ALC Education Interview

by Kevin R Burns
(Kanagawa, Japan)

The ALC Education interview is first done on the telephone and they record it. They destroy the recording after they have compiled their notes on you as a candidate.

ALC Telephone Interview

It lasts twenty minutes. The interviewer will be very quiet to try to keep you talking.

You will be asked about your educational background, your work history and other standard questions like that.

You will be asked about your greatest successes as a teacher, so be sure to have some ready to talk about, and they should be specific examples.

They want teachers who use the "communicative approach."

If you pass this step, they will call you in to be interviewed in Ichigaya.

You will be asked to submit a lesson plan to ALC before your demo lesson in Tokyo.

The ALC Demo Lesson and Face to Face Interview

The Ichigaya interview starts with you doing a one hour demo lesson. You will be given a choice of topics for your lesson.

I was given the following choices for my 60 minute demo lesson:

-Making small talk prior to a meeting

-Taking/Leaving a telephone message

-Describing a product or service

-Giving an opinion logically

-Building listening skills

Probably I should have chosen one of the more business oriented topics, ALC being a business English school. But I chose something I am famiiar with, helping students to learn how to do small talk. I feel it was a mistake.

Don`t make my mistake! Choose a business oriented topic. Be ready to explain why you chose the topic you did.

I did small talk and was hoping to go onto some business questions I had prepared, but the two students took so long to ask and answer small talk questions we didn`t get to my paper!
Plus they kept asking me many, many questions about different ways of saying things.

Be patient with them and give decisive answers on grammar points. Do not waiver!

You will be asked why you chose the topic you chose. Be ready to give very good reasons why.

They will ask you about motivation. Do not expect the trainers to know people like Dornyei (mine looked at me dumbfounded) when I mentioned the famous man`s name. Your trainers will probably be business majors, who worked in business before, who have taught at ALC for some time. So the people judging you come from a business background not a TEFL background (was my experience).

Be ready to answer how you motivate uninterested, tired, company employees in English study.

Do not be surprised if you are told that you will be teaching intermediate students, but the students end up being very low level. They do this intentionally. They want to see how you will adjust. They test you in other words. Be prepared to roll with the punches.

They do not use real students, the ladies that were the "volunteer students" at my interview, had lived in the USA for many years, but pretended to be beginner students of English. So it was difficult. It threw me off speaking with them fluently before the demo then having to forget that and play act with them for one hour.

Frankly, I wish ALC would use real students for the demo lesson. It would be a more realistic scenario for teachers in how they react to real students.

These ladies made many, many mistakes and asked me many questions about "Is this sentence OK?" "How about this?" "Can I say it this way?"
They try to test your grammar knowledge and your level of patience.

They will put you in a room with a white board at the front, and a second white board running down one wall. One trainer may suggest with a wink that you use both boards.

Never having taught in a room with more than one white board, I wasn`t really sure how to use all the extra space. I think in that moment I forgot how to teach temporarily!

Funny as I have always wanted more board space anywhere I taught, but in the nervousness of a demo lesson with two trainers watching me and taking notes, I found it tough to utilize it.

I wrote the homework on the second board. Then of course they asked me why I did that. I think I replied lamely that I wanted to use the second board!

I promptly forgot everything I had learned in 26 years of teaching!

I forgot to write today`s lesson plan on the board, and number what we would be doing in order.
Nor did I explain the days lesson goal! Be sure to do the above!

Be well versed in appropriate and inappropriate questions for business people. I have become pretty easy going about what I am asked, or ask as I have gotten older, and come into contact with many cultures. But it will be important for your demo lesson. What flies with your friends or family of course, is not OK to ask in a business context.

ALC Demo Lesson Criteria:

- Instructor Preparedness - classroom management

-teacher`s manner/enthusiasm - pacing/timing

-level pitching/adjusting - controlled practice vs free prod.

-student/teacher rapport - student talking time

-introduction of activities - giving feedback

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