tree-reflectionI’ve developed and written many videos over the course of my career. Some have been intended for national broadcast, others for smaller audiences, all generally aimed at teaching, informing or motivating viewers often within the broad category of education. I’ve also written more articles about education for both digital and print publication than I can count. For all of this work, I have conducted innumerable interviews with individuals from varied professions, experts and lay people alike.

My goal as a reporter or producer is generally to get specific information and clarification, but also to capture an interviewee’s candid thoughts and responses to the subject at hand. I enjoy talking to people in general, so it’s fairly easy for me to keep a conversation going. And there is almost always a moment when an interview reaches cruising altitude and the person being interviewed becomes comfortable enough to share a truly personal reflection that illuminates whatever we’re exploring together.

I’ve experienced that aha! interview moment several times lately as I’ve gathered material for videos documenting college readiness work with disadvantaged students for a CTL client/partner. Many of the interviewees have been individuals who themselves grew up without resources and support for education in general and for college going in particular. They have elected to focus their careers on providing the backing that they themselves lacked, for students in similar situations. And almost without fail, when they start reflecting on their work, even those most reticent about speaking on camera visibly relax, as color flows into their faces and their eyes shine with the satisfaction of purpose that’s come full circle. In addition to being moments when, as an interviewer, I know I’ve “got it,” these moments also indicate a deeper truth about human nature–that we work hardest for and gain the greatest satisfaction from the things that resonate most deeply within us.

How can educators elicit such insight and resonance with students, prompting ┬áhonest reflection that illuminates the search for knowledge and meaning? How can teachers create the conditions under which aha‘s can occur frequently for their students and for themselves? Post your thoughts, and we’ll explore in a future post–maybe with our own “got it” moments along the way.

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