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Lesson 2.2: Interviewing: The Art of Asking Questions
Developed by Renee Hobbs
Students learn to use the phone to talk to people they don’t know. Working in teams of three, a simulation games helps students practice both the art of interviewing and the art of being interviewed.
By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
· Recognize the characteristics of a good interviewer and a good source.
· Use the Internet to gather information about a topic that’s new to them.
· Conduct a phone interview with a person they don’t know.
Make copies of the worksheet for each team. Note that there are 8 different case studies. Each team gets one case study to work on collaboratively.
Ask: Have you ever called someone you didn’t know? What did you like and dislike about it?
Students share stories of their experiences, if they have them. It can be exhilarating to call new people. But many people are afraid to call people they don’t know. Cold-calling is the practice of calling someone you don’t know to get information from them.
Ask: Why might cold-calling seem scary or uncomfortable for some people?
Students generate reasons and share their feelings. Acknowledge these fears. Learning to make cold calls takes practice. People get better at it with practice.
Introduce the Activity: Practice Cold-Call Interviewing
In this role-playing activity, students are divided the class into groups of three. They get a worksheet that provides a scenario with a hypothetical reporter and source. Two team members role-play an interview while the third team member, the evaluator, offers coaching and suggestions as they practice.
Pass out copies of the worksheet so that each team receives one of the eight different cases. One person will be the journalist, one will be the source, and the third person will serve as an evaluator for both participants. Read aloud the directions and encourage students to work together as a team to generate ideas and practice role-playing.
Because some students are pretending to be experts and others are pretending to be journalists, give students the opportunity to use the Internet to gather information to make their role-playing more credible. This will also help to make their performances less silly and more realistic. Encourage them to use creativity and imagination along with good research to create a strong cold-calling simulation.
Time to Practice
Before beginning, review the advice provided on the worksheet for both the journalist and source. Make sure students can explain in their own words why this advice makes sense.
Create a deadline that forces students to work under pressure, as journalists in the real world do. You may want to create some competition between the teams and award a prize to the best work.
Monitor students as they work and answer any questions they may have. Encourage them to practice a couple of times so they’re comfortable. For advanced learners, you may want to encourage the source to vary their answers at each rehearsal, so that the reporter really has to think on their feet!
Time for Performance
Each team performs their cold calls. Encourage evaluators from other teams to offer “warm” and “cool” feedback. Warm feedback is positive and acknowledges strengths. Cool feedback offers comments and suggestions to help the learner reflect and improve.
Leaving a Message
If you call a source and they are not available you might have to leave a message. In this message you should identify yourself, your school or affiliation, your reason for calling and a way for your source to contact you. See Worksheet B for a script template.
Ask: What did you learn from working on this project? What did you like best about it? What did you dislike and why?
Ask: How might cold-calling be useful in your life right now? In the future?