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?
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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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