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PGCE Personal Statement for Modern Languages

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Haqiqi, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Hi! I'm hoping to apply for a PGCE at UEA next year. I used the q/a format on the TDA website, some examples from the web and zee leedle grey cells. What do you think? I'd very much appreciate anyone's input...

    Thank you!

    My journey to teaching was a natural progression from my passion for languages. As I have gotten older, I have devoted considerably more time both to autodidacticism and language classes on an individual and group level. Hence, I have encountered and investigated a plethora of teaching materials, styles and methods; adapting what I felt to be useful for my own education. The process of discovering my inchoate appreciation for pedagogy has driven my interest in instructing and guiding others.

    After travelling to Egypt four years ago, I became an English and French teacher. My experience has given me an unparalleled opportunity to foment, enrich and endear the study of language amongst my many students and classmates. For me, language teaching is synonymous with cultural exchange: by fostering an interest in language, we stimulate intercultural awareness and empathy for others.

    As an English teacher for 11-14 year olds in my Egyptian school, I was presented on a daily basis with the same challenges facing a teacher of the same age group in the UK. Yet, with one key exception: I was interacting with students possessing different life experiences and cultural backgrounds to those in the UK. My interpersonal skills, notably my affinity with Arabic and my profound cultural appreciation, ensured that I could maintain an excellent relationship with my charges. Through my awareness and interest in my students as individuals, I was able to tailor my teaching methods and our activities to facilitate their learning. The relaxed classroom environment was conducive to education on a number of levels: I was able to learn as much about my students as they were from their teacher.

    A passion for languages and the cultural exploration that multilingualism entails has permeated my entire life experience hitherto: I have taught both English and French, have lived and worked in France, Spain and Egypt, and have frequently acted as both a translator and interpreter in diverse environments. Yet, it is primarily my experience as a teacher of English and French in Egypt that has led me to seek a career teaching MFL in the UK. Whilst working in institutions as diverse as the British Council and an Egyptian international school, I have devoted my energies to essential skills such as materials design and classroom management. My interest in web-publishing, using platforms such as WordPress and Moodle, has inspired me to discover and implement key methodologies for interactive learning and flexible curriculum provision. In short, I relish the opportunity to design, manage and evaluate learning systems for languages: watching formative minds encounter and experiment with new language gratifies me immeasurably.
    Teaching English in Egypt presents a number of challenges, and the most effective way to overcome these is by observing other teachers in action: one of the most important lessons that I gleaned from successful practitioners was their ability to adapt to the mood of the class and the specific learning objectives at hand. An experienced teacher will never allow his or her methods to dominate the classroom environment. On the contrary, the 'invisible hand' of the teacher can be perceived from the seamless integration of activities, the atmosphere of the students and the accomplishment of the lesson's objectives. Learning appeared to take place effortlessly, without coercion or ostensible classroom management. In effect, a successful teacher would 'impose' his or her teaching methodology on the group with their informed consent. These teachers were not necessarily the most knowledgeable subject-wise, but demonstrated their consummate professionalism through superior preparation, an awareness of the diverse learning styles within a group, and their expert handling of learner error.

    On a pastoral or extracurricular level, I am multilingual, and can confidently communicate in French, Spanish and Arabic. My linguistic ability and my experience living and working abroad would allow me to communicate to teachers, parents and students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

    I am a devoted student of Islamic and Christian studies and inter-religious dialogue, giving me the confidence to stimulate and maintain links with individuals of other faiths.

    Amongst my many hobbies are several sports, including football, cricket, hockey and rugby. My superior knowledge of these sports allows me to coach, referee or umpire any number of extracurricular activities.

    My familiarity with Egypt and the history of the ancient and contemporary Middle East would enable me to supervise clubs and stimulate interest in an important diverse cultural heritage.

     
  2. Hi! I'm hoping to apply for a PGCE at UEA next year. I used the q/a format on the TDA website, some examples from the web and zee leedle grey cells. What do you think? I'd very much appreciate anyone's input...

    Thank you!

    My journey to teaching was a natural progression from my passion for languages. As I have gotten older, I have devoted considerably more time both to autodidacticism and language classes on an individual and group level. Hence, I have encountered and investigated a plethora of teaching materials, styles and methods; adapting what I felt to be useful for my own education. The process of discovering my inchoate appreciation for pedagogy has driven my interest in instructing and guiding others.

    After travelling to Egypt four years ago, I became an English and French teacher. My experience has given me an unparalleled opportunity to foment, enrich and endear the study of language amongst my many students and classmates. For me, language teaching is synonymous with cultural exchange: by fostering an interest in language, we stimulate intercultural awareness and empathy for others.

