Skills and Best Practices
Activity 2: Skills and Best Practices
Interviews with adults in the community are an excellent way to bring generations together in interpreting history. Students have a much easier time understanding historical events when they realize that there are people living in the community who can turn history into a story that they have lived. The History Channel epitomizes this approach as they make history come alive by interviewing those who were part of history: http://www.historychannel.com/classroom/oralhistguidelines.pdf
Here are Guidelines for Oral History Interviews. More detailed information can be accessed at their website:
- Picking an Interview Topic: Narrowing your topic will give it a focus.
- Picking Someone to Interview
- Did they live at that time?
- Do they have information about the topic?
- Make an Interview Appointment
- Make it a special event for the person being interviewed.
- Send a list of possible questions prior to the interview.
- Preparing For the Interview
- Do some background reading on the topic.
- Use the “who? what? when? where? why?” questions to help you prepare for the interview and to focus your questions for the interview.
- Write Out Good Interview Questions
- Use “memory questions” to set the mood for the interview
- Use follow-up questions to get more in-depth information
- Encourage the person to tell stories and anecdotes to add a human element to the story.
- Consider using the following kinds of questions:
- Explanation questions
- Judgment questions
- Be an Active Listener
- Send a Thank You Note
This activity call for students to take a perspective and to compare this perspective to that of a historian. Perspective taking is a neglected skill in social studies; but is one that is very important. According to McTighe and Wiggins, it is one of the six elements of understanding.
SIX FACETS OF UNDERSTANDING
- Explain – give theories – the why
- Interpret – see meaning, stories, translations made by students
- Apply – knowledge in a (new) concrete context
- Take perspective -awareness of other points of view, critical stance
- Be empathetic – walk in the shoes of . . .
- Show self-knowledge – wisdom, knowing thyself, aware of one’s prejudices, and habits of mind
Note: Additional information and the research basis for Understanding by Design can be found at: http://www.nascd.esu6.org/UbDResearchBase.pdf