Lessons

Interview Skills for English Language Learners

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Guido and Blanca. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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The home of Blanca Conde’s employer, Manhattan. Blanca works as a nanny. The 2-year-old child she cares for is same age her son Guido was when she left him with her mother in Paraguay 10 years ago so she could earn money in the United States. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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I.S. 61 Leonardo Da Vinci, Corona, Queens. Guido in math class. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Blanca and Guido with the 2-year-old boy she cares for as a nanny. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Blanca checks her phone as she begins the long walk home after work. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Alone in his room, Guido plays a game on an iPhone Blanca's friend gave him. Without summer camp, after school, or friends, he spends most of his time at home alone while his mother works and commutes. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Guido dribbles a basketball outside his home. A soccer fan, he is learning about basketball in an attempt to get comfortable with New York City culture. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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The home of Blanca Conde’s employer, Manhattan. Blanca and Guido in the house where she works as a nanny, during his second week in the United States. Her parental role had been limited to frequent talking and texting while he lived abroad, but they needed to adjust to living together. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Guido plays basketball with friends during school recess. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Guido in his living room five months after moving to New York City. He has become popular at school and attends an after-school program, but he spends most of his free time at home alone playing video games. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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I.S. 61 Leonardo Da Vinci, Corona, Queens. Guido and his friend Dilan, a recent immigrant from Colombia, work together in science class. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Blanca hugs Guido outside of their home in Corona, Queens. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

Warm-up:

Look at the photograph and caption of Blanca and Guido (Image 8 in "An Immigrant's Struggle to Raise Her Son in Middle Class America") or another image from the project that interests the group.

Write your answers to the following questions (5 minutes):

  1. What do you see?
  2. What do you think?
  3. What do you wonder?

Group Conversation:

Looking at Image 2 in the photo essay, you’ll make observations about the photograph that will help you understand its meaning. You’ll be like a detective, collecting visual evidence.

(Teacher, ask the class these open-ended questions. Follow up on student observations with further open-ended questions, but try to push the students to look more deeply and back up their ideas with visual evidence rather than offering your own opinion.)

  1. What do you see in the photo?
  2. What is happening?
  3. What do you see that makes you say that?
  4. What else do you see?
  5. What does this photograph tell us about Blanca and Guido’s relationship?
  6. How does it show that?

Now choose another photograph from the series to discuss as a class. Answer the same open-ended questions: What do you see in the photo? What is happening? What do you see that makes you say that? What else do you see? (15 minutes)

Pair Work:

Work with a partner to write down answers to these questions, based on the group conversation:

  1. Who are the characters in the story?
  2. Where does the story take place?
  3. When did it happen?
  4. What happened to the characters?
  5. Why did it happen?

Use these 5 W's to practice interviewing a partner about his or her immigration story or that of their family. (15 minutes)

Share:

What went well during your interview? What was tricky? What will you do differently when you're interviewing in the future? (10 minutes).

Extension Activity:

Use the Interview Questions handout to interview someone in our community about his or her immigration story.

Educator Notes: 

This article gives a quick summary of Visual Thinking Strategies.

The second resource includes additional articles, photo essays and an audio piece about the mother and son featured in the photo essay.

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