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Nov. 27 is a day for listening

November 19, 2009

On the day after Thanksgiving, set aside one hour to record a conversation with someone important to you.

Started last year by Story Corps, the National Day of Listening has excellent potential as a class activity. It may be late to incorporate it formally this semester, but you could try the activity for yourself this year, with an eye to using it next fall. Or offer it as an extra credit assignment; students could ask a particular question relevant to your course as part of a conversation, then share the answers after the break.

Celebrate the National Day of Listening

Interview anyone: a relative, a friend, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. There are lots of great questions you could ask about the past or the future, life lessons, influential people, relationships, war stories, spiritual moments, and so on. You might even decide to do this as a public service at a library, veterans’ hospital, senior center, soup kitchen, hospice, etc.

Where does technology come in? Well, part of the idea is to digitally record each conversation on a computer or other device, then give a copy to the interviewee to share with family and friends. Where appropriate, another copy could be offered (with permission) to the local library

To learn more, visit the National Day of Listening website, where you will find interview tips and ideas for organizing a service event. Later on, we’d love to see comments from people who have done the interviews.

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