I recently looked over the Gram website. They mentioned that they wanted to see a 15 minute “demo” before they will hire a prospective teacher. What is a demo? Do you prepare your own material? Is it for a class or the staff? Any tips? Thanks. Oh yeah, what have people heard about working for Gram consultants.
When applying at home to an employer to teach computer software courses, I was required to give a demo to the employer. I picked a specific, narrow topic to discuss, prepared as though I was presenting the material to a class and then presented it to one of the staff persons. I don’t think they care what you teach. They just want to look you over, check out your teaching ability for all those things such as organization of topic, clarity of presentation, and your ability to present understandable material to your “audience”. They probably want to see your introduction or warm-up, how you present and reinforce the material, what percentage of the time you have the students talking compared to how much you talk, and your wrap-up. I’m not familiar with Gram Consultants, though. Good luck!
I’m not familiar with Gram, other than by name, but I’ve done a demo or two in my day. Fifteen minutes is usual and is just enough time to play a few games, sing a few songs, encourage a few stragglers, correct a few mis-pronunications, laugh a few times, and maintain that smile on your face.
You should ask a few questions before you go. For example, how many children (or are they adults) will be in the classroom, what is the level of students (often it is beginner), and do they have basic supplies like flashcards or should you bring your own? If they have flashcards ask them to prepare number, alphabet, basic zoo animals, basic actions and posssibly some fruit cards.
If your are teaching children, post some stickers on your back before you go out. When you introduce yourself and write your name on the board the children will see the stickers and make some excited chatter. Pretend you don’t know what’s going on. Even invite one student up to show you what is on your back (and of course get the sticker as a reward).
If you need some game suggestions reply to this posting and I’ll list a few good ones.
Thanks, Mucha Man. Yes, I would like to hear some more of your suggestions. Thanks.
I did a demo for them years ago. They gave me two papers, one for adults and one for children and told me to prepare to teach those two pages. So I went home and did my best. My demo was about 20 minutes as I remember. Not very hard. Afterwards they sit down with you and tell you how you did and make recommendations such as which age group you would get along with and teach better. As far as I know you cannot prepare anything you want, you have to prepare what they give you. Hope this helps.
I’m curious as to whether they want you to give a demo using their own supplied materials, or to ‘wing it’. I’d imagine they have something in mind because you’ll be in front of a real class.
Also, is this for adults or young learners?
15 minutes is a very short time, and barely enough time to cover the four skills, listening, speaking, writing and reading. Your potential employers are likely looking for your