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Preparation for PGCE MFL interview

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by CelticRabelais, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Hello there,
    Was wondering if anyone thinks it's a good time to be joining the MFL teaching profession?
    I have an interview coming up for a PGCE in MFL in August and was hoping folks out there could give me some tips and good advice before going in. Apparently some places still have vacancies and there's still the training bursary, but what should I expect at interview and what should I say or not say? I can offer two languages (German my main) and also French as my second language.
  2. Thanks for that. You wouldn't have any interview tips would you? I am dreadful at interviews. I have heard that it would be more likely that I would be teaching in a selective or independent school if I was successful in getting onto a PGCE and getting a job?
  3. mpc


    Not sure you would be more likely to get a teaching position at a selective school or independent, tbh.
    If you're looking for interview advice/questions, it might be worth hopping over to the student teacher and prospective student forums if you haven't already.
    There are lots of threads on interview questions - I could tell you what I was asked but that was 18 yrs ago so wouldn't be of much use. I would say that you can expect to be interviewed in both your languages though.
    Best wishes,
  4. Thanks for that. I am going up for interview at Manchester Met to teach French and German.
    Pardon me for my ignorance, but what does TL stand for? What types of questions should I expect and what preparation should I do? It would be a pretty tough question to answer about being a language teacher. It's funny you should mention it, as I am a male linguist and interested in the supposed dearth of males in MFL teaching and learning
  5. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    TL is target language ie the language you are teaching. Apart from why do you want to be a language teacher, Why are languages important? How would you motivate children to learn languages? They will expect you to have given some thought to how children learn languages and how you would like to teach. If you are going to say something about being a man then you need to think about what you think you have to offer which a female teacher wouldn't. Your tutor is likely to be female and although she will want to have more males on the course be careful how you answer.
  6. Thanks for that. Perhaps the point I'm trying to make is that there is a general shortage of males in MFL teaching and in modern languages in general and having a male teacher might be more inspiring for boys. I would prefer to teach more robust topics and talk more about 'male-orientated' topics rather than just talking about shopping which make put some boys off. l have found being a linguist useful and expands my horizons and has enhanced my career opportunities. Gove is right to focus on making a language a compulsory element of the English Bacc- it should all be part of intellectually toughening up the curriculum. Labour was abysmal in its education policy and I could never vote for them on that basis. There will probably be in the future a shortage of MFL teachers- there aren't enough MFL graduates at the moment and there are other careers that linguists can choose- and the demand will have to be there because the rising world powers are elsewhere and Britain and America are in decline.
  7. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    This is exactly what I meant about being careful what you say about female teachers even if it is implied. We don't just talk about shopping! And I love male oriented and robust said in the same breath! What is more the boys love shopping these days especially for gadgets or via the internet. You'll find that many female teachers follow football (just for their classes) but if you play Halo and the likes of COD you might be ahead of most woment there! Being a man having studied languages definitely sends a message to boys that languages aren't just for the girls.
    You are obviously too young to remember the state education was left in after the last lot of Tories left so I shall say nothing of your comments about Labour. (But your interviewer may well remember!!)
  8. Thanks for that. If you could send me some that would be great.
  9. It was a Labour Minister of Education who made languages non-compulsory after the age of 14 which sent the numbers studying languages into freefall. Hence the situation we have today of languages becoming more and more concentrated in private and grammar schools. Many comprehensive schools- particularly in more deprived areas- seem to have dispensed with MFL teaching altogether, although the introduction of the English Bacc may change that. Furthermore, a number of universities including my alma mater (Queen's in Belfast) have closed or are closing MFL departments including the very German Dept where I studied. As someone who was the first person in his family to go onto higher education and gain a degree and on a full grant (back in the days of full grants and no tuition fees!) it saddens me deeply to see large numbers of young people effectively being denied access to other languages and cultures.
  10. @Madam Butterfly. That would be really good if you could send me some of those questions.
  11. Sorry - I've not logged on for a while....erm ok, from the top of my head I remember being asked about resources and how I would teach a lesson. I talked about using variety of resources, using the internet and technology and not being reliant on the textbook. I inadvertently mentioned pace here and said that I wouldn't spend too much time on the same activites and that I would try to vary the tasks. Focusing equally on the 4 attainment targets (listening, speaking, reading and writing). I was also asked about why children might be interested in a teacher's fashion sense!? This was during the German part of the interview and I remember saying that fashion was important for teenagers or something along those lines. I was asked about progression and how I would tackle a situation, if the class just was not getting what I was teaching. I talked about approaching it from a different angle, using a different context. They then asked me what I would do if the class still did not understand the lesson content after I had exhausted all those methods I explained and I just said that I would leave the topic and maybe review it after a break. They asked me about motivation and how I would motivate a child who had no desire/interest in MFL; I talked about knowing your class and what your pupils' are interested in and planning lessons around the interest of the child. I did talk about my own experience in motivating a child to learn (I was a languages assistant before I decided to teach, so I spoke about that). I'm sure that behaviour came up, but I can't remember what the exact questions were. I think it was something along the lines of what would I do, if a child's behaviour was disruptive to in my lessons and they did not respond to my sanctions.
    I can't actually remember any other questions, but if I do, I'll post them on here. Hope this helps.
  12. Unfortunately, our children are still being denied access to other languages because it is French, German or, if you are lucky depending on the school, Spanish. That is a poor choice. Yes, children, you can do languages as long as it is French or German. Chinese? Japanese? Sorry children, we know what is best for you!
  13. The problem you will have is when you actually start looking for work. The competition is so great now; expect to be competing with several hundred (experienced!) MFL teachers when you apply for any language teaching jobs.
    You have to ask yourself why there are still vacancies. Answer: there is no training bursary anymore unless you are doing the PGCE part-time. Liverpool Moores University told the applicants this back earlier this year and also that the year aborad in France or Germany was cancelled; students would be staying in the UK as there is now no cash to send them abroad! So potential students are asking themselves if they can survive one or two years with no salary, no bursary and no job at the end of it. Two months ago I met some language teachers who could get no work here in the north west. Met a young language graduate two weeks ago, however, who had had plenty of work but that was because she could offer, French, German AND Spanish.
    Do not worry too much about the interview. I am FE trained and my PGCE is in adult numeracy and yet a school has already already offered me a part-time Spanish teaching positon purely on the basis that I can teach (and will be teaching) Japanese there from September. Get your foot in the door of a school through an agecny teaching just a an hour or two of French and German and then make sure this is on your CV. Then approach other agencies with this new experience (however short) and it should lead to more work.
    In summary, forget doing a full-time PGCE, and do the course part-time and work in teaching (even as a TA) as this all adds up on your CV.

  14. To correct you, I have been offered a place at Manchester Metropolitan for a PGCE in MFL with a full bursary entitlement of £6000. I contacted the School of Education and the bursary is still being offered for full time candidates. Do not instantaneously dismiss European languages as unnecessary...in spite of global events and geopolitics Europe will remain the UK's major marketplace and British companies will still need to do business there and have to export much more there if the British economy is to ever truly rid itself of dependence on the financial sector and the housing market. On the subject of lesser-taught languages (and non-EU ones) you have a point. Yes, it will be very important to learn Mandarin, but it might also be equally important to learn Russian which might be a lot easier for British or Irish students to learn as it is an Indo-European language and one of the most important languages on the planet.

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