Job interview question: What is the difference between 'curriculum' and 'syllabus?'


Curriculum and Syllabus Problem

The curriculum is a guideline for the teachers which directs what academic content to teach. It covers different subjects. The curriculum is more general than the syllabus.

The syllabus is a list of concepts that teachers teach in a particular course. It can be an outline or a summary of the main points of a lecture, or course of study.


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Job interview question: How do you present a new word to class?


New Words

There are many ways of introducing a new word to the class.

Most often I think of a rich context when the word can be used and describe it to the students, or give them example sentences to clarify the meanings further.

I also use an illustration. It is very useful for more specific words, such as hand, eyes, fingers, house, flag, etc. It is an effective teaching method for visual learners. Demonstrating all items is impossible. Therefore, this method has its limits. 

Giving synonyms or antonyms can be effective, particularly in an intermediate or higher level. 

Mime lends itself particularly well to action verbs, and it can be fun and memorable.
Providing definitions is another good way of introducing new vocabulary. It is important to ask a question to make sure that the students understood it.

Although translation does not help all the time, there are cases when it is very effective. We should always keep in mind that not every word has a direct translation.

In general, I always consider the fact that there are two main categories of words usually presented or taught in a language classroom: incidental, i.e. unfamiliar vocabulary from discussions, presentations, books or journals, and intentional, i.e. carefully pre-selected vocabulary by the teacher. 

Decisions, how to present words efficiently, include the number of words to be taught, whether we are presenting form and meaning, and whether we focus on in written or spoken form. 

In deciding on the number of intentional words to be taught we should take into account the following issues: learners’ level, the degree of difficulty for particular students, and whether the phrase we are preparing to teach is for production, i.e. speaking and writing, or recognition, i.e. listening and reading.

Students need to learn both the meaning and form. Therefore, I present these two aspects in close conjunction so that the students will be able to build connections between those two. 

Pictures, mimes, signs, and symbols are another effective teaching technique. It can be used for demonstrating the meaning, but we can apply it when we select illustratable words. The limitation is that not all words can be visually displayed. So this method should be planned in advance.

Giving full definitions, synonyms, and antonyms, providing example situations, several example sentences or subject terms. In using these techniques, it is important to keep the definitions simple and with the learners’ current range. It may take longer to convey meaning, but it is worth doing that: the students are exposed to extra speaking and listening practice and have an opportunity to get a deeper insight into the meaning of the word. In using situations, the instructor can share their own or their students’ experiences. For example, they can provide a variety of situations to induce the meaning. In the case of the latter, the advantages are that students encounter the new words a few times in various contexts which increase the chances of better retention, getting a feel of different applications and grammatical forms. A variant to full definition approach is to present a layered definition, i.e. the one that is fragmented into several short statements, each one including the target word. In this way, the learners hear the target word not only in context, but they also have an opportunity to use it.

I use lots of different activities to help my students learn and practice new words. These activities make vocabulary learning more exciting, as merely memorizing new words is a very tedious process. There are many exciting vocabulary learning games such as spelling bee competitions, different word matching games, sight words learning games, and flash cards for reading and spelling success. I sometimes use www.freerice.comthe website that was designed by the United Nations Organization.

I introduce new vocabulary by displaying the words and phrases on the PowerPoint and asking the students to read them aloud together. It gives the students practice speaking the words verbally and pronouncing them correctly. Knowing how to pronounce new words is just as significant as knowing how to use them in a sentence.

We should always keep in mind that there are four types of vocabulary usage: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Listening means that the students acquire vocabulary recognition skills, in the process of listening. Speaking means using words in related speech. Reading means recognizing words in the process of reading, and writing - using words in writing, i.e. understanding their meanings, knowing how to spell them, etc.


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Job interview question: How do you incorporate technology into teaching?

Most students usually like technology. They like to use laptops, smartphones, or tablets, and they can regularly bring them into the classroom. Teachers could handle this in two ways: either they can forbid the technology, disregard it, or they can try to support this technology to enhance the education and learning process. 

In my view, banning technology doesn't make much sense. If we ban technology in the classroom, we miss the possibility to develop the students' abilities how to use technology effectively for learning and research purposes. 

I believe that, if the technology is used correctly, it will make our classes interactive and engaging. In fact, technology should be an integral part of a student's life. 

Such devices like smartphones laptops can make learning more interactive. They can be applied to test learner understanding of a concept or even used as a method of providing a pop quiz at the start of course. Also, many applications allow for games, question and answer responses. In language learning situations, students and teachers can share short sentences or words and phrases via text responses.

Smartphones or laptops can be used for recording videos. In many in-class activities, students can create short documentaries, record their speeches, and report new messages. Then, at the end of class, students can show their short documentaries to the entire class.

Technology allows students to use their devices for learning and gives the chance for them to learn from each other. Teachers can also take advantage of social media. Twitter allows students to comment and take notes during class. For example, a teacher can create a hashtag for his or her class, and then encourage students to take notes including the hashtag.

