Though the saying goes, “practice makes perfect,” there is no such thing as a perfect Oral History interview. However, the best preparation is undoubtedly practice, and practice in a safe space. A practice Oral History interview is a place to ensure all technical issues work (sound, noise, space, recorder), to get a sense of the balance between active listening and guided questioning, to gauge the pace and cadence of an interview exchange, and to expect the unexpected in the spontaneity of an interview.
How does the theory of how to conduct an interview relate to practice? What comes easy to us as Interviewers; what might be hard? What can we learn for our next interview?
Warm-up (5 minutes):
In preparation, the participants have conducted a practice interview, either individually or in small groups. We ask the participants to briefly share the experience of their interviews.
Working in Pairs (30 minutes):
We distribute Handout 32:Interview Feedback Guide to all participants. We form pairs of people who have not worked together on the interview assignment.
The pairs exchange interviews with each other, listen and fill out the interview feedback guide. After both have listened, we invite the pairs to share overall feedback with each other.
Plenary Discussion (55 minutes):
Coming all together, we invite participants to share their observations with the larger group. If participants conducted the assignment in groups, and more than one person listened to the same interview, bundle the feedback together.
After some feedback and observations were shared, we give participants space to reflect on what worked best in the interview experience and what aspects of conducting the interview were most challenging.