As part of our language and literature class at Tungwah Wenzel International School, students have been assigned a piece of holiday homework. Students are investigating and exploring the question: What makes a life worth writing about?
The task is to interview someone who is accessible. The students have prepared for their interview in advance, and did so by brainstorming possible question ideas. Their mind map was created on software called Padlet, owing to the fact that 15 days of online teaching has made gathering face-to-face near impossible. The students must select a good subject (person) to interview. In this case, I suggested my Mum. As such, I volunteered to do the task myself. Great questions have potential to make good biographies, so many open-ended questions will be needed. On top of the answers, we’ll need to probe further to squeeze out the information. This first-hand information will help us all to understand the purpose of biography and bring a real-world taste to the subject content. Students have also explored biographies to generate their own questions.
This isn’t the interview. These are the possible questions. I won’t be asking about how many children my Mum has, how many siblings, or any other question to which I already know the answer. That’d be a waste of time. I can write about that in my own introduction.
- When and where were you born?
- Do you recall any stories about your birth?
- What is your earliest memory?
- Do you remember your first pet(s)?
- Who was your inspiration in your childhood?
- Did you have any nicknames?
- What were you afraid of as a child?
- Who were your first close friends?
- What games did you like to play?
- How did you spend your summer holidays?
- Do you recall your grandparents?
- Is there anything you’d like to share about your childhood?
- How did your parents influence you?
- What does the word family mean to you?
- Do you wish you had been raised differently? If so, how so?
- What were your favourite subjects and sports?
- Which teachers do you remember? Was there one teacher that was influential to you?
- How would you describe yourself as a student?
- What did you like most and least about school?
- Were you very sociable?
- Did you do extracurricular activities?
- What were your hobbies?
- Who were your idols?
- What music did you listen to throughout your teenage years? Which singers and bands did you like?
- Is there anything you’d like to share about your teenage years?
- Did you attend college and/or university? What memorable moments did you have?
- What subjects did you study?
- Did you get a degree? What was your degree in?
jobs & life
- What was your first job? How was it? What did you have to do?
- What were your best and worst jobs?
- Did anyone you work with inspire or influence you?
- Aside from being paid, how did any of your careers create value to your life?
- What would be your ideal job now?
- What was/is your goal as a parent?
- How do you describe yourself as a parent?
- How do you think your children will describe you as a parent?
- How did the death of your parents affect you and your family?
- What was the most special way Paul has shown you that he loves you? What do you think he would say, if we asked him the same question?
- If you could do it again, would you take a different path, or are you satisfied with the route you followed?
- Where were you and how did the fall of the Berlin Wall affect you?
- Where were you and how did the attacks of September 11th 2001, U.S.A. affect you?
- How did the genocide of Rwanda affect you?
- How did the break-up of Yugoslavia and the NATO bombings affect you?
- What significant political event do you recall?
- Is there a political figure that you admire?
- What are your views on conflict and war?
- Have you ever fought for a political cause?
- How would you change the political and social atmosphere of the U.K.?
- If you could meet any historical figure, of the past or present, who would it be and why?
- What are your greatest hopes and fears?
- What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
- What main lessons did you learn from life (so far)?
- What are your thoughts on religion?
- What do you believe happens after death?
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- How do you think people will remember you?
- What do you believe is a definition of the word happiness?
- What are your most memorable travel experiences?
- What are your happiest memories?
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- What music do you like now?
- What theatre shows do you like to attend?
- How would you describe your hobbies and pastimes?
- If you could possess one super-human power, what would it be?
- Which historical era or region would you have liked to have liven in?
- If you could meet any entertainment or literature figure, of the past or present, who would it be and why?
So, that’s a selection of questions. What now? Oh, to conduct the interview… it’s 1:19pm in China now, so that’s 06:19am in Manchester. Wake up call?