A teacher training interview with a school or university require PGCE interview questions & answer responses to be well planned for a successful outcome.
The following are standard questions asked with possible response, and my contribution as a secondary teacher for 6 years.
Applying for a BEd, BA, PGDE, PGCE or school direct training course?
Getting onto a teaching course has become more difficult as universities are looking for a certain type of person that could make a good teacher. Basically, what you offer at present and with training & development what you could become in the future.
Interviewing will take up half a day in in some cases most of a school day (School Direct) and will follow a certain format that each university follows; depending on the key stage you are applying.
Meet and greet, informal talk, test/presentation/role play, lunch, observe or help in a class and your one to one or panel interview. Depends if school direct or at a university.
Do you’re homework before the day!
Teacher training interview questions & PGCE general questions
- Ready for questions and ” Tell us about your personal statement “
- Why do you wish to become a teacher, How do you know you want to teach? Past as a school student yourself where you admired what a teacher does/achieves, maybe state a past teacher that helped to positively impact my life.
- Why choose to teach this age group? (Example Secondary PGCE) Get on with older children, experience, certain skills and subject knowledge you have.
- Why have you chosen this university? Could be for the reputation of training and support, local to you and wish to teach in the area after training.
- I see you teach business studies/economics are you aware that as a full time secondary school teacher that subject area does not have a full time teaching schedule, are you prepared to teach an additional subject? Yes, I can offer English and mathematics as additional subjects to complete a full teaching timetable. Or other subjects you can offer. (One subject area only while training)
- What do you understand/opinion what makes a good teacher? Effective teaching combines personal qualities of a teacher, subject knowledge and how they clearly communicate and transfer knowledge to learners of different learning styles and ability levels. Engage pupils in different learning environments. A teacher is well prepared, adaptive; develop positive relationship with teachers and children, set clear rules/guidelines, patient, firm but fair, positive and others.
- How could you improve classroom and school experiences for children? Fun interactive lessons, using a variety of teaching aids, extra curricular activities, practical interactive lessons that follow or combine with theory and explanation. (Not just talking about a topic and answering questions).
- What is learning support in a school and what do you know about the role it plays in learning? School learning support is a separate department at each school that provides assistance to certain school pupils. Each student that has been identified as requiring additional support with learning will have a statement. A school child will have a leaning support assistant that follows them from class to class providing assistance in lessons. Help could be repeating teacher instructions, further explanation of set questions or answering general questions.
- PGCE courses demand full attention for 11 months study and training that will also involve travel. Can you set aside the time for a demanding schedule?
- What do you understand about safeguarding? and provide an example from your school experience: (Many examples) This is fairly obvious to answer. Wellbeing of children in you’re care; ie classroom and lessons. Teachers have a position of responsibility where they are also responsible for the welfare & safety of children, watch for something out of the ordinary and report any issue that they see, hear or are told. Safeguarding also extends to the rights of a pupil in the classroom and at the school.
– Prevention from injury (Avoid crowded corridors/doorways & stairs)
– Coats and bags are stored correctly in the classroom so other pupils do not trip in your class when moving around.
– Blunt sizzlers only in class for younger pupils.
– Watch for pupils trying to be assertive or bully another pupil.
Classroom safety, inside school buildings and the playground ground are all covered where a school and teachers are all jointly responsible.
A teacher watches for any sudden changes in a pupils behaviour, attendance, dress and school work.
Could be an issue at home or a child is getting attention from an adult that should not happen and to they tell you.
Follow school procedure and report the issue to the school appointed “child protection ” person that deals with pupils welfare, usually they’re an assistant head teacher or at that level in every school.
Safeguarding/Child protection and rights of pupils is a big area in schools. Get ready for this question.
- What did you learn from your school experience? (This is the time observing or helping out at a primary, secondary or nursery school to gain some experience working with children). Time I spent at ………. re-enforced the desire to teach and at this level. I found that I have the soft skills to work effectively alone and with other team members, although lack specialist knowledge at this time. Also I found myself reflecting on how I could improve on what I did for the next time I completed that certain task.
