The mock interview was implemented in a very innovative way. One student was asked to be on the interview panel with the lecturer whilst another student was being interviewed. It was set up very professionally and there were appropriate introductions as role-play. While it might seem a little awkward to pretend not to know the student, it did help to increase the level of seriousness. It also made the learners think about how the interview might start and what they would do with their portfolio. If a student is in a real interview situation, simply knowing which way the portfolio opens and how to best present it can avoid all kinds of nervousness.
What the lecturer did
The lecturer had a list of interview questions they shared with the student on the interview panel. They supported the student interviewer by starting off the questions and only steering the discussion and interview at critical points. Most of the questions came from the student, but the lecturer made sure there were also some questions that were more difficult to answer or that provoked higher levels of reflection and evaluation.
The discussion covered all the points that an interview would normally such as the student’s artwork, experience and career intentions. It also gave the student an opportunity to ask questions and the lecturer had to role-play very well.
At the end, the interviewee was asked to take 5 minutes to evaluate their performance on their own. During this time the lecturer evaluated the interview performance with the student interviewer in a separate discussion. This then gave them a very rich learning experience. The directed questioning during this time was very sophisticated and really helped develop very high level evaluative skills in the student that would be very difficult to develop in another way. By looking at the performance of another student, the student interviewers were able to compare and contrast their own method and learn from best practice.
Once this discussion was complete the interviewee returned for a review. There was a full and frank discussion, which the lecturer directed and steered in order to make sure the interviewee took away the most critical points from the experience. The feedback was balanced between positive areas and opportunities for development. The lecturer engaged the interviewer student to help the interviewee find practical solutions and didn’t just tell them what they needed to do. As such, both students had to find creative solutions and think very quickly about how to develop complex abilities.
A very exciting aspect of this lesson was to see how, through a structured format, the lecturer was able to steer the students through a learning experience without giving them answers or solutions. The students were provided with a safe framework within which to be honest, to listen and to really help each other. Every opportunity for participation of the learner was taken and as such the learning was maximised.