February JALT Event in Fukuoka



Using Interviewing to teach English


Christine Chinen


Sunday, February 15, 1998


2:00 to 5:00


Aso Foreign Language Travel College
Hakataekiminami 2-12-24
(10 minutes from Hakata Station on foot
- see the map in English or see the map in Japanese for details)


Free for JALT members; 1000 yen for non-members


Bill Pellowe, e-mail billp@gol.com
Kevin O'Leary, phone (0942) 32-0101, fax 31-0372
e-mail ogs@kurume.ktarn.or.jp

As EFL teachers we teach English in the classroom with the expectation that at some future time students will use this learned body of English in actual situations outside of the classroom. The process of interviewing bridges the gap between the English learned in the classroom and English used in the real world. By having students interview English speakers outside of the classroom, students are provided with actual encounters with English in natural and unpredictable situations.

Interviewing is being used to teach English in both Japan and the United States. In the United States, Hones (1992, 1993) and Olmedo (1993) and in Japan, Chinen (1996), Dunkley (1996), Foley (1996) and Shang-Ikeda (1996) describe how they successfully used interviewing in courses they have taught. In addition to giving students a chance to experience using English in authentic situations, interviewing is a great motivator; my students were eager to use English, not self-conscious about making mistakes, and excited about their English class.

In order to be able to conduct interviews outside of the classroom, students need to learn some preparatory skills such as making an appointment by telephone, writing questions requiring long answers, clarifying information, etc. Using video and cassette tapes and handouts, I propose to show teachers how to use interviewing in their teaching situations, either for an entire one or two semester course, or as part of a course.


Christine Chinen teaches at Fukuoka University. She has written a book on interviewing.

Chinen, C. (1995a) Interviews in Action. Fukuoka: Self-Published.
Chinen, C. (1995b) Teaching and facilitating the use of emergency English in the conversation class. The Language Teacher, 19 (4), 10-11.
Chinen, C. (1996) Oral history as a technique to teach English. Fukuoka University Review of Literature and Humanities, 27(4), 1853-1874.
Curry, E. (1984) Spotlight on Women in Society. East Sussex: Cassell Ltd.
Dunkley, B. (1996) Oral History: A New Look at an Old Subject. In G. van Troyer, S. Cornwell and H. Morikawa, (Eds.), On JALT 95: Curriculum and Evaluation (pp. 247-249). Tokyo: The Japan Association for Language Teaching.
Foley, K. S. (1996) Successfully integrating the job search into the English Language Classroom. The Langua 20(6), 14-17
Hones, D. F. (1992) Community histories: Bridging the gap between ESL students and the American community. TESOL Journal, 1(3), 10-16
Hones, D. F. (1993) Working: ESL students interview Americans about their jobs. ORTESOL Journal, 2(4), 7-10
Olmedo, I. (1993) Junior Historians: Doing oral history with ESL and bilingual students. TESOL Journal, 2(4), 7-10
Shang-Ikeda, S. (1996). The Interview Project. The Language Teacher,
20 (7), 34-35.
Terkel, S. (1974) Working: People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do. Pantheon Books
Terkel, S. (1980). American Dreams: Lost & Found. New York: Ballentine Books.
Watcyn-Jones, P. (1978). Act English: A Book of Role Plays. Middlesex: Penguin Books.
Wigginton, E. (1976). "I wish I could give my son a wild raccoon." New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday.

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