How to ask a question.

Over a year ago, after first seeing that students were shy to sharing and asking questions of their peers abroad when an adult was holding the camera, we started having peers in the same classroom interview one another. Students would gather in a circle and one student would step into the middle with a flip video camera to ask question of one of her classmates in the circle. She would generally would start by asking "why did you make your scarf the way that you did?" We were encouraged with how much more the interviewees opened up about their scarves. The students found it much more natural to talk to someone their own height, someone they know better. Now we need to focus on the interviewers.

With the camera in hand, many students are finding it hard to focus on what their peers are actually saying. We want them to have a conversation, asking logical follow up questions. In many ways this is a stand in for the peers abroad directly asking questions of one another. In some ways it might be even more valuable because classmates often know a lot about one another, so an interviewer can ask about a shared memory. But keeping the subject in frame is distracting from this natural interaction. So at our students' suggestion we are changing it up. Just as a standard TV news team has a someone working the camera and someone else asking questions, so shall our students!

We implemented this today with the last of St. Thomas Collectofus Global Leaders to be interviewed and it went great! The kids had much more fun and even acted as if they were on the news. We're excited to implement this routine from the start next year!

--We posted some more information about the question and answer process on the Education Week blog here: