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PGCE interview I had yesterday...hope it helps others

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by wheezysteve, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. wheezysteve

    wheezysteve New commenter

    Hi guys
    I have made use of these forums for information on interviews and educational issues, so I am going to write about my interview at Manchester in the hope that it can help others.
    The start was a talk with all the other PGCE interviewees about the PGCE, pay, benefits,MA etc. Relaxing for 10 minutes. Then we were split up into our own PGCE subject group and we were taken into another room.
    There was only 3 of us there at the Business PGCE interview room - a classroom. Our assessors were a PGCE Business Tutor on the course and a previous assessor from a 6th form college that specialises in Business Studies.
    First part - we had to do our group task - basically I was given a 5 sheet booklet about a particular topic (we all got different ones) and I was given 10 minutes to prepare a lesson to the "class" on this topic It was business related. So I went up and I did what I thought was good for me to be teaching the two assessors (who were now 15 year olds lol) - I used the whiteboard. got them involved with questions and answers. Then I waited whilst the other two candidates did their presentations.
    Next part - was the interview - 30 minutes long (see next paragraph for details). I should say whilst one candidate was doing their interview the other two were doing their literacy and numeracy tests (both were easy and fairly basic - pie charts, means of scores etc. spelling and re-writing a story with the correct pronunciation and grammar. As well as doing these two tests, whilst waiting to be called for your interview, you had to do a business written task - choice of 4 essay questions, you choose one question - and this was hard. I think they were previous past paper questions.
    Interview - this was very informal and relaxed. The two assessors were great people in my opinion and I felt relaxed around them. They asked obvious questions such as, what qualities do I believe make a great teacher; the previous teaching experience I had in the classroom; how could I bring that experience into a first lesson in business studies at the 6th form college; how would I deal with disruptive behaviour; then educational issues. I spoke of Ed Balls and what he said about the Special Ed system being a let down for families - families often have to fight to get access to support their kids need (was reported 25th February in BBC and Guardian)...plus I know the system well given I took my nephew through it and got him statemented at p5 and the special ed system has let him badly down. Then they asked about a business education topic of my choice. This I must say thank you to this forum directly because I am outside of England so I don't know the scope of the English system. I spoke of the diploma (they loved this!!!) - how the Tomlinson report for 2013 advocates 14 diplomas and 19 diplomas for 14-16 and 17-18 year olds respectively. The issues surrounding this - I used all the information and the problems that were expressed here on previous topic and the assessors loved it. Lastly in the interview I was asked 3 specific business studies questions, gladly I got them all right but the other interviewees apparently did not so it is advisable to study up on your PGCE subject.
    Well thats it. Provided a lot of detail, hope to hear of the outcome to my interview soon. Any other questions feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer them...this topic is hotlisted for me so I'll see new replies.

  2. Hi Mark,
    I was at the assessment day at Manchester, too! Like you and others, I made great use of the TES site amongst others and would like to divulge my experience of the assessment day as a MFL candidate.
    I must say, much of my interview experience corresponds to what has already been mentioned by Mark. Myself and another interviewee were taken into another room (post intro to the course). Here we were given a pack each containing flashcards (my theme was body parts whilst the other interviewee got different means of transport). The task was to prepare a lesson aimed at Year 7 students so that they are introduced the words and are able to learn/remember them effectively. We were free to introduce nouns, phrases, questions - essentially, plenty of scope to do/present what you would like. We were given 15minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to execute the lesson.
    My advice to any other candidates is to not panic whatsoever - there really is nothing to fear. Enjoy the experience - if you have already done a year abroad and took the assistantship option, then fully exploit it to your advantage.Most of you will have attended a teaching workshop before embarking on the assistantship and this will really pay dividends! Alternatively, get involved with the SAS at your uni or organise a work experience placement with your old school. I understand that this can be quite tricky as schools are now requesting CRB checks and have a whole host of boxes to tick in order to honour the ECM agenda. Alternatively, get in touch with the TDA - I believe they offer advice around the issue.
    We were given ample resources - blu tack, whiteboard, OHP etc etc. Post-presentation, I undertook the numeracy and literacy skills whilst the other interviewee was taken in for the formal interview. Now, I know that the very sight of 'Basic Numeracy and Literacy Tests' in the Uni email caused me unbelievable consternation! 'Basic' can be open to interpretation - if you are really as incompetent in maths as I am! - but in this case, it was all within reason. It was actually very do-able. If you do fret about your mathematical abilities, visit the BBC website or any of the multitudinous resources available on the web concerning GCSE Maths revision. I used the Kent Uni numeracy test as a means of practising (http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/tests/mathstest.htm). As a barometer, the Man Uni test is significantly easier but at least here, the solutions are explained and you are able to grasp the machinations behind everything.
    Likewise, the literacy test was very straightforward - establishing the correctly spelled word and then punctuating a transcript so that it was coherent.
    MFL students are also required to complete a writing test. If you are only aiming to teach one foreign language, then you can choose one out of the two themes (both relating to current and past experiences of teaching observations). If, however, you are intending to teach two langs, then you have to answer both essay questions - one in each lang, understandably!
    Interview questions pretty much echo what Mark has discussed. Be sure of your reasons to teach - I was asked:
    Why secondary education?
    Why MFL?
    What is the biggest challenge facing schools at the moment? (I related this to my current field of work and discussed schools acting as a breeding ground for extremism and discussed the government's Prevent agenda, the toolkit for schools, the pressure on teachers to identify 'radical' tendencies in individuals and consequently, the problems associated with this).
    Which qualities are needed to be a good teacher?
    What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    In German, I was asked about my time there, how I immersed myself in German culture and was asked to compare and contrast the two educational systems.
    In French, I was asked about my experiences in France, my opinion on the current national debate vis-a-vis Identity and Integration and how I would go about teaching the topic especially in light of the fact that I wear a headscarf. I greatly relished the chance to discuss such a topical issue! I advise others to be aware of current issues in Europe; be prepared to discuss the topic and really show off how much you know - it's one of the best ways you can impress your interviewers!
    At the end fo the interview, I was given more info around the course structure and given the opportunity to ask any questions.

    All in all, it proved not to be daunting at all and perversely, was quite enjoyable! Hope this is of some use to readers![​IMG]
  3. Hi everyone,
    Im a bit stressed, I have PGCE interview Primary (Flexible) at Uni of Herdfordshire. Has anyone had a recent interview at Uni of Herdfordshire? What were the questions like? Any examples?
    I would be grateful for any advice
    Thanks a million


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