How to Implement the Two-Minute Interview Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom


In a learning activity utilizing the two-minute interview method, learners gather evidence and ideas by asking questions of a rotating partner. Utilize this method to stimulate learners’ thinking as they investigate an essential question or search for evidence in response to an essay prompt. By requiring learners to practice active listening and reading, this method helps learners develop the necessary skills for learning new information. You can also utilize this method as a way to have learners share their work with peers.


Learners Prepare:

Ask learners to create a list of questions they have about the historical case study the class is investigating or the evidence they have collected. Alternatively, you can ask learners to respond to a question such as, “Do you agree that laws are the most important factor in overcoming discrimination? Why or why not?”

Two-Minute Interviews:

Divide the class in half randomly. Place chairs in two long rows so that learners will sit facing each other.

Tell learners that they will have two minutes to interview each other. One row of learners will ask the questions, listen carefully, and take notes. The other row will answer.

After two minutes, have one row of learners move down so that everyone has a new partner to share evidence or ideas with. Continue this learning activity until you feel that learners have gathered enough evidence or shared enough ideas to generate a full-class discussion.

Instructor’s role:

As the learners share their ideas, take notes. Pay particular attention to the following:

  • Patterns of insight, comprehension, or strong historical reasoning
  • Patterns of confusion, factual inaccuracies, facile connections, or thinking that indicates learners are making overly simplified comparisons between past and present

The goal is for learners to share text-based evidence effectively and accurately. The following categories can guide you, the instructor, as you listen to your learners’ discussion. Listen for:

  • Factual and interpretive accuracy: Offering evidence that is correct and plausible interpretations
  • The persuasiveness of evidence: Including evidence that is applicable and strong in terms of assisting in proving the claim
  • Sourcing of evidence: Noting what the source is and its credibility and/or bias
  • Corroboration of evidence: Recognizing how different documents work together to support a claim
  • Contextualization of evidence: Placing the evidence into its appropriate historical context

As learners debrief, weave in feedback. Affirm their insights. Highlight strong historical reasoning and text-based arguments. Select one or two misconceptions about the content to address. Point out areas where learners may want to reassess the ways they are connecting past and present.


After this method, you will want to debrief in a class discussion and/or a journal reflection. Prompts for journal writing include:

How may you respond to the prompt or essential question now?

What did you learn today? How does this information relate to the prompt or essential question?

What else do you want to know?

Choose your Reaction!