Curriculum Analysis

Analysing Articles

Examining Opposing Viewpoints

Interpreting Folk Songs in History

Interpreting Cartoons

Responding Personally to Historical Information

Preparing to Conduct an Interview

Listening with Discrimination

Generalizing from Historical Data

Analysing Cause and Effect

The Confederation Debate: A Community Perspective

Preparing to Conduct an Interview

Some learning situations provide an opportunity for students to access and use information from primary sources; these may be in print, audio, or audio-visual format. An overlooked source of information are people who have experiences related to a problem or issue under consideration in the classroom.

The learning activity, Preparing to Conduct an Interview, is designed to help students in developing and using the kinds of questions that will more likely retrieve significant rather than trite information. With some coaching, students are able to move beyond the use of who, what, when, where questions. The following framework is suggested as an organizer for questions that may be used in an interview.

Factual: These questions are of the low-order type. Students typically do not have difficulty with developing factual questions that focus on who, what, when, or where.

Relational: At this level, questions are intended to seek out patterns among data, events, and situations, and probe for reasons, cause-and-effect, and explanations.

Evaluative: At this level, interpretations, inferences, opinions, and projections are formed.

Asking students to assume the role of an interviewer effectively provides insight into what they know about the subject or issue. If the questions, for example, are low-order or lack scope, it likely indicates that students lack knowledge about historical processes relating to Newfoundland's entry into Confederation.


By engaging in these processes, students will achieve the following outcomes:

Canadian History 1201

  • Examine the roles of key political personalities.
  • Know reasons used by Confederates.
  • Know reasons used by anti-Confederates.
  • Analyse referendum process and results.
  • Retrieve and categorize information from a variety of sources.
  • Appreciate the contribution of individuals, groups, and cultures to the development of Canada.

Language Arts

  • Speak and listen to explore, extend, clarify, and reflect on their thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences.
  • Interpret, select, and combine information using a variety of strategies, resources and technologies.

Social Studies Skills

This lesson also promotes the following social studies skills:

Gathering Information

  • Obtain information from field trips and interviews.

Organizing Information

  • Identify key topics and outline responses to them.
  • Select main ideas and supporting details
  • Classify visuals, facts, positions, and events.
  • Arrange information in a sequence.

Participating in Groups

  • Participate in groups formed to achieve a common goal.
  • Willingly work within the parameters defined by a task and related rules of conduct.

Understanding Chronology

  • Recognize trends and patterns in information.
  • Recognize sequence of events.

Solving Problems and Thinking Critically

  • Identify a problem.
  • Develop an approach to the study of the problem.
  • Retrieve and organize information about the problem.

Instructional Approach

For this learning activity, it is likely that you will have to use little intervention after the interview has begun. Your role will be mainly to facilitate the process:

  1. You may wish to have only one or two students complete this task.
  2. Assist the student in preparing for the interview. Refer to the instructions in the student lesson.
  3. As suggested to the student, it would be useful to audio or video-tape the interview.
  4. The taped interview may then be used in the classroom setting as "data" for students to assess the activity. You may facilitate a whole class discussion on such elements as:
    • the variety of questions asked;
    • whether there was a natural flow between the interviewer and the respondent, or whether the interview was a clipped "stimulus-response" interaction;
    • the depth of knowledge reflected by the questions.

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