PGCE Interviews

Studying for your Postgraduate Certificate in Education prepares you for a rewardingly varied career as a teacher. When interviewing for this course, further education institutions need to ensure they are offering places to those who can display the necessary traits required by the profession.

Most institutions will require you to bring copies of certificates and qualifications. This includes your GCSEs, as applicants are required to have A*-C grades in English Language and Mathematics, along with a degree relevant to the subject you wish to teach.

On the day of your interview, you are likely to be required to take part in numerous assessment processes, which most institutions will inform you of in advance. This can include an interview with a tutor from the course and a teacher from a partnering school, a group activity, a visit to a local school, and a written test.

Group interviews or activities are a popular mode of assessment. In your group, you will typically be required to discuss a topic, much like a teacher would be required to generate classroom discussion. As such, you should remain diplomatic, whilst contributing ideas and attempting to move the discussion forward. You should display encouragement rather than competitiveness. It is also important that you display enthusiasm when others are speaking.

Some interviews require you to give a presentation, which you may be asked to prepare for. In this case it is important that you remember your audience. Although you may be giving the presentation to experienced heads, it is likely they will be playing the part of 8 year-olds. Due to the varied attention spans of children, involving an element of interaction in the presentation will show the assessors that you can include the class. Similarly, if your presentation is geared towards younger children, quoting Shakespeare from a book will leave them disinterested. Think of ways you can appeal to your audience, through the use of visual or audio aids, for example. If you are informed about the need to give a presentation in advance, they will expect careful planning and preparation.

Individual interviews

Individual interviews are likely to require you to shed some light on your education history, your personality, why you want to become a teacher, and what traits you feel you possess which make you well-suited to the profession. Outgoing, positive answers will help to portray you as someone who can hold a class’s interest. Many interviewers will also ask you for your thoughts on a current teaching-related issue in the news, or certain hot topics. Checking for big stories is a good way to prepare for this. Research online can lead you to examples of commonly asked questions, helping you to prepare your answers.

Teaching isn’t just about conducting tests, you will have to take some, too. Many interviews will require you to take Mathematics and English tests, however you may also be required to write an essay, complete a written task, or take part in a Non-Cognitive Assessment Test, which seeks to discover how you approach tasks, rather than how you complete them.

Much of what is expected from you at an interview for a PGCE course is confirmation of your ability to practice what you preach, as it were. Confidence, enthusiasm and encouragement are all good traits to suggest you could enhance young minds.