Key part, you reflect on the task you have completed and on how well it went or could you improve something. As a teacher when you write a lesson plan you aim to deliver a lesson on a certain part of a topic area such as fractions with the aim of each child being able by the end of the lesson to complete most or all of the set questions after instruction.
After the lesson a teacher reflects on how a lesson went, pace, learning objectives achieved, student attainment level and expectations, how can I improve, many others.
A teacher is informed for the next lesson by how a previous lesson went and the reflection they’ve done afterwards:
Did it go to plan? Has sufficient learning taken place enabling the teacher to extend learning on the fractions topic or move on to the next topic? or do you require to go over some more fractions in class from the previous lesson you have given as the questions you set in class were not answered to a level of your expectations.
- How would you make your subject interesting ensuring an effective learning experience? Variety in class questions, exercises, use of everyday experience/examples, implement training I will receive.
- Do you envisage any conflict with your personal or social life with the requirements of a professional person, such as a teacher? Issues could be model career, band member using certain lyrics, leisure activities and beliefs.
- What will be the most challenging for you as a teacher? Behaviour of students at first
- How would you react with disruptive pupils in your class? First: Follow school guidelines and rules set. Mild: Direct glance or stare, or remind the pupil to stop or x bring your things and sit here (Separation) or stop the lesson and firmly remind the student/s that behaviour is not tolerated. Stay positive in manner and speech.
- What knowledge, skills and abilities do you have to offer that will help you to become a successful teacher? Subject knowledge, degree in the subject, calm under pressure, problem solver, time management, analytical and others. I can work independently or as part of a team.
- What personal qualities as a person can you offer to the children and a school? Understanding, abundance of patience, empathy, others.
- What experience do you have working with children? Tell me about one challenging situation and how you solved the issue, if any. Get some experience if you can from a school attended or ask to observe at a local school.
- How would you respond when a child comes to you with a personal issue from outside school? Think child protection, depression, maybe a family member or pet has died. Follow school policy. Listen to what they have to say, answer or solve issue, or pass on to appropriate school management person.
- How do you deal with anger, disappointment, stress and frustration personally?
- Are you ready to receive constructive criticism about the teaching you conduct as part of the training and learning process. How would you react to it?
- In a future teaching career how would a child you teach describe you and why? This is how you hope they describe you.
- Give an example of when you overcome a difficult situation
- How are your qualifications, specially the degree you have relate to the subject area you wish to teach? Specify relevant subjects to what you would teach. How they match, state specialised in the subject area.
- How would you feel teaching a mixed ability class? This is more of a challenge as you may have gifted children, and of course identify and teach less academically able pupils at the same time. You will of course learn and adapt. This situation is more defined in primary schools.
- Equal opportunities are very important in schools. How would you ensure your classroom provides every pupil with an equal chance to learn to the best of their ability? Give time, work space, consideration, and involvement in class, participation, question and answering equally between pupils.
- What are teaching assistants and what is your view on they’re role in a classroom? Important role in a primary classroom to further guide, explain one to one/groups to support learning in class. Helping a child’s social development at school. Good resource in a secondary school to reinforce learning to less academic ability students.
- What would you do if in a pupil refuses to take part in an activity?
- Our course is very popular, why should we choose you and not another candidate?
- How would you tackle explaining a challenging concept? Explain what it is, used for with an example. Explanation of the concept. Possibly break it into sections.
- Educational issues in schools. Name 2: Poverty impacting some children’s progress, behaviour, family issues, bulling, ever increased targets for all pupils to achieve, no child left behind.
- Inner city or rural, what type of school would you like to teach in. Why?
- Working with and teaching children can be difficult at times? Why? Develop issues at school or in life that impacts learning, all children are different. Happy child one week and the next week unhappy for any number of personal reasons.