Students can effectively use writing software both in the classroom and at home. Good writing software, such as Grammarly, can effectively improve students' writing skills.

Also, the teacher can use Google Drive to create a shared document, and the whole class can edit that document together at the same time. Finally, teachers can use technology to invite outside guest speakers via video conferencing. 

There are many other ways of using technology in the classroom. I firmly believe that technology can enhance learning, and improve student-teacher interaction.

For a teacher, it is important to find out what technologies are already available in school and use them. 


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Job interview question: What are the characteristics of a great teacher?

Recommended Answer:

A great teacher has the following characteristics:

Expert in the Subject
The great teacher, as the master of his or her subject, exhibits expertise, spends a lot of time on his or her professional development, presents learning the material in a passionate way and thus encourages students’ independent learning skills. 

Organized 
The great teacher is always organized and has clear objectives. The teacher comes to school prepared, arrives early and is ready to teach his or her students. The teacher presents lessons in a clear, planned, comprehensible and structured way. The lesson is organized in such a way that it minimizes students’ distractions.

Shows, but Not Only Tells
The great teacher shows, displays, but not tells or informs (and does not give orders). The great teacher can clarify a concept or explain a task, but he or she demonstrates it as well. The teacher brings examples into the classroom, draws pictures or diagrams, charts, graphs, maps, etc. In this way, the teacher promotes creativity and plays the role of a facilitator.

Stimulates Creativity 
The great teacher engages his or her students and in this way encourages creativity. ‘Learning by doing’ is his or her primary method of teaching because learning is an active process. Therefore, the great teacher stimulates creativity. It is impossible to pour knowledge into students’ minds like a liquid is poured into a bottle. 

Nice Personality
The great teacher treats all people (without exceptions) nicely not because they are nice. The great teacher treats them nicely because the teacher himself / herself is a nice person. 

Positive
The great teacher is always positive and often smiles. The teacher’s positive attitude encourages students to study, provides them with moral support and spiritual power. Being positive when it is hard for the students (especially before exams) can have a remarkably productive and optimistic impact on the students’ performance.

Kind 
The great teacher recognizes the value and importance of every human being. The teacher is helpful not only to his or her colleagues but also to all students (without any exceptions), colleagues, students’ parents and other people around him or her. The teacher’s kindness helps students feel welcomed, supported, protected, cared for and loved. It makes them feel confident and positive.

Shows Respect 
The great teacher is kind to his or her students and shows respect to them. A bad teacher demands respect from students. The great teacher treats students with respect and therefore naturally earns the respect of them too. He or she is always enthusiastic, accessible and caring.

Patient
The great teacher is patient and never loses temper, never shows irritation, annoyance, frustration or anger. The teacher is patient with his or her students’ behavior, and no matter how many mistakes the students make, the teacher patiently explains. Patience demonstrates self-restraint and self-discipline and exhibits an excellent quality in a teacher that will most probably be imitated by the students in the future.

Simple
The great teacher speaks and explains things in an easy way and never boasts that he or she knows everything (in fact, nobody knows everything); and never tries to impress students with his or her knowledge and experience. The great teacher never tells lies and is never bombastic, arrogant, grandiloquent or overconfident.

Willing to Learn
The great teacher learns from his or her students (gains knowledge and wisdom from those they teach). What makes him or her great teacher is that he or she is willing to learn because he or she knows (and admits it) that it is impossible to know everything. Therefore, the great teacher is never threatened by students’ difficult questions. By learning, the teacher encourages students to develop their lifelong learning skills (not just learning for a grade), because the teacher is a lifelong learner, too.

Able to Inspire
The great teacher inspires his or her students. It means that even when the course is finished, the great teacher’s students continue learning and showing their interest in the subject.


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Job Interview question: One early morning you come to work and find five thousand unread email messages. You can only reply fifty of them. How would you select which ones to reply?

Recommended answer:
I would select the emails from my boss first. If there are more than fifty emails from my boss, I will work overtime (if necessary), but I would still reply to all emails.


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Job interview question: Tell me about your best class (when you were a student). Be specific. Explain why it was the best.

Answer:

My best class was Psychology. Perhaps because it never felt like a class. The teacher was very understanding. He believed in letting the students reach their self-actualization state, and his method of teaching was more like a story-telling. I learned without realizing it.



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Job interview question: If I meet you in five years in a mall, would I remember your name? What makes you special?

Answer:

I guess that to a greater extent would depend on your memory, but even so I still don't think remembering my name has anything to do with me being special or not. But if you insist on knowing, I believe that everyone is special in their way, and being myself is a start. After all, an original is worth more than a copy.


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Job interview question: How do grades matter?

Answer:

They evaluate how adequate a student's knowledge is, but in my opinion, they shouldn't be the only evidence for that.



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