Teaching: Draw a dinosaur (and other interview questions)

Students playing a game in one of my oral classes

Although the semester is finally over, I feel like I am still constantly thinking up great new lesson plans. (Good thing I’m still teaching next year!) Towards the end of this semester, I finally felt like I could plan a complete, effective lesson without stressing out. I let my students take center stage, and I just guided them along the way.

One of the units that we did in my oral classes earlier this semester was job interviews. It’s a very practical skill that I hoped would help my students when they apply for their first job. (Because they study for such long hours in high school and college, it’s rare to find a student who has a part time job.) One of my lessons for this unit involved the students trying to answer some untraditional interview questions like How do you make a cup of tea? and What color is your brain? My students are ridiculously book smart, but sometimes it seems like torture trying to get them to be creative or think outside the box. At first they looked around quizzically and struggled to give thorough answers. When I asked, “How do you make a cup of tea?” They said “You put tea in a cup and add hot water. That’s all.” I explained that this question was probably being asked to see how detail-oriented you were, so you should explain the process step by step with lots of details. They had fun with that. One girl started, “First, I would ask the interviewer what kind of tea he liked, and then go to the market to buy that tea for him…”

After we practiced answering questions, the next part of the lesson was for groups of students to pretend that they were directors of famous companies seeking to hire new employees. They had to write down some desirable adjectives for employees at their company, and then devise interview questions that would demonstrate the extent to which an interviewee possessed those traits. I encouraged them to use several “traditional” interview questions, but also several “creative” questions. The results were hysterical. Armed with another group’s interview questions, one person acted as the HR rep and asked his or her group members the interview questions. Each HR rep chose to hire one person who answered the questions best. It was fun popping around the classroom from group to group, watching my students creatively and confidently answer the interview questions. I wrote down a few of my (unedited) favorites below.

  • If you’re given 100 yuan, what will you do with it? (Responsibility)
  • When you are refused by a girl or a boy you love, will you laugh when you hear a funny story? (Optimism)
  • What would you do if your father killed a person?
  • How many girlfriends have you had? (Loyalty)
  • What is the secret of your previous company?
  • If you were left on an island with your enemy, what would you do?
  • What if you have the power to control one’s mind?
  • If you receive fake money, what will you do? (Honesty)
  • Please draw a dinosaur. (Creativity)
  • If you were facing Obama right now, what would you do? (Composure)
  • If a baby was crying next to you, what would you do? (Patience)
I have some other lesson plan laughs that I’ll share in future blog posts….But right now I should get back to my riveting Excel documents and continue inputting grades.

4 thoughts on “Teaching: Draw a dinosaur (and other interview questions)

  1. The questions are so funny!! 🙂

    You need to tell me how teaching was this year! Tell me all your teaching tips!! I just got a position as a 6th grade teaching for the fall!! 😀

  2. Some of the best stories I got were:
    My Life As: A Pencil, An Eraser, A Book Mark…
    These are every day things they use & it is great for the imagination.
    Hope you try some.

    Aunt Noreen

  3. @Eunice— Eunster! Congrats on your new teaching gig. Where is the school? I totally agree that we need to share teaching tips!

    @Aunt Noreen- That sounds like a great idea. I always like ideas that help them use their imagination. I won’t be teaching a writing class next year, but I’ll see if I can use it somehow.

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