    As an English teacher for 11-14 year olds in my Egyptian school, I was presented on a daily basis with the same challenges facing a teacher of the same age group in the UK. Yet, with one key exception: I was interacting with students possessing different life experiences and cultural backgrounds to those in the UK. My interpersonal skills, notably my affinity with Arabic and my profound cultural appreciation, ensured that I could maintain an excellent relationship with my charges. Through my awareness and interest in my students as individuals, I was able to tailor my teaching methods and our activities to facilitate their learning. The relaxed classroom environment was conducive to education on a number of levels: I was able to learn as much about my students as they were from their teacher.

    A passion for languages and the cultural exploration that multilingualism entails has permeated my entire life experience hitherto: I have taught both English and French, have lived and worked in France, Spain and Egypt, and have frequently acted as both a translator and interpreter in diverse environments. Yet, it is primarily my experience as a teacher of English and French in Egypt that has led me to seek a career teaching MFL in the UK. Whilst working in institutions as diverse as the British Council and an Egyptian international school, I have devoted my energies to essential skills such as materials design and classroom management. My interest in web-publishing, using platforms such as WordPress and Moodle, has inspired me to discover and implement key methodologies for interactive learning and flexible curriculum provision. In short, I relish the opportunity to design, manage and evaluate learning systems for languages: watching formative minds encounter and experiment with new language gratifies me immeasurably.
    Teaching English in Egypt presents a number of challenges, and the most effective way to overcome these is by observing other teachers in action: one of the most important lessons that I gleaned from successful practitioners was their ability to adapt to the mood of the class and the specific learning objectives at hand. An experienced teacher will never allow his or her methods to dominate the classroom environment. On the contrary, the 'invisible hand' of the teacher can be perceived from the seamless integration of activities, the atmosphere of the students and the accomplishment of the lesson's objectives. Learning appeared to take place effortlessly, without coercion or ostensible classroom management. In effect, a successful teacher would 'impose' his or her teaching methodology on the group with their informed consent. These teachers were not necessarily the most knowledgeable subject-wise, but demonstrated their consummate professionalism through superior preparation, an awareness of the diverse learning styles within a group, and their expert handling of learner error.

    On a pastoral or extracurricular level, I am multilingual, and can confidently communicate in French, Spanish and Arabic. My linguistic ability and my experience living and working abroad would allow me to communicate to teachers, parents and students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

    I am a devoted student of Islamic and Christian studies and inter-religious dialogue, giving me the confidence to stimulate and maintain links with individuals of other faiths.

    Amongst my many hobbies are several sports, including football, cricket, hockey and rugby. My superior knowledge of these sports allows me to coach, referee or umpire any number of extracurricular activities.

    My familiarity with Egypt and the history of the ancient and contemporary Middle East would enable me to supervise clubs and stimulate interest in an important diverse cultural heritage.

     
  3. Hi, brilliant statement. Do you have a degree in French? Did you have to spend a year in France in ordxer to obtain your degree? What did you do there?

    Other than those questions I can't think of anything to add.

    Good luck
     
  4. Sounds fantastic to me. I would just point out that it is probably longer than the 47 lines allowed. I would prioritise the importance of what you want to say and be prepared to lose a few of the less important paragraphs.
     
  5. that's true. I did a great statement, tried copying it in and it was 103 lines long!!!
     
  6. My initial one was about 80 lines and I had to do some serious and ruthless chopping! It didn't read as well as I'd hoped by then end so make sure you keep the continuity when you edit.
     
  7. Thanks ever so much for your input. I had feared that it might be a smidgen too long...

    I'm doing some observations at a couple of secondary schools in Sept., so I can't submit my application till then unfortunately. I wasn't sure whether I could start my application and save it - adding the relevant parts as and when. I'll have a go tonight.

    I completed a modern languages degree in French and Spanish way back when. I had to spend a year in France and 6 months in Spain; I could've spent longer in Spain, but I felt the lure of academia slowly slipping away. I worked for a company in Paris doing a menial, tedious job. It was salaried though and my colleagues were extremely friendly. Paris was fantastic and I loved it; alas, I haven't been back since. My Spanish placement initially didn't work out, so I managed to organise another one as a classroom assistant with the help of kind and sympathetic locals. The Andalucians I met were amongst the friendliest and most genuine people I've ever encountered in my life. You'd think I'd have mentioned it in the statement, wouldn't you! Anyway, I'll test out the length tonight and do some fiddling.

