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? Interview? 

So what have they taught you at college about interviews? Some courses go t o town on it, others do very little. You may get conflicting advice. Only one th ing is certain: the key to success is preparation.?  

There follow some useful suggestions from a teacher training course co-ordi nator, a head of department and a headteacher. As they appear to be in complete harmony with one another despite never having met, we may take their advice seri ously.? 

Oxford Brookes University’s approach to the business of application and in t erview focuses on research and rehearsal. Training course co-ordinator Brenda St evens speaks of the value of getting students “to deconstruct the advertisement , see what they can offer to that school, and that situation, and then write the letter, do their CVs and criticize each other’s.” Finally, they role play inte rviewer and interviewee. ? 

This is sterling stuff, and Brookes students spend a couple of weeks on it. “The better prepared students won’t be thrown by nerves on the day, ”says Ms St evens. “They’ll have their strategies and questions worked out. ” She also sa ys, a trifle disconcertingly, “the better the student, the worse the interviewee. ” She believes the most capable students are less able to put themselves forward. Even if this were tree, says Ms Stevens, you must still make your own case.? 

“Beware of infernality,” she advises. One aspirant teacher, now a head of d epartment at a smart secondary school, failed his first job interview because he took his jacket off while waiting for his appointment. It was hot and everyone in the staffroom was in shirtsleeves but at the end of the day they criticized h is casual attitude, which they had deduced from the fact that he took his jacket off in the staffroom, even though he put it back on for the interview.?  (来源:英语麦当劳-英语快餐EnglishCN.com)

Incidentally, men really do have to wear a suit to the interview and women really cannot wear jeans, even if men never wear the suit again and women teach most days in jeans. Panels respond instantly to these indicators. But beware: it will not please them any better if you are too smart.?  

Find out about the people who will talk to you. In the early meetings they are likely to be heads of departments or heads of year. Often they may be concer ned with pastoral matters. It makes sense to know their priorities and let them hear the things about you that they want to hear.? 

During preliminary meetings you may be seen in groups with two or three oth er applicants and you must demonstrate that you know your stuff without putting your companions down. The interviewers will be watching how you work with a team 

.? But remember the warning about informality: however friendly and co-operat ive the other participants are, do not give way to the idea that you are there j ust to be friends.? 

Routine questions can be rehearsed, but “don’t go on too long,” advises th e department head. They may well ask: “What have been your worst/best moments w h en teaching?”, or want you to “talk about some good teaching you have done. ” The experts agree you should recognize your weaknesses and offer a strategy for over coming them. “I know I’ve got to work on classroom management — I would hope fo r some help,” perhaps. No one expects a new teacher to know it all, but they ho pe for an objective appraisal of capabilities.? 

Be warned against inexpert questioning. You may be asked questions in such a way that it seems impossible to present your best features. Some questions may be plain silly, asked perhaps by people on the panel who are from outside the s ituation. Do not be thrown, have ways of circumnavigating it, and never, ever le t them see that you think they have said something foolish.? 

You will almost certainly be asked how you see the future and it is import ant to have a good answer prepared. Some people are put off by being asked what they expect to be doing in five or ten years’ time. On your preliminary visit, s ays the department head, be sure to give them a bit of an interview of your own, to see the direction the department is going and what you could contribute to i t.?  

The headteacher offers his thoughts in a nine-point plan. Iron the application form! Then it stands out from everyone else’s, which have been folded and battered in the post. It gives an initial impression which may get your application to the top of the pile.? Ensure that your application is tailored to the particular school. Make the hea d feel you are writing directly to him or her. Put yourself at ease before you meet the interviewing panel: if you are nervous , you will talk too quickly. Before you enter the room remember that the people are human beings too; take away the mystique of their roles.? Listen. There is a danger of not hearing accurately what is being said. Make ey e contact with the speakers, and with everyone in the room. Allow your warmth and humanity to be seen. A sense of humour is very important. 

? Have a portfolio of your work that can link theory to practice. Many schools wa nt you to show work. For a primary appointment, give examples from the range of the curriculum, not just art. (For this reason, taking pictures on your teaching practice is important. )? Prepare yourself in case you are asked to give a talk. Have prompt cards ready, and don’t waffle.? 

Your speech must be clear and articulate, with correct grammar. This is importa nt: they want to hear you and they want to hear how well you can communicate wit h children. Believe in yourself and have confidence.? 

Some of the people asking the questions don’t know much about what you do. B e ready to help them.? 

Thus armed, you should have no difficulty at all. Good luck and keep your jac ket on!? 

21. Ms. Brenda Stevens suggests that before applying job applicants shoul d ___.? 
A. go through each other’s CVs 
B. rehearse their answers to questions? 
C. understand thoroughly the situations 
D. go to town to attend training course?  

