I spend most of my waking hours around teenagers, learning about them and myself, and actively thinking about why we emote and produce art the way we do. In order to get a frmer grasp on that very topic, I have decided to take advantage of my placement within Durham Public Shools, and devise a series of questions, to be delivered in a casual interview format, that will hopefully reveal, to me, to you, and to the students themselves, something meaningful about their beliefs, habits and preconceptions about that most polarizing of skills/hobbies/academic subjects: writing.
I’m using this space to contemplate, draft (and share) some of the questions I will ask in these interviews. Though I foresee myself asking educators as well as other non-high school students, I will create the primary set of questions with my main target, the adolescents, in mind. They will be organized, here and in use, into two categories: “writing habits” and “writing predispositions”. The former will be generally focused on the occasions and subjects on and about which they write, while the latter will focus on their beliefs about their own writing, writing as a method of expression, etc.
*Note: while I intend to have a baseline set of questions, I do not intend to script every student interview in its entirety; for the relative sanity of all parties involved, I will allow myself the flexibility to forego some queries and to change the order of queries, as well as allow student responses to prompt follow up questions. This is not a psychological study, and does not portend to deliver that level of heft or soothsaying finality.
Do you consider yourself a good writer? What makes you think that?
Do you give 100%effort on writing exercises and assignments in school?
I know a lot of English teachers are always stressing outlining, revision, and a bunch of drafts. Do you do all those when they are suggested but not required?
Do you do any writing other than when it’s assigned for a class an school? What kind?
Have you (or anyone on your behalf) ever read any of your writng in public? In front of class, at a celebration, at a religious event?
Preconceptions about writing:
Do you enjoy reading outside of class? If so, what?
Do you think people that like to read a lot probably like to write a lot?
Whats the best thing you’ve ever written?
Did your parents make you read or write a lot when you were younger? Do you think when parents push their kids to write it makes them want to do it more?
Whats your favorite way to express yourself? Do you think being good at that makes you want to write more or less? Makes you better or worse at it?
Do you think that the drafting and the whole “writing process” that teachers make you do makes your writing better?
Have you seen any improvement in your writing skills since this school year started?
Do you think you’ll need to write much after high-school? What do you see yourself doing?
As time passes I may add or subtract questions from this list. As you, reader, see fit, please (read:I’m inviting/begging you) submit suggestsions, comments, and/or concerns via email or comments on this post.
For the nonce, I must away, folks. Until next time, happy writing.