Conducting student interviews in the target language does not have to be complicated. Interviews do not have to be long and they do not have to add a lot of new vocabulary. With practice, we can learn fascinating things about students that even their closest friends do not know–all with comprehensible language.  Not dark family secrets, mind you (we never go there), but admirable aspects of their life and habits that inspire us all and invite us to know the interviewee even more. We had a wonderful example of this last Thursday.

I had interviewed a quiet but cheerful girl named Samantha in a Spanish 1 class for 20 minutes or so. When the interview was over and I had verified many key facts, I asked the class to say sentences about Sam in Spanish. I wrote what students in the class said on the board, merely listening and transcribing what volunteers said. They came up with 19 solid sentences about her that she had shared with the class. Most of the sentences were about playing the guitar. There was only one word that was new to the class: “afuera” (outside). The cognates were recognizable to all.

Afterwards, I asked the class what changed we would need to make in order for Sam to talk about herself. As students offered the changes, I wrote them in orange marker. Horizontal conjugation with deep meaning–this is how to maintain compelling C.I.

The quiz was the following day. Everyone passed with almost all getting 100%. They learned about their classmate and picked up some good Spanish.

For more on student interviews, see previous blogs in the “Persona Especial” category: