Roads to Environmental Oral History Interviews

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1. Teacher
explanations of running water pieces

 

Teachers were asked, as an example of homework, to find an example of a
running body of water from their local area, photograph it, and write a short
explanation of what it means (or meant) to them. Many teachers picked rivers, creeks, and
streams from their childhood or where they grew up. Most found more information out than they
were expecting and were excited to learn more. With yesterday’s Doan Brook tour and discussions still fresh in our mind
an excellent reflection took place during the presentations.

 

2. Interview
with Dave Vasarhelyi

 

Dr. Mark Tebeau modeled a live interview with West Creek advocate Dave Vasarhelyi. Mark, whose experience with oral history
techniques were apparent, conducted the entire interview as both a teaching and
learning tool. This included greeting
Dave properly, using a facilitator, ensuring proper sound quality, and
concluding the interview with wrap up questions.

 

Teacher participants were asked to practice active listening. They took notes, created questions for the
end, and critiqued Mark’s methodology.

 

3. Interview
with Tom Yablonsky

 

Jennie Vasaehelyi conducted an interview with Tom Yablonsky, a local
advocate for expanding the Canalway to Cleveland’s Flats area, the mouth of the
Cuyahoga River emptying into Lake Erie. 

 

Teacher participants were again asked to practice active listening. This
time the interviewer opened up the subject, Tom, to the group. The attention and interest of the teachers
became apparent as the interview continued for almost twenty minutes after
Jennie’s conclusion.

 

4. Interview
Observation and Critique Discussion

 

Teacher participants chimed in on what went well, what they were confused
about, and what they thought was problematic about Mark and Jennie’s
interview. The group as a whole
developed a better understanding of the interview process as a whole out of
this discussion. Mic placement, opening
questions, sound quality, and how to get the most interesting information out
of your subject was all discussed.

 

5. Technology
Explanation

 

Matt,
Emily, and Justin presented the technological tools needed for conducting oral
history interviews and how to use them to the group. The group was presented to first as an entire
group and then split into smaller formations based on site locations. Each teacher participant was encouraged to
use hands-on learning techniques and work with the equipment directly.