Interviewing: An Insider’s Insight into Learning

  • Marc S. Schwartz
  • Kurt W. Fischer


Interviewing is often thought of as a research tool, but by shifting focus, teachers can use “interviewing” to support two important classroom goals: clarifying student understanding, and in turn providing students with opportunities to organize more meaningful structures of understanding. We provide an operational definition for levels of understanding and a hierarchical framework (similar to Robbie Case’s developmental framework) for evaluating changes in student understanding during the interview process. From a very different perspective, the student’s insights are viewed from the brain’s central organizational principle; brains learn about patterns in the world in order to make reliable predictions about its environment. Thus, new insights are new patterns that students recognize and can test against reality within carefully constructed classroom activities or during the interview process. Pattern recognition and changes in neural activity offer an additional dimension for understanding the dynamic interaction between the teacher/interviewer and the student, which we also explore in detail.


Science Teacher Skill Level Interview Process Sophisticated Model Single Representation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TexasArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard University Graduate School of EducationCambridgeUSA

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