In our Culture Club section called "The Hangout" you will find interviews to teenagers from different countries. Teenagers give us a glimpse of their life and culture by answering questions on food, music, fashion, sports, and trends popular in their part of the world.
The answers are in the teen's own words, and often reflect the humor, sarcasm, and wit common to teens in all parts of the world. Whether you teach the particular target language or not, you could use the interview as a global culture lesson, comprehension exercise, or template for students to make their own profiles.
If there are some concepts, musicians, fashions, sports, etc. that your students have never heard of, have them do some background research to find out more. Use the interview as a springboard to discuss how American culture has spread around the world, and how other cultures have had international influence as well. The unique tone of the Hangout makes the interviews personal and enjoyable to read for teens and adults alike.
Below you will find suggestions for using a "Hangout" Interview in Your FL Classroom.
For the sake of example, we will use a Spanish-language Hangout interview but this activity can be carried out in any TL classroom.
- Distribute a copy of the blank interview in English to each of your students.
- Go over the questions quickly and then ask your students to complete the questionnaire.
- Divide your students into small groups of three or four students each.
- Distribute a copy of the blank Spanish-language interview to each student. Go over the questions thoroughly to make sure the students understand them.
- Choose an existing interview from our Spanish Hangout Collection (but don't distribute it yet to your class).
- Ask the students to discuss the questions together and, as a group, to try to decide how the teenager from the given Spanish-speaking country answered the questions.
- Distribute a copy of the teenager's interview in Spanish to each student.
- In their small groups have the students compare their answers with the actual answers of the teenager.
- Bring the class together for a general discussion of the answers of the teenager. Were there any surprises? Did they learn anything new from this interview? New cultural information? New language items?
- Read through the blank interview with your students and make sure they understand all of the questions
- Assign a particular country to each student. (If you are teaching French or Spanish, you have numerous choices. For other languages, you might assign cities rather than countries.) Students are to adopt a teenage persona from that country or city. Give students about a week to conduct research on their own that will enable them to answer the 19 interview questions.
- When the time comes to interview, assign each student a partner. Each student must act both as interviewer and interviewee. The interviewer may have a paper with the questions and space to jot notes for answers. (Students should be discouraged from writing full sentences.) The student being interviewed should not have a set of notes; the answers should be impromptu, as they would be in a real interview. Follow-up questions may be asked.
- All students write up the answers to the interview and submit them for a grade. All phases of this activity should be conducted in the target language.
If you have recently-arrived teens in your area who are native speakers of your target language, invite them to your class and they can be interviewed by your students as a whole. Each student can complete the interview form as the interview is being conducted. Encourage students to ask any questions that they may have that are not on the questionnaire. An interesting class discussion can take place the following day