Making Medicare:  Educational Lab for Teachers and Students Back to Timeline Back to Timeline

Lesson Plan: Life before Medicare: An Oral History Project

Student Introduction

Your task is to interview someone familiar with life before medicare, in order to find out how people coped before state-administered medical insurance. You will then write up your notes or transcribe your recording and present your findings to the class. Begin by visiting the Making Medicare History.

Student Steps

1. Read the Library and Archives Canada Web resource, Oral Interviews: Preparing, Conducting and Reporting document (
Working in pairs, discuss your understanding of oral interviews.
How will you approach your interview?
Decide on a plan of action and make a project outline.

2. With your partner, brainstorm about the questions you would like to include.
Think back to the questions the class discussed.
Here are some ideas:
Tell us about a time you needed medical care.
What type of medical services did you receive?
Where were you looked after?
Who provided the services?
How did you pay for the services?
Do you remember how much you paid?
What do you remember about the debates on medicare?
What was your position on medicare during the debates?
What do you think of medicare today?

3. With your partner, brainstorm about whom to interview.
You could choose a grandparent or other relative, a neighbour or a family friend.

4. Divide up the tasks.
Tasks include arranging the interview date, time and place; getting the equipment needed; and writing up the interview questions.

5. Finalize your questions.
Once your interviewee has been confirmed, write up your final questions.

6. Get your audio recorder or notebook and pen ready, confirm date and time with the interviewee and go!
Make sure you take everything you’ll need for the interview.

7. Write up your interview notes.
When you transcribe or summarize your notes, make sure you include the interviewee’s actual words. If you made a digital recording, you may have to listen to it several times to capture the exact words.

8. Decide on your presentation format.
You could make an oral presentation or use PowerPoint, or do something more creative, such as re-enacting a particular episode your interviewee described.

9. Make your presentation to the class.

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    Date Created: April 21, 2010