Monday, September 03, 2007

Still no news

Phoned the academie today to find out what was happening. Got to speak to a rather irate jobsworth administrator who wanted to know why I wasn't at my place of work and getting ready for the kids who come back tomorrow (erm, because you people haven't yet told me what my place of work is, and your academie is one of the biggest in France). She did give me a couple of direct lines to people who should be able to advise ... or at least might have been able to if they'd been in their offices to answer their phones.

In the meantime, I'll tell you about part 2 of the Capes; the oral exams.

There are 2 tests, one in English, which is about English-speaking culture, the other in French and about teaching. In the first, they give you a literary extract, a nonliterary piece of writing and a picture, and you have 5 hours to prepare a 20-minute talk (plus Q&A) on any common themes you can identify. In my case, I got an extract from Bend it Like Beckham, some equal opportunities info about educational achievement and a photo of a muslim woman wearing a Union Flag as a veil. Given all the talk about veils lately in the UK, this one was a bit of a gift, but fair's fair, I'd had to write in French about The Scarlet Letter to get this far so I figure I deserved a break.

For the second test, you get some teaching materials which you have to comment on in French. Again, five hours prep for a 20 minute presentation. It shouldn't be too hard if you've taught before, but you need to arm yourself with a few educational buzzwords. Having taught in the UK for six years, including running a department, I could talk the talk in English but in French it was a bit harder.

Anyway, these certainly have more to do with actual teaching than the written stuff; if you can't carry off a 20-minute talk in front of a jury of 3 adults, how are you ever going to cope in front of 30-40 teenagers? However, I have my own ideas of how the second test could be improved further and made more realistic:

1) Provide the candidate with a book of photocopiable activities (Hadfield's Elementary/Intermediate/Advanced Communication Games, for example), a grammar book, a pair of scissors and access to a photocopier.

2) Reverse the times - 20 minutes preparation for a 5-hour class. (OK, so few classes are 5 hours long, but 20 whole minutes of prep time? That's generous!

3) Set the photocopier to jam every five or six copies. Any self-respecting teacher should know how to unjam photocopiers.

You now have an accurate simulation of a teacher at work. Tough but fair.

Powered by ScribeFire.


LostInSpace said...

Thanks for the comment on Notes from the TEFL Graveyard. I'll be linking to you to keep abreast of your adventures. Bonne chance! (Can't remember if chance is masculine or feminine...)

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

Yaay! A link from someone I'm not related to! (It's la chance btw, in case you were interested)

engelsk said...

The five hours prep is what gets me - for both parts of the test. Does anyone need that long? I would have thought half an hour ought to be enough for either. Or is there something I've overlooked?

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

Maybe it's supposed to simulate teaching at the end of the day, engelsk.