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  1. #1
    silentjob is offline Newbie
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    Interview Assistance/Help

    Hi

    I completed a TEFL course in 2007 and lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 2 years working as a English Teacher. After returning to the UK, and after being caught up in the recession, I found work as a TA in an inner city primary school. I recently applied for the position of Community and Language Support Worker in an other part of the city, this school however is Secondary level.

    I have been accepted for interview, I will be working with a small group of students who are 'new' to English and need to devise a short 20 minute activity to develop their English skills, but haven't been given any info with regards to level of English, age or how many pupils there will be.

    I realise asking on here is some what cheating myself, but I have been stopping and starting since yesterday morning, and I know that I can do it, but have reached a mental block through worrying and over thinking the situation!

    The job means a lot to me, as its the first break I have got since being back in the UK to utilise the skills and practices learnt in Thailand.

    So.....can anybody give me a bit of a pointer or a few ideas as to what I could do for 20 mins with the limited information I have been given?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    I sympathise.That seems to me to be unreasonable. How can one develop the skills of people about whom one knows nothing?. If they are really new to English, they have no skills in any case.

    I think in those circumstances, if I didn't tell the people concerned what they could do with their job, I'd fall back on a 'find someone who... ' or 'ask your neighbour if s/he ..."type of task. This can serve as a very quick diagnostic test and give some, albeit limited, opportunity for feedback and remedial work.

  3. #3
    silentjob is offline Newbie
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    thanks for the reply fivejedjohn

    I had a similar interview a while ago in a Primary school, I emailed them back to ask for further information regarding the kids level of English, but got a reply saying the exact thing as stated in my interview letter. I devised a very basic activity based around colour and shapes, but the children in the group were far beyond that topic!! That immediately knocked my confidence and the interview thereafter was pretty lack lustre because of it

    I feel it is unfair, but maybe it is what they intend, after all they want the best they can get, and I suppose setting it out this way will ensure they get to see resilience in the candidates...

    After the activity we have to give the group 'written feedback' so I summise from this we have to have a piece of work to mark ie - a worksheet, I was going to opt for some kind of game based speaking activity, but worry this is not what they are after, and may repeat my last interview performance.


  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    It's probably not much consolation, but people who use this sort of tactic are probably not the sort of people you'd want to work for.

  5. #5
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    If they have told you that the group of students are "new" to English, as per your first post, then I don't see how you can assume anything other than beginner/upper beginner.

    When I did my (mini)TEFL, the teacher did a very good 20 minute demonstration on how much you can teach in a short period of time. Having established that almost no-one in our group spoke German, he embarked on a beginner's German lesson (in which he spoke no English.)

    He basically created a "shop" with a few props that he'd brought with him - basket, plastic veg, fruit, loaf of bread, plastic bottle etc. He then pointed at each item one at a time and gave the name (banana, apple, bread etc) and got the group to repeat it.

    Then he did very short statements (Hello), and then "Can I have...?" followed by a piece of food. He also taught the numbers one to ten, by repetition, so that some variety could be used ("Can I have eight bananas?")

    In total, I would say we learnt about 25 brand new words and some sentence construction in 20 minutes, all without the use of our native language.

    You could do the same sort of thing but if when you get it started, it's clear that they know more than you've been told, you can make the sentence constructions more difficult for them. At least you can do that on the fly. I assume you don't have to actually show your lesson plan to anyone before you do it? It can be in your head so it can be completely adaptable depending on what happens when you get into the room.

    As far as the written part goes, maybe a simple piece of work consisting of a printed conversation between the shopkeeper and the customer, where you have omitted certain words and they have to complete the blanks from a list of possibilities, all based around the conversations you had in the 20-minute example. You'll be able to give them written feedback on the results of that written exercise.

  6. #6
    silentjob is offline Newbie
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    @emsr2d2 - Funnily enough we had a similar experience to that on our course, but in Thai!

    I've just had an idea of creating an exercise that will incorporate listening, speaking and writing skills using either prepositions of place or directions, as these lessons always engaged the students and injected some fun into the lesson.

    Start off by modeling the vocabulary, maybe with the aid of flashcards [chair, table, he, she, is, behind, on, in front of, next to etc] model and drill a few times until they have a feel for the vocab, then choose a student to model by standing in the various POP's, asking students at random to say where he/she is in relation to the object.

    Move onto a worksheet, similar to the one you mentioned above, with an example, a word bank of the vocab, and sentences that become less cryptic as they work their way down. Check through the completed worksheets then finish off with each student saying a sentence, un-aided to check understanding.

    A similar activity could be devised using directions, but feel preps of place would be more fitting with the timescale I have to fill.

  7. #7
    silentjob is offline Newbie
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It's probably not much consolation, but people who use this sort of tactic are probably not the sort of people you'd want to work for.

    I know, but the recession is thriving right now, and needs must!

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    I would assume beginner/false beginner level if they're new to English, but there's still quite an age range. Your plans sound OK- the best you can hope for given the shortcomings of what they have told you is to look as if you can give a sound class and to be able to improvise to adapt if it's not ideal. If they want more than that, then they should sort out their descriptions. The students could be 11 or 17, complete beginners or low intermediate. Can you contact them and ask about ages if nothing else?

  9. #9
    silentjob is offline Newbie
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I would assume beginner/false beginner level if they're new to English, but there's still quite an age range. Your plans sound OK- the best you can hope for given the shortcomings of what they have told you is to look as if you can give a sound class and to be able to improvise to adapt if it's not ideal. If they want more than that, then they should sort out their descriptions. The students could be 11 or 17, complete beginners or low intermediate. Can you contact them and ask about ages if nothing else?

    Tdol - I was thinking this, but didn't want to come across as being pushy! I suppose I could do that, but would knowing the ages of the pupils make things clearer? If they are new to English then the age would be irrelevant no? Thanks for the reply btw, I'm much more optimistic after posting on here.


    [p.s I looked for a PM function to ask you to delete the other thread I created, if you have the powers to do so could you please? thanks]

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Interview Assistance/Help

    It might well help, and if you get through you may get someone who'd give you more information. Asking age and level doesn't strike me as unreasonable- more professional to be honest.

    PM is only available when you have posted 10 times- it stops spammers offering millions in gold to our members if they give them their bank details. I have removed the thread.

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