Thursday, January 8, 2009 and the N-400

Citizenship classrooms are multi-level English language environments. Teachers are adept in addressing N-400 vocabulary and grammar needs for beginning and intermediate ESL students, assuming that advanced students have fully mastered these language tasks. Advanced students want to fully participate in classroom activities, but they are sometimes bored by the deceptively simple N-400.

One possible solution is group the advanced students together for a timed discussion based on topics from Match the appropriate topic to the N-400 Part, and ask the advanced students summarize their discussion for their classsmates. The advanced students will polish their speaking skills, while the intermediate and beginning students will benefit from explicit language instruction from the teacher. After the advanced students' "report-back," the intermediate and beginning students often continue the discussion.

There are currently 644 discussion topics available at Each topic is divided into 20 questions, and further divided into paired set of 10 questions. Group the students and use as many questions as needed. Here is an example of question topics matched with the N-400:

Before the Interview: Identity Cards, Passports
Part 1: Names
Part 2: Immigration, Refugees
Part 3: Birthdays, Nationality
Part 4: House and Home
Part 5: Racial Profiling
Part 6: Jobs, Retirement
Part 7: Travel
Part 8: Marriage
Part 9: Children
Part 10: Have you ever . . . ?

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