In Brief 

In this lesson, students conduct a more extended interview with a local leader and explore the relevance of civic hospitality to their work.


  • Students will facilitate an extended interview with a local leader.
  • Students will practice asking generative questions.

Thinking Ahead 

It will be natural during an interview to focus on the content of what an interviewee is saying. Here we also want to focus on the connection to civic hospitality, and that will involve paying attention to the implicit political postures modeled by the interviewee (see the earlier lesson on Political Stances and Stories) and also to the way in which the class conducts the interview. Are the guest’s posture and the class’s approach to conversation with them consistent with what has been learned about hospitality? Pay close attention yourself to these two aspects during the interview so that you can help the class to reflect on them during the debrief.

Note that this lesson sequence presupposes that students have had some engagement with the frameworks explored in the lessons on Hospitality. Without such engagement the connection to faith will be less clear.

Preparing the Activities 

For this lesson you will need:

  • A space that can be arranged to facilitate an interview with seating that allows good sight lines for all students.
  • Any resources relevant to providing hospitality to the speaker (e.g. water, an accessible seat)

Teaching the Activities 

Phase 1: Interview

If meeting in person, prepare the classroom (layout etc.) in accordance with the discussion at the end of the previous session. Welcome the invited local leader and have them briefly reintroduce themselves to the class. Begin by asking them if there is anything from the recorded interview that they would like to expand on a little.

Next, have the designated students ask each of the six chosen questions (see previous lesson). If the theme did not end up explicitly articulated in these six questions, add the following question yourself (if it was included, consider having the designated students explain a little about what has been learned in previous classes about civic hospitality):

We have been thinking about hospitality to others as a civic virtue and an approach to differences. How do you see the idea of practicing hospitality toward others across differences as being relevant to your work in the community?

Finally, allow an open time for follow-up questions for the group. This time can be used to pursue an idea or example in more detail or to allow students to voice individual questions that did not make it into the prioritized question list. Before time is up, ask the guest leader to offer a final encouragement or piece of advice to the students, and have the class express thanks in whatever way they decided on in the previous lesson.

Phase 2: Debrief

Conclude the interview (and the leader’s visit) ten minutes before the end of class and debrief with students after the leader has left the room. Consider asking the leader to wait in an appropriate location until the end of class and debriefing separately with them; if this is not practical, follow up with them later so that their experience does not end abruptly. Questions that you could explore with students include:

  • What did we learn from this second interview that was fresh?
  • How successful were our questions in drawing out insight? How could our questions be improved, and why would a different version be better?
  • Did you disagree with anything the interviewee said? Was there anything you found insightful?
  • Did we learn anything about the leader’s faith? Are there ways in which their leadership resonates with a Christian vision of hospitality?
  • How well did we succeed in practicing hospitality to the interviewee, both literally in how they were welcomed into the physical space and in terms of how we interacted with their thoughts?
  • (If you used the earlier lesson on Political Stances and Stories) Which of the political postures that we discussed previously did you discern in the interviewee?


In preparation for the next class, ask students to write a journal entry answering the following questions (listed on the homework handout provided as a pdf):

  • What did you learn about the needs of your community?
  • What did you learn about leadership and civic engagement?
  • What would you ask the local leader if you had another opportunity to talk?
  • Who do you know who is a leader in your community and would be interesting to interview in a similar way?
  • Is there a need in our community that you would like to help address?