ENGL 150 Teaching Tip: Profile

CATEGORIES: Foundation Courses

In the first half of the second week of the profile module (when students are brainstorming people to interview/week six), Natalie Meyer, Associate Teaching Professor, shows her students an interview with the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and analyzes Stone Phillips’ interview skills. She asks students to discuss what they can learn from the interview to apply to their own profile interviews. Her students, who are part of a Criminal Justice Learning Community, will not be asked to interview any serial killers but instead are asked to interview a person in their career field. As they learn about generating possible questions, they discuss finding the “so what”/main point in an interview for a profile. 

Here is an overview of Natalie’s lesson:

1.  Have students watch the video “How to Interview People for their Life Stories”
2.  Prep students for watching the interview. Ask students what they know about Dahmer and provide some contextual information.
3.  Watch the interview.
4.  Analyze how the interview went in general. How did the subject of the interview react? How well did Stone Phillips follow the tips given in the video in step 1 (listed below)?

a. Ask questions at the beginning to put your subject at ease
b. Keep questions clear and open-ended
c. Follow the subject’s answers, rather than your questions
d. Make notes to give context (facial expression, tone of voice)
e. Don’t feed the interviewee the answer
f. Always wait for the person to stop talking

5.  Discuss as a large group. Based on what students say, Meyer tries to tie it back to tips/strategies they can use in their own interviews.

View Meyer’s full lesson plan here.