Unit II Classroom Applications of Fieldwork Basics
Lesson 3 Interviewing a Community Guest


Inviting a Guest Checklist

Before the Presentation -- The Guest

____ Obtain permission from school administrators to conduct interviews and have them sign appropriate forms.

____ Locate guest by contacting your nearest cultural agency or regional folklorist, using Internet resources, or personal contacts.

____ Locate the contact number and biographical information of the guest.

____ Call the guest, and ask whether he/she would come to your classroom to be interviewed by your students. Tell her/him how many classes, what grade, how many students per class, and how long they would need to be there. Discuss whether you want the guest to also demonstrate or perform and what that will involve. Give her/him the date or dates you would like them to come.

____ If they are demonstrating a craft, be sure to ask what they will bring, how much space they will need, and what the demonstration will involve. For example, a woodworker may assume that since you are asking about making cedar shingles that you know that it is quite messy, cedar kills the grass, he will be bringing a good-sized workbench, and it will take a while to clean up afterwards!

____ When you have agreed on a date, discuss your unit with the guest and clarify the objectives of your class. Ask if these meet with the type of presentation and offer to send a list of objectives.

____ Ask for any written materials that need to be sent in advance and copied.

____ Call the guest on the day you start your unit to confirm and get his/her list of needs (chair, table, etc.)

____ Give a courtesy call the day before the presentation as a reminder for both of you and to confirm technical arrangements and content. Leave a message, if necessary.


Before the Presentation -- The Students

____ Explain interviewing tasks to students and assign roles, if useful: Interviewer, Notetaker, Photographer, Video Recorder, Audio Operator/Logger, Illustrator.

____ Send "Letter to Parents and Caregivers" to get permission.

____ Introduce students to content material.

____ Have students prepare questions in advance based on content material.


On the Day of the Presentation

____ Have a student meet the guest at the door to help carry things and escort him/her to class.

____ Set up room for visit. If using recorders and cameras, have them in place with backup supplies: batteries, memory cards, etc.

____ Give guest time to set up before asking questions.

____ Have permission forms photocopied and ready for guest to sign.

____ Conduct the interview with class.

____ Begin with biographical information to break the ice. Use Folklife Survey Form.

____ Have students take notes, writing down names, places, dates, spellings of unusual words, and impressions. Use note taking strategies you have previously taught in class.

____ Encourage open-ended questions, as well as fact-based ones.


After the Presentation

____ Follow up the visit with a thank you note written by a student, and copies of any student work or photographs generated by the presentation.

____ Process fieldwork: archiving; transcribing; processing photos; interpreting.

____ Conduct follow-up activities and assessments that not only measure students' comprehension of facts, but also encourage their interpretation of events.


For a PDF of this page click here.