- More than one class you teach could have students with poor English language ability, How would you deal with this and what issues you think could arise? This is a challenging situation in relation knowing if learning has taken place. Communication barrier between the student and teacher, also other students if pair or group work. I would prepare before each lesson appropriate hand-outs for all learners, use visual aids, board work/diagrams, pictures that match verbal and hand gestures. First I would get suggestions. ideas and feedback from my school mentor.
So many questions that could be asked at each age level.
For each key stage PGCE from nursery early years, primary, secondary and post compulsory Think about:
Include good teacher traits
Make sure you can include the most important responses for what traits a good teacher has: Good: Listener, Writer, Analyser, Presenter, Planner, Communicator, Knowledgeable, Manage time
I can also follow instructions, guidelines, empathy, charisma, understanding, considerate, helpful, confident, explain a concept, resourceful, think on my feet, implement change quickly, take constructive criticism (keep calm under pressure)……. Integrate some of these in your response. Do not say anything that you can not back up.
Personalise each answer to individual questions with past experience, current event, knowledge…….
Questions to ask at teacher training interview
- Past experience of student teachers on the course or at the school, framed positively
- Question on part of the course, training or instruction
- Distance of teaching placements if no transport,. Could be an issue with 2 hours each way travel to school each day on public transport. (My experience)
- Pre reading I can do (I was given a reading list as a strong suggestion)
- Question about subject area you are required to teach
- What equipment and technology is in school classrooms for teachers to use; example smart boards, computer or laptop use, teaching aids
- Do I require purchasing any equipment or materials for the course or teaching placements? Example is a laptop that would be required to type up the large amounts of paperwork, yes, including physical education student teachers.
- Identify if there is a rigid set curriculum in the subject area, book, reading, materials. How much freedom from the standard curriculum to be taught you have. School mentor/department answers this generally.
Ask one 1 to 3 questions, although, do not ask an interviewer a question that is answered in the course prospectus.
What should you expect on interview day at school?
Each individual university, school and training provider for nursery, primary, secondary & post compulsory PGCE courses and school based teacher training follows certain formats, depending on the provider.
Interviews will most certainly involve some of:
- Group exercise
- Role play (Possibly)
- Open questions & answers in a group format
- Deliver a presentation with a topic provided in advance
- Written tests
- One to one interview or a panel
Part of the interview day could involve tests in mathematics, English, IT and science depending on the age level you wish to teach and subject. This consists of you completing a short list of questions.
You could also be asked to write an essay that tests spelling, grammar, hand writing, timing, response and other.
Interviewers are looking to see what type of person you are, how you respond, mannerisms, interaction with others, cope under time constraints and pressure.
My own initial teacher training PGCE interview process (Year 2000) involved a group question and answer session and a 30-minute informal talk.
This then followed onto an individual face to face interview with 7-8 questions about me, personal statement and what I could offer the teaching profession.
Teacher training preparation for interview day
There is a sequence of events that should be followed for any interview, although the information is not exhaustive:
– Confirm attendance
– Arrive at least 15 minutes before time
– Take your prepared notes and other documents required
– Travelling 500 miles plus as I did, think about spending the night before in the area
Conduct research on the subject and key stage area ready for the teacher training questions the interviewer is going to ask.
- Try and be yourself
- Dress appropriately in a professional manner
- Take time and think about the response you provide to questions. Keep answers/response, direct and to the point.
- Subject specific questions: Think about the subject you studied and wish to teach, Primary school: literacy numeracy, reading writing related
- Project enthusiasm, confidence, respect, degree of passion for teaching and subject area.
- Read and research what are some of the current debates and issues in education.
- Professionalism is important. Act accordingly.
The interview is not easy and not everyone will successfully pass the selection stage for teacher training.
All is not lost, you can always apply to another provider of teachers training.
Should you receive a “unfortunately we are unable to offer you a place ” (fail PGCE interview letter) sometimes schools and universities inform you why.
Possibly you could not show any experience working with children and at that certain age group, well get some experience, it is an entrance requirement.
Take time and think about the response you were given, then apply for another university course.
Opened the comment section below Sunday 21st June 2020. Leave a reply for someone or your thoughts.