Watch this video to see 'Appreciative Interviews' in action...

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The purpose of 'Appreciative Interviews'

To help groups identify elements of success.

Activity description

  • Useful for
  • Preparation
  • How to do it
  • Duration
  • Adaptations
  • Technical requirements

Helping students prepare for working together in groups or on a project or on something with a common output.


Students work in pairs then in fours, then regroup with the whole group, using breakout rooms and Google docs.

  1. Each pair interviews each other for 5 minutes at a time, asking the other “Think of a time when you did _______ successfully, what made that experience successful?The interviewer stays quiet, and can ask probing questions that just encourage the interviewee to expand, such as “why do you think that is?” or “tell me more” but does not offer their own reaction/feedback. After 5 minutes, they switch roles. It helps to take notes of key elements in the other person’s story.
  2. Pairs match up with other pairs to make fours. Each person in a pair tells the story of the person they were interviewing and brings out key elements of success. After all have shared, they make a list of elements of success that they can try to take forward.

10 minutes for the first round in breakouts of pairs.

10 minutes for the second round in breakouts of four (you can skip this step if you wish).

And then debrief in the main room would vary, depending on how much depth you go into in terms of letting all groups share out orally or in writing.

This can potentially be done asynchronously where each person writes up (or does a video of) what they would say in an interview, and then the group analyzes the written text of each other to identify elements of success using annotations or create a list separately.

Breakout rooms and Google docs if done synchronously.

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How do I use these resources?

We have created a welcome video and some introductory text that explains in detail how to use these resources. You can also find answers to some key questions below. 

Yes you can. We have included descriptive text and slides that you can reuse / adapt for this reason. We have suggested some variations for activities to help you make adaptations.

We show how much time an activity should take and what resources you need to help you make a decision.

As we include more resources over time you will have a greater choice of activities and more information about the different contexts within which they work best. 

Any technique can block some people out, make them feel unwelcomed, or be used in a way that privileges some and makes it harder on others.

All of these techniques should be used in conjunction with pedagogies of care and what we call Intentionally Equitable Hospitality

If you try an adaptation of this activity, or try it as is and have interesting results to share, please contribute your adaptation/reflection in the comments or get in touch through social media / email.

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