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Interview at an indepedent school - advice needed

Discussion in 'Independent' started by SG6, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. SG6


    I am hoping someone will be able to help me with some questions I have about what to expect when I attend an interview for a French & German teaching interview at an independent school.
    I am not sure first of all what the expectations are when delivering a lesson in independent schools and would love to know, above all from any MFL teachers out there, how to best carry out the lesson. Do independent schools prefer formal or informal teaching? Are games and 'interactive' activities frowned upon? How friendly should I be with the students? What are typical activities carried out teaching MFL, above all when teaching grammar?
    Any tips or advice on what to expect during the interview would be really welcomed too.
    Thank you so much in advance for any help you can give me!

  2. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    For an interview lesson in any type of school I would not want to purely do a game type activity. I would do something that combined some more traditional teaching with a more interactive type thing, that way you have covered all the bases, you never know whether the person watching the lesson will prefer trad teaching or a more modern approach. It may be that the school has been teaching in a trad way but wants to modernise. I would certainly include some element of written work, not just speaking/listening.
  3. SG6


    Thank you for a swift reply Trinity. I think you are right, that I need to show some traditional teaching methods alongside more modern methods. As a rule of thumb, could you tell me if games plus group/pair work are all 'must-have' compontents of lessons in independent schools?
  4. All independent schools are different, as are State schools - do what works for you and what you think you can run or manage in a lesson.
    As for games or group work, it is likely that the pupils will have come across this in other lessons even if their MFL teacher has not done it. Your observer will be looking to see that the pupils are engaged and learning and that you can judge how they are getting on. If you include pair work, I advise you to walk around the classroom while the pupils are doing their stuff. You will get a better feel for how they are getting on & can listen in, encourage or intervene on a more personal level with those close to you. It can also help the pupils know when their 'time is up' since they will see that you are back at the front & you can sum up or recap on how they did, drawing on what you discovered on your walk!
    Depending on your background, you may find that the pupils stay on task more easily in an independent school and that you get through more material than you are used to. So prepare for more that you think you will need and then be flexible about where to stop the lesson. You can explain this to the observer before the lesson.
  5. I am an MFL teacher in an independent school, but, as is often noted on here, all independents are different! We value the teaching of grammar very highly, and don't expect it to be too dumbed down.
    Something interactive/fun is fine as a consolidation activity, but don't get caught up on what you "have" to include - many (most?) independent schools don't care about starters, plenaries, lesson objectives, AfL, etc. They are just looking for a really good teacher (whatever that means!)
  6. To begin with - and I hope you will not take exemption to this - but it is important to note that there are a huge variety of independent schools just as the state sector varies from socially exclusive comprehensives, state funded boarding schools, grammar schools to inner city schools with lots of special needs.
    In the independent sector at senior level, one can go from the Clarendon Group (Eton, Harrow, Westminster, Charterhouse etc) to independent grammars, through to small 6th form centres which do not receive government funding. Similar remarks apply at prep school level.
    I spoke to two people recently who went into the independent sector straight from difficult comps which were under special measures. The one got a job in a Clarendon School and while they were academically outstanding anyway, this would probably not have been enough: they made sure that the 6th form was stretched in the observed session. The second got a job in a very good prep school because they ticked a lot of boxes the school wanted, including excurricula.
    In both cases, the schools couldn't care less about their backgrounds: they knew what they wanted and were brutually meritocratic in rejecting candidates. In a competitive environment, every appointment is really important to the school but some applicants can't cope with that brutality. The schools have also been very welcoming and have supported both NQTs in terms of staff development.
    So it is difficult to provide specific advice but do your homework and if it is a strongly academic post, stretch the pupils in a creative but organised way.

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