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PGCE Interview - some general advice please.

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by rugbylovingmum, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. rugbylovingmum

    rugbylovingmum New commenter

    I have my first PGCE interview in two weeks and I want to make sure I am as prepared as possible. I won't ask for any specific advice as I know I need to plan my activities/answers myself but I was hoping someone could reassure me that I have interpreted the tasks correctly. I am very nervous as it's a long time since I interviewed for a job and I've never had an interview as formal as this.

    1. I need to deliver a short classroom based teaching/interaction activity to a small group of year 7 or year 8 pupils. It says 'you can choose any aspect of your subject, you are not limited in terms of subject or content'. My initial thought was that I should choose a topic that is covered by the KS3 curriculum but I won't know what they have covered so far. Would I be better to choose something that is related to the KS3 curriculum but should be new to the students or go with something from the curriculum and just be prepared to adapt my plan depending on their current knowledge? Are they looking at how well you engage students or plan and direct activities more than the content? I only have 10-15 minutes so I don't want to try anything too ambitious but obviously I want the students to enjoy the session and learn something.

    2. I have to complete a subject audit before I attend the interview and indicate for each topic whether I have a good understanding/adequate understanding or inadequate understanding. I assume they are expecting there to be gaps in your knowledge at this stage and, if I do not feel I have sufficient understanding to teach the topic right now, then I should tick inadequate. For example, I don't feel I could teach all of the energy, electricity and forces topic without doing more reading/work which I fully intend to do by September. I teach GCSE Biology and I have tutored GCSE students in biology, chemistry and physics so I have been through all the topics relatively recently but I'm less confident with some areas.

  2. Topsyt

    Topsyt New commenter

    I had my PGCE interview for Primary just before Christmas with a similar brief to your point 1. Prepare a teaching activity lasting no more than 20 minutes on something new for 10 year 3 and 4's. I spoke to a couple of different teachers who advised me to pick an activity that could be related to the curriculum, but not to worry overly about the something new as I was unable to know in advance what has / hasn't been learnt previously.

    Additional tips were to keep it simple and if possible go for something interactive to attract and keep attention but also allowing for the children to ask questions on what I was asking them to do.

    The lesson activity is very much intended to see how you interact with the children and engage them, rather than your knowledge of lesson planning and pedagogy. Yes these are important and a level of knowledge and capability is expected, but you wont be expected to be the finished product.

    You've only got 15 minutes, which go very quickly, so plan an introduction as to what you are doing and expect, undertake the activity / lesson chosen and then finish up, and if possible try and gauge the children's learning and understanding of the lesson by asking a couple of questions on what you have taught them.

    Best advice is choose a lesson topic you are confident with and run through you lesson in advance with someone else to get feedback and also a feel for the flow of what you will be teaching. This should also help show up if you are trying to fit to much into the available time and allow you to tweak in advance.

    Best of luck when you get there
    Kartoshka likes this.
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    It specifically says you can teach anything you like. Don't worry whether it is linked to the curriculum or not - just do something that is interesting (to you and the children). The interviewers will be looking at your interaction with the children and at the way you present the learning material, rather than at your knowledge of the curriculum. In fact, I think it would be to your advantage to choose something a bit different, as it may help you to stand out or at least be a bit more memorable than "another one doing nutrition".
  4. rugbylovingmum

    rugbylovingmum New commenter

    Thanks for all the advice. I've starting thinking about topics and activities I can do. I actually find this the hardest part of planning lessons, once I have decided on a topic it's fine. I had to do a micro teach as part of one of my training courses this year and it took me days to decide what I wanted to teach then 20 minutes to plan the session. I love science so I always have a hundred ideas and can't decide which one would be most interesting for the students. I'll run some ideas past my kids and husband tonight and see which one grabs their attention. My biggest challenge is not talking too much. I get really enthusiast about a topic and end up teaching/lecturing too much rather than letting students work things out themselves. I've had a couple of lesson observations and they both said I need to stand back and let my students do more of the work so I am really trying to be aware of that.

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