    Once again, thanks for your input. Hooray for teachers!
     
  8. perhaps you should mention your Spanish classroom experience - that kind of experience is like gold dust - I should know I'm doing MFL as well, but at Primary level.

    Good luck

    p.s If it is the same as last year, you can access an application form BUT it is an application form for this year. I wouldn't bother filling it out - just have it ready to copy and paste when 2009 applications go live, usually in about 40 days time.
     
  9. and p.p.s if you mention briefly that you have experience in a spanish classroom, it will give you an opportunity to speak about your experience in your interviews, try to be brief in the statement as if they are interested they will delve further into the details!
     
  10. Fair enough fehrenufski...I'll do that! I got a bit sidetracked in the end and shirked the GTTR...good job I did by the sound of it as I may have foolishly applied for 2008 entry unless you had posted so promptly - thanks for the tips!

    Good luck to you! Are you teaching at the mo. or looking for a job?

    I'm hoping to be able to teach Arabic too once I qualify...there don't seem to be that many PGCEs for French, Spanish and Arabic though ;<

    Whad'ja reckon? Would I be able to ply my trade at say various schools who might want some after school Arabic or maybe the odd lesson for 'community languages' students/ESLs? It drives me crazy that Arabic is such a useful and important language that it only seems to be taught to kids whose parents speka it...same goes for Hindustani and Mandarin (both key languages with massive potential)...isn't there anyone who wants to learn exciting and challenging langs. anymore?

    Good luck to you whatever you're doing and, once again, thanks for the tips and the sage advice!
     
  11. FInally, someone gets my nickname!! LOL!

    You're welcome. Well funnily enough I'm starting my PGCE in Primary MFL German in 28 days (EEEEEKKK!) and have spent the majority of the last year on here collecting various tips! LOL

    Like you, I also speak other languages - Polish, French, Japanese, and obv German! And English! And it's been suggested to me that because of my Polish I might be highly sought after. I have no quals in Polish, I lived on the Polish-German border for a year as part of my degree and picked up a vast amount! So in terms of doing an MFL with Arabic, I wouldn't worry about that too much, MFL French Spanish will see you in good stead. If you go on to teach in London, Birmingham, other multi cultural areas of the country, no doubt your ability to speak Arabic will stand you out from the crowd.

    Having said that, languages such as Chinese and Arabic are on the rise with GCSE candidates, so there may be opportunities there.

    If you have any questions again just post - I'm on here all the time!
     
  12. and of course if you get to do TEFL or ESOL, do it! That will help you for sure!
     
  13. Wow! A super polyglot! You must be popular on holiday...they probably mistake you for the tourguide, interpreter and kids animateur all rolled into one polysyllabic package!

    Japanese, THOSE characters (pictograms?)...and don't even get me started on Polish (Chaysh?)! ;)

    You'll make a fine example to the next generation if you can instil even a smattering of your linguistic talent (get 'em young!).

    I can just about ask directions in German, but I'm rather proud of my Allo, Allo-honed accent. The Germans, like the Dutch and the Danes speak such good English they put native Brits to shame. If only we stop other nations learning English (I'd be out of a job LOL!), we might get a chance to catch up; perhaps we'd be forced for once to learn other langs.?

    Got my CELTA...been there, done that; bought the t-shirt...and it's certainly stood me in good stead - not the easiest job in the world (as some would have us believe...) either!

    I haven't ruled out working in London, and there are plenty of opportunites for Arabic teachers there. Yet, I'd rather not teach solely ESLs as I think this can be devisive; I'd rather teach ALL children Arabic so that everyone can benefit. English is a great tool because it brings so many different cultures together under the same 'roof', allowing those from varied backgrounds and experience to exchange ideas and share common goals on an even footing. I have the same aspirations for Arabic. I feel the same about languages from the sub-continent: I love languages like Urdu and Bengali, and using the few phrases that I know. It helps me connect with people. I don't like it when languages are used to divide and maintain 'difference'; either as a tool of multiculturalism or as part of some privileged, exclusivist eclectic doctrine for superiority. Languages are for all and they don't possess 'owners'...

    I'll try to use the TES this year too as much as I can: it's full of top tips (and tipsters!) and truly exemplifies the merits of an online community ;)

    Thanks for your tips once again; hopefully, with a bit more knowhow I can start to help others out on here following your example!

    Best wishes for your new course!
     
  14. Thanks for your kind words, and good luck!

    Emma :)
     

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