Activity Introduction

Aspire-Emily-girl2-photoframeQuick Summary: This lesson is part of the Aspire Generation English Unit. Students examine interviews as a communication mechanism. They consider strategies for framing questions and look at the interpersonal skills required. Students select an issue, consider the information they would like to find (and from whom), and develop interview questions that will help collect this information. They practice interviewing in groups then refine their skills and interview members of the local community to gather information, with an emphasis on building interpersonal skills and confidence. Students conclude the lesson by analysing and reflecting on the strengths and limitations of interviews as a research tool.

Latrobe Logo 150This lesson supports La Trobe University’s Aspire Generation initiative, which empowers students to drive change through community engagement, volunteerism and leadership opportunities.

Learning Intention: 

  • Students will understand how effective interviews require consideration of both question framing strategies and interpersonal skills.
  • Students will enhance and understand the importance of their interpersonal skills with respect to interviews.

21st Century Skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions
Year 9 English

  • Understand that roles and relationships are developed and challenged through language and interpersonal skills (ACELA1551)
  • Use interaction skills to present and discuss an idea and to influence and engage an audience by selecting persuasive language, varying voice tone, pitch, and pace, and using elements such as music and sound effects (ACELY1811)
  • Use a range of software, including word processing programs, flexibly and imaginatively to publish texts (ACELY1748)

Year 10 English

  • Understand how language use can have inclusive and exclusive social effects, and can empower or disempower people (ACELA1564)
  • Identify and explore the purposes and effects of different text structures and language features of spoken texts, and use this knowledge to create purposeful texts that inform, persuade and engage (ACELY1750)
  • Use a range of software, including word processing programs, confidently, flexibly and imaginatively to create, edit and publish texts, considering the identified purpose and the characteristics of the user (ACELY1776)

General capabilities: Literacy, Personal and Social Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, ICT Capability

Cross-curriculum priorities: There are opportunities for students to engage with any of the cross-curriculum priorities across the scope of this unit. Direct or specific engagement with any of these can be made based on the unique attributes of the local community. Sustainability, Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

Relevant parts of Australian Curriculum English Achievement Standards: 
Year 9: By the end of Year 9, students analyse the ways that text structures can be manipulated for effect. They evaluate and integrate ideas and information from texts to form their own interpretations. They listen for ways texts position an audience. Students understand how to use a variety of language features to create different levels of meaning. In creating texts, students demonstrate how manipulating language features and images can create innovative texts. Students create texts that respond to issues, interpreting and integrating ideas from other texts. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, comparing and evaluating responses to ideas and issues. They edit for effect, selecting vocabulary and grammar that contribute to the precision and persuasiveness of texts and using accurate spelling and punctuation.

Year 10: By the end of Year 10, students evaluate how text structures can be used in innovative ways by different authors. They evaluate other interpretations, analysing the evidence used to support them. They listen for ways features within texts can be manipulated to achieve particular effects. Students show how the selection of language features can achieve precision and stylistic effect. They explain different viewpoints, attitudes and perspectives through the development of cohesive and logical arguments. They develop their own style by experimenting with language features, stylistic devices, text structures and images. Students create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, building on others’ ideas, solving problems, justifying opinions and developing and expanding arguments. They demonstrate understanding of grammar, vary vocabulary choices for impact, and accurately use spelling and punctuation when creating and editing texts.

Topic: Enterprise Learning, Social Issues.

Unit of work: La Trobe University – Aspire Generation – English

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Interview Design and Facilitation Factsheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, online research.

Keywords: Aspire Generation, communication, local community, citizenship, issues, interviews, questioning, representation, interpersonal skills.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Aspire-Holly2-photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will understand that interviews are a valuable way to obtain detailed and important information and perspectives about local community issues. They will develop their question-framing and interview skills then apply these through practice face-to-face contexts. In doing so, they will enhance their interpersonal communication skills and understand the importance of these with respect to both designing, preparing for and conducting interviews. Students will also deepen their analytical and reflective skills by examining the information collected through their interview experiences.

Teacher content information

La Trobe University’s Aspire Generation connects a community of young people who aspire to make a difference through community service and leadership. They are the givers, the dreamers, the doers and the leaders who passionately pursue opportunities to address the big issues of their time. They think boldly and act responsib

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a person’s experiences.

1. Consider your experience of research interviews and then read through the information on the Interview Design and Facilitation Factsheet. The following TED talk by Celeste Headlee, a radio host with extensive experience in interviewing a wide range of people, can give you a bit more insight into the skills and value of an effective interview and conversation.

Use the space provided below to make any notes about important aspects of the topic explored in this video.

2. Using the information in the Interview Design and Facilitation factsheet, think about the local community issue you have selected. Use the following prompts to help you plan an interview with at least one relevant interviewee. Use the space provided to help plan and draft your interview and interview questions.

What do I want to find out about the issue?
Who can help provide this information o
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