Primary education: listening and observing
Primary education: listening and observing

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7 Interviews and conversations

You will recall that the teacher in Activity 2 was having a conversation with the children about farm animals. They were chatting as they worked on painting scenery for a school event. A teacher or a teaching assistant can learn a lot about the children in this process.

Talking with children informally is far from a formal ‘interview’, but interviews can take the form of open-ended conversations. Throughout this course, you will hear interviews with adults and with children.

There are many types of interview in the education sector, ranging from very formal to very informal. Here are some types of interview that are carried out in education settings:

  • structured interview, with preset questions that do not change
  • survey interview with a group, which asks ‘yes/no’ questions such as ‘Do you agree or disagree that the new school dinners are much worse than the old ones?’
  • counselling interview, which offers support and guidance to the person being interviewed
  • diary interview, a series of interviews to find out about changes or perceptions over time
  • life history interview, an in-depth interview about a person’s experiences
  • semi-structured or unstructured interview, where questions are flexible and can change depending on how the interviewee responds, making it more like a conversation, where unexpected themes can emerge and be discussed.

The aim of any of the above is to achieve an understanding of another person’s point of view.

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