Week 5 – Interviewing Reality

When you hear Jian Ghomeshi on CBC radio or see Bill Moyers on TV interviewing important figures in our society, you take for granted their ability to draw out meaningful stories from the interviewee. This week’s class was about learning how to carry out their interview, a key process for discovering their story line.

The interview is for our purposes the core of the project. It is what will give the students direct experience with people they may have never met or never thought to inquire more deeply into. It creates an opportunity for guiding their own learning. And let’s not forget the side benefits of learning how to do research, approach people, listen to them and ask interesting questions.

The students will also be up against their preconceived notions of the topic, their fears of approaching those in authority, and the time pressure to skimp on deep exploration.

To illustrate some of the challenges they’d face, I shared a story inspired by one of the students. It was about a ladybug caught in a child’s hands. After having acclimatized to living in the small world of the cupped hands, it was let go into a new unknown world. What exhilaration, fears, opportunities, threats must the ladybug face? To which the class well understood that feeling scared is okay and that it wouldn’t be an adventure if it wasn’t a little bit dangerous.

Heck, I’m nervous of the students going “into the wild”, but I’m more afraid that they don’t push to the edge of their comfort level. There are safe people to approach, safe questions to ask, and safe places to go. I would say to them, slip into the cracks of those cupped hands and fly beyond. With encouragement and support from Kate, myself and others, I am sure that they will fly to the best of their ability.