Going deep

Designed to generate an hourlong conversation, the 25 listening project questions below explore high school students’ school experiences in a variety of areas. Interviewers’ guides also include suggestions for follow-up questions and techniques for eliciting more complete information.

Student goals and success

  • Tell me about the best thing that happened to you yesterday here at school.
  • What are your goals after graduation?
  • Is your high school experience setting you up to meet your goals after graduation?

Classroom experiences and learning

  • Describe a time recently when you felt really successful here at school.
  • What are the leadership opportunities here at school that you know about?
  • Describe a time recently when you thought what you were learning in class was relevant to your life. How often does that happen?
  • What type of class is hard to relate to? Why?
  • What is one thing that adults at school could do differently to help you learn more?
  • When you need help with a class, who do you go to? Do you feel encouraged to get help?
  • Are you in honors or AP classes now?
  • What do your teachers expect of you?
  • If you were a principal or a teacher here, what would you change to help all students learn more?

Supports and school culture

  • Where do you feel comfortable and emotionally supported at school?
  • Do you have an adult on campus who you trust that you would go to for problems other than academics?
  • What obstacles have you faced here at school? Are there barriers you are facing to graduation?
  • Have you seen other students struggle here at school? What kinds of things do you see that keep students from being successful and graduating?
  • How has the counseling center helped you? Did you get the help you needed to select classes? Is there more help you need from the counseling center?
  • If you could redesign this school so it had all the supports you need, what would you change?

Diversity and equity

  • When and where do you get to hang out with the most diverse group of students on campus?
  • Which places at our high school are the least diverse?
  • Are your classes balanced by the number of students from different racial groups? Which ones?
  • Do your teachers balance the discussion of different racial groups’ histories, stories and contributions in class?
  • Do teachers make the classroom a safe space to talk about race?
  • How could AHS/SILSA become a more integrated and equitable community?
  • Do you feel that some students have been given advantages or disadvantages when it comes to your education based on race?
About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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