22. Is it wise to admit some of your weaknesses relating to work?? 
A. Yes, but you should have ideas for improvement in the future.? 
B. Yes, because it is natural to be weak in certain aspects.? 
C. No, admitting weaknesses may put you at a disadvantage.? 
D. No, it will only prompt the interviewees to reject you.? 

23. The best way to deal with odd questions from the interviewers is to ___.? 
A. remain smiling and kindly point out the inaccuracies? 
B. keep calm and try to be tactful in your answers 
C. say frankly what you think about the issues raised? 
D. suggest something else to get over your nervousness? 

24. The suggestions offered by the headteacher are ___.? 
A. original B. ambiguous?C. practical D. co ntroversial?? 


? Family Matters? 

This month Singapore passed a bill that would give legal teeth to the moral obligation to support one’s parents. Called the Maintenance of Parents Bill, i t received the backing of the Singapore Government.? 

That does not mean it hasn’t generated discussion. Several members of the P arliament opposed the measure as un-Asian. Others who acknowledged the problem o f the elderly poor believed it a disproportionate response. Still others believe it will subvert relations within the family: cynics dubbed it the “Sue Your So n” law.? 

Those who say that the bill does not promote filial responsibility, of cour se, are right. It has nothing to do with filial responsibility. It kicks in wher e filial responsibility fails. The law cannot legislate filial responsibility an y more than it can legislate love. All the law can do is to provide a safety net where this morality proves insufficient. Singapore needs this bill not to repla ce morality, but to provide incentives to shore it up.? 

Like many other developed nations, Singapore faces the problems of an incre asing proportion of people over 60 years of age. Demography is inexorable. In 19 80, 7.2% of the population was in this bracket. By the end of the century that fi gure will grow to 11%. By 2030, the proportion is projected to be 26%. The probl em is not old age per se. It is that the ratio of economically active people to economically inactive people will decline.?  

But no amount of government exhortation or paternalism will completely elim inate the problem of old people who have insufficient means to make ends meet. S ome people will fall through the holes in any safety net.? 

Traditionally, a person’s insurance against poverty in his old age was his family, lifts is not a revolutionary concept. Nor is it uniquely Asian. Care an d support for one’s parents is a universal value shared by all civilized societ ies.? 

The problem in Singapore is that the moral obligation to look after one’s parents is unenforceable. A father can be compelled by law to maintain his child ren. A husband can be forced to support his wife. But, until now, a son or daugh ter had no legal obligation to support his or her parents.? 

In 1989, an Advisory Council was set up to look into the problems of the ag ed. Its report stated with a tinge of complacency that 95% of those who did not have their own income were receiving cash contributions from relations. But what about the 5% who aren’t getting relatives’ support? They have several options : (a) get a job and work until they die; (b) apply for public assistance(you hav e to be destitute to apply); or(c) starve quietly. None of these options is soci ally acceptable. And what if this 5% figure grows, as it is likely to do, as soc iety ages?? 

The Maintenance of Parents Bill was put forth to encourage the traditional virtues that have so far kept Asian nations from some of the breakdowns encounte red in other affluent societies. This legislation will allow a person to apply t o the court for maintenance from any or all of his children. The court would hav e the discretion to refuse to make an order if it is unjust.? 

Those who deride the proposal for opening up the courts to family lawsuits miss the , point. Only in extreme cases would any parent take his child to court. If it does indeed become law, the bill’s effect would be far more subtle.?  

First, it will reaffirm the notion that it is each individual’s—not soci ety’s—responsibility to look after his parents. Singapore is still conservativ e enough that most people will not object to this idea. It reinforces the tradit ional values and it doesn’t hurt a society now and then to remind itself of its core values.? 

Second, and more important, it will make those who are inclined to shirk th eir responsibilities think twice. Until now, if a person asked family elders, cl ergymen or the Ministry of Community Development to help get financial support f rom his children, the most they could do was to mediate. But mediators have no t eeth, and a child could simply ignore their pleas.? 

But to be sued by one’s parents would be a massive loss of face. It would be a public disgrace. Few people would be so thick-skinned as to say, “Sue and be damned”. The hand of the conciliator would be immeasurably strengthened. It is far more likely that some sort of amicable settlement would be reached if th e recalcitrant son or daughter knows that the alternative is a public trial.? 

It would be nice to think Singapore doesn’t need this kind of law. But th at belief ignores the clear demographic trends and the effect of affluence itsel f on traditional bends. Those of us who pushed for the bill will consider ourselv es most successful if it acts as an incentive not to have it invoked in the firs t place.? 
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