Learning English by Conducting Interviews

Language is a means of communication in daily activities both among children and adults in the local and international society. In learning language, there are four aspects the learners have to master: speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills. Speaking is one of the most important items as oral communication in language.

The process of learning implies the use of some different methods and techniques for a good acquisition of the foreign language, English, in our case. Among the so many possibilities of attracting students in the activity, the use of the didactic interview, as a working method, proves to be a very efficient and the teacher can have very good results in the classroom activity.

There are many arguments for using the interview as a method of checking up students’ knowledge. This method gets out of the classical cliché, the interview activity becomes a simple and useful way for speaking practice. It also helps the learners of the English language to pick up some important skills on the way. Interview exercises can be used to practise simple and complex communication strategies and to provide good practice in asking and answering questions.

The interview method gives the learners the real possibility to develop their imagination and to be very creative. It also permits the students to work in smaller or larger groups, taking into account their level of English. Particularly for adults, the job interviews activity is excellent practise for real life, and can be easily adapted. For any level of student, it can be a good fit for a jobs or business topic. Or, you can use it for a specific grammar.

For high beginner or low intermediate students, it can be used it practise the past simple. Students create and ask interview questions and answer those questions about life events/experiences (e.g. Where/ What did you study?, What was your last job?, Why did you leave?). They can also use these answers in their reasoning (e.g. We chose Felipe because he studied marketing/ worked in a shop …).

For higher intermediate or advanced students, this technique can be used for reported speech. As described above, it is a great way to practise reported questions, in particular (e.g. They asked me if I had experience / when I could start). Student can also use reported speech in their reasoning (e.g. We chose Felipe because he said he had studied marketing).

Also, the interview is an efficient way of evaluation. The teacher can evaluate the students but they can interview themselves (self-evaluation). When the students choose the topic for the interview, they have to think about their ability of handling the interview, to be in the situation of the interviewee or of the interviewer. The topic can be suggested by the teacher or it can be chosen by the students.

The success of the interview depends on the way in which it is explained by the teacher and understood by the children. It aims at the consolidation of both vocabulary and grammar, the final purpose being the communication practice. On the other hand, some difficulties often appear when the students begin practising the interview because we all know that the pupils make more mistakes in asking rather than in answering questions. But, little by little, they get confidence n themselves and soon they are able to be both reporters (interviewers) and people who answer the reporter’s questions (interviewee).

The students are more and more sincere with their answers, and later on they try and usually succeed to overcome their fear of making mistakes. But if mistakes happen to appear during the interview (e.g. pronunciation, grammar), the other students who listen to it write them down in their notebooks and you can discuss them at the end of the interview.

Thus, the teacher can evaluate both those students involved in the interview and the other ones who listen to it and tell their opinion afterwards. That’s why this type of activity is very attractive and it motivates the students. Not only do the good students take part in the lesson but also the less-prepared ones who try to pass over the status of poor children.

I suggest the use of the interview as an efficient method of activity in the classroom because it is attractive and motivating. The aim value of the interview technique is its effectiveness in providing practice in spoken communication. For learners of English, it proves to be a very useful way of learning English.


1. Brown, H. D. 2000. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. (4th ed.). New York:
Addison Wesley Longman.
2.   Gardner   RC.   1985.   Social   Psychology   and   Second   Language   Learning:   The   role   ofAttitudes and Motivation. London: Edward Arnold.
3. Khan, Julia. 1991. Teaching English to Children. London: HarperCollins Publishers.
4. Langran, John & Purcell, Sue 1994. Language Games and Activities. Netword 2. Teaching
Languages To Adults. London: Center for Information on Language Teaching and Research.
5. Rosmawati. 1995. Motivating Students to Speak English through Interview Technique. IKIP Makassar.


prof. Dana Elena Pașcu

Școala Gimnazială Letea Veche (Bacău) , România
Profil iTeach: iteach.ro/profesor/dana.hutanu

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