As you may be aware, many of our students do not feel comfortable communicating face to face with adults, even if they are familiar with them. They openly admit they are scared, uncomfortable and would rather text than talk! Because of this, I created the Face to Face Conversation Challenge to help them practice their skills and hopefully feel more at ease when conversing with others, both familiar and unfamiliar! Admittedly, students were not enthusiastic about this assignment because it forced them to face their fear and step out of their comfort zone. Afterwards, my heart was full as students actually thanked me for giving them this assignment! They shared how it helped them grow and they realized that this is a practical life skill they are going to need throughout their personal and professional life!
- This challenge was assigned after teaching about communication skills, body language, gestures and interview do’s and don’ts.
- Our school often invites community members and retired teachers in to conduct mock interviews so I didn’t want to repeat that process. However, I did want to give my students experience in face to face communication and decided to do so in the form of conversations.
- Before assigning this, I brought up the challenge to my administration, guidance counselors and teachers as I wanted and needed them to be on board with this as they would the ones being interviewed. I had their full cooperation!
- Students were introduced to the project (first round) and the first step for them was to pick the teacher, administrator or guidance counselor they were familiar with. I did this using the “Wheel of Names” generator to keep it random.
- Willing faculty, administrators and guidance counselors
- iPads or Laptops
- Screen & Projector (only if using the Wheel of Names generator)
- Once students had selected their familiar person, they then decided on the topic they would discuss. I encouraged them to stick to topics such as work history, education, how to choose a career, etc.
- Regardless of which topic students selected, they had to generate a list of 5 open-ended questions to ask and discuss with their person. Before doing so, I conferenced with each student to make sure their questions were clear, relavent and indeed open-ended.
- Students then had two weeks to approach their person, refer to them by their formal name (Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc), ask them if they would participate in the interview, set up a time conducive to both parties and give them an idea of what the conversation topic would be. The interviews or conversations were to be no more than 15 minutes.
- Students were to take notes during the conversation, use appropriate manners, gestures, eye contact, body language etc. and then thank them for their participation.
- Teachers, administrators and guidance counselors were all given a check sheet to fill out after the interview, briefly describing what went well or not so well before signing off.
- The returned evaluation charts were used as part of students’ grade along with a written essay from them reflecting on their experience.
- There is a second challenge included that could be done with a teacher, administrator or guidance counselor unfamiliar to students. Currently, I have only used the first challenge. If time permits, I plan to assign students the second challenge in hopes of continuing to stretch them and get them out of their “comfort zone”. Because, afterall, they will have to talk to people they don’t always know in college and/or the workplace.