Roots with Wings, a Floyd County Place-Based Education Project:: Intergenerational Connections

Floyd Story Center

Since 1998, a community oral history collection partnership of the Old Church Gallery, Ltd., Radford University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, Honors Program, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, and Floyd County High School. Our archives now hold over 100 interviews.

In our Roots with Wings project, college mentors, high school staff, and community volunteers meet weekly during the school year to teach the discipline of oral history collection to Floyd County High School students.


Students learn ethical, methodologically sound interview techniques, practice and complete several interviews, transcribe the audiotapes, create searchable content logs, archive interviewee resources and period photographs, learn the technology of audio and video recording, research historical backgrounds, acquire proficiency in iMovie and storytelling, and finally extract a theme from an hour long interview to create a seven minute movie production.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Practice Interviews with Radford University Mentors 

Interviews at Floyd County High School 


Radford University mentors worked alongside the Floyd County High School students in the Thursday, March 1st class to run through an entire list of questions for the upcoming oral history interviews.  In preparation, RU mentors helped students find specific questions to ask each interviewee.

At this point in the semester, the FCHS students have been divided into groups for each of the four intentional community interviews.  Mentors shared advice and reminders, including deportment, final audience questions, and to keep the audio recorder on until the absolute end of the interview.
Once we finished going over the reminders, we set up the equipment for practice interviews. The equipment is vital on interview day, which is why we practice so much before the day comes.

The equipment is set up carefully but efficiently, which means framing the perfect shot, securing cables, and achieving proper audio connections for clear recordings.

When the mentors went over the questions, the mentors were looking for specific things: finding a natural interview voice, creating a statement that ensures pauses throughout the interview, and that the phrasing for questions was executed properly. We want our interviewers to be open and welcoming, which means our questions have to follow that same guideline. We are not interrogating people but interviewing them to understand their involvement within their intentional community. 

What advice do you think our mentors could give the FCHS students for interviews?

Upcoming dates:
March 15th - Meet & Greet Day with the interviewees
March 22nd - Interview Day!

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