You will need
- Camera or phone
- Device to show photos, videos, or slides
Before you begin
- This activity will take longer than one meeting – you’ll need to set aside time to plan and arrange the event.
- See if you can download a clip from a recent episode of ‘Question Time’ to show everyone.
Decide the basics
- The person leading the activity should explain that ‘Question Time’ is a topical debate TV show where guests from the worlds of politics and media answer questions from members of the public. It encourages political discussion and holds public figures to account.
- The person leading the activity could show everyone a short clip from a recent episode of ‘Question Time’ to make it clear. They should ask if anyone has any questions about the show and do their best to answer them.
- The person leading the activity should remind everyone of their values, including care, respect, and cooperation. On the TV show, things can get heated. It’s OK to be passionate about issues, but everyone’s event should make a positive difference – it shouldn’t encourage hostility or arguments.
- Everyone should think about the hot topics in their local community. What are they most passionate about, or what do they think could be improved? Everyone should share their ideas.
- Everyone should discuss everyone’s ideas. They should pick a main theme for their question time event.
- Everyone should think about people in the local community they could invite. They should think about people who may have knowledge or influence relating to their theme. It’s fine to invite more than one person (especially if they’ll have different points of view), but everyone should think about how many people can fit into their meeting place.
Plan the event
- Everyone should decide on the time and place for their question time event.
- The person leading the activity should invite the local figures everyone chose during ‘Decide the basics’. They should include information about the topic, the time and place of the event, and accessibility information, as well as a contact details for the guests to reply.
- Everyone should work together to decide the questions they’d like to ask. They should include plenty of open-ended questions that invite guests to expand on their answers. Questions that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are less interesting for everyone, and don’t encourage discussion.
- The person leading the activity should help everyone check that the questions are suitable and not too confrontational. They could send the questions to confirmed guests so they have the chance to do any research and think about what they’d like to say.
- Everyone should work together to decide who’ll do what during the event. Different people could set the space up, welcome the guests, ask questions from the audience, moderate the discussion, and film the event.
- Everyone should work together to create a running order for the event so everyone knows who’s doing what (and when they should do it).
On the day
- Some people should arrive early to set up the space. They should place tables and chairs for the guests (and moderator) to sit at, and the rest of the chairs facing the tables for the audience. They should place glasses and water on the tables for the guests.
- The people in charge of filming should put the camera at the back of the room, behind the audience. They should make sure the light and sound are OK.
- Once everyone has arrived, the people in charge of filming should set the camera rolling.
- The audience should take their seats. The moderator should sit in the middle of the table and welcome the guests to take their seats. The moderator should thank and introduce the guests.
- The moderator should prompt the audience to ask the questions they chose during ‘Plan the event’. The moderator should try to make sure that all of the guests get a chance to speak.
- If there’s time at the end, the moderator or the person leading the activity could allow some time for discussion.
- Everyone should remember to thank the guests at the end. The person leading the activity should say ‘well done’ to everyone who got stuck in, whether they moderated, filmed, or asked questions.
This activity was all about communication. People communicated face-to-face with the guests and made a video to communicate with a wider audience. Some people may have written up the interviews too. What are some of the main differences between these forms of communication? People may think about how live events are less predictable and people may ask questions that people aren’t prepared for. It’s also harder to edit people’s words on video.
This activity was also a chance to develop skills. Was it easy to think of questions that started a (productive) conversation? How did people make sure the conversation stayed productive and on topic? Was it easy to moderate the conversation? What did the audience think of people’s answers?