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British Council interviews

 
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dackinator



Joined: 17 Sep 2010
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: British Council interviews Reply with quote

I have a few phone interviews coming up for teaching positions in the British Council.

I know their interviews are skill and behaviour based, so I spent a full week preparing. I looked through the guides they provide listing the attributes/skills they want, prepared answers, and thought about examples for every little subskill mentioned (theres a lot). I thought I was really well prepared.

Then I had the first interview today - and it was not good. The first two questions were big broad questions-
1. Describe your relevant teaching experience and how it relates to the skills specified.
2. Why do you think you are suitable for this role, relating to the behaviours mentioned in the vacancy profile.

I was so focused on smaller specific skill questions and using examples, that these broad questions totally caught me off guard. I rambled, didn't really give coherent answers, and the whole interview failed because of it.

Thinking about it, these two questions are exactly what my covering letter answered - would I be expected just to reword and repeat that? Should I be trying to give detailed examples here or not?
I cant believe I spent so long preparing and then got thrown by two such basic questions.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is of no consolation to you, but I also bombed in a recent interview for something I see as similar. I made other mistakes too, but I really bombed when the interviewer wanted to see my teaching style.

He first asked me to teach the word 'convenient' to a student that didnt know the word. My initial thought was a combination of 'does he know the concept but not the right lexical item / is it relevent to the nature of the lesson / has he encountered the word already and unsure of meaning / has this encounter with the word come from an external source or part of todays lesson material / do other students in the class know the word?'

After considering the above for several seconds in silence, I said 'Im sorry, without any context I find it impossible, or at least very difficult, to accurately tell you how I would address this.

He moved on to say 'OK, a student is telling you about his employment and he says the following, how would you react?'

I am working in an office. I am selling the products. I am talking to the customers. I am telephoning my suppliers'

My reaction was pretty much the same. Had we been practising a structure and could I rely on another student to peer-correct the mistake? Was this part of a lesson where accuracy was not as important as fluency and communication? Was this relevent to the goals and topic of the lesson or an utterance I had overheard or interrupted? etc etc etc.

I said the same to the interviewer ... and said that whilst it was clear he should really be using present simple to discuss habitual behaviour it would be difficult for me to say how I would react without a strong context in which I could 'teach' in.

Anyway ... probably not much consolation to you, but just letting you know you arent the only person to feel disappointed by a recent performance. It is similar as I felt I was being asked to paint in such broad strokes that any answer I gave would be selling myself short.

Maybe its just me.
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tina20



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: British Council interviews Reply with quote

dackinator wrote:

Then I had the first interview today - and it was not good. The first two questions were big broad questions-
1. Describe your relevant teaching experience and how it relates to the skills specified.
2. Why do you think you are suitable for this role, relating to the behaviours mentioned in the vacancy profile.

Thinking about it, these two questions are exactly what my covering letter answered - would I be expected just to reword and repeat that? Should I be trying to give detailed examples here or not?
I cant believe I spent so long preparing and then got thrown by two such basic questions.


Having ready examples is always a good idea. To answer your question - no, don't just reword what you wrote in your covering letter. Link your teaching experience to behavior skills they need. They are looking for certain keywords in your descriptions...give 'em skillfully. You don't need detailed examples just strong ones and they should be built in your answer rather than coming across as footnotes.

These questions are just warmers and they (or their variants) are usually a fixture of most BC interviews, as far as I know.


Last edited by tina20 on Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 144

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Denim-Maniac wrote:
This is of no consolation to you, but I also bombed in a recent interview for something I see as similar. I made other mistakes too, but I really bombed when the interviewer wanted to see my teaching style.

He first asked me to teach the word 'convenient' to a student that didnt know the word. My initial thought was a combination of 'does he know the concept but not the right lexical item / is it relevent to the nature of the lesson / has he encountered the word already and unsure of meaning / has this encounter with the word come from an external source or part of todays lesson material / do other students in the class know the word?'

After considering the above for several seconds in silence, I said 'Im sorry, without any context I find it impossible, or at least very difficult, to accurately tell you how I would address this.

He moved on to say 'OK, a student is telling you about his employment and he says the following, how would you react?'

I am working in an office. I am selling the products. I am talking to the customers. I am telephoning my suppliers'

My reaction was pretty much the same. Had we been practising a structure and could I rely on another student to peer-correct the mistake? Was this part of a lesson where accuracy was not as important as fluency and communication? Was this relevent to the goals and topic of the lesson or an utterance I had overheard or interrupted? etc etc etc.

I said the same to the interviewer ... and said that whilst it was clear he should really be using present simple to discuss habitual behaviour it would be difficult for me to say how I would react without a strong context in which I could 'teach' in.

Anyway ... probably not much consolation to you, but just letting you know you arent the only person to feel disappointed by a recent performance. It is similar as I felt I was being asked to paint in such broad strokes that any answer I gave would be selling myself short.

Maybe its just me.


It's just my opinion, but i'd say you made life difficult for yourself.

1. Could you not have simply given a definition of convenient followed by some examples?

2. Could you not have said something like using the present continuous was wrong in this sentence saying we use present tense for facts (I work in an office, I talk to customers etc) and present continuous for some action we are doing at that moment?
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