable to contact young people who live there.

Assist students in preparing a list of questions that would help them better understand the identified focus of life in these communities. With the class, identify criteria for an effective question (e.g., provides interesting or useful information, is politely asked, is something the person can answer). See Asking Powerful Questions (Modelling the Tools) for detailed suggestions on how to teach and assess the tools for student-generated questions.

After students have received a response from young people in other communities, encourage them to develop additional questions that follow up on the initial responses. Arrange for students to send this second set of questions to their respondents, asking for additional information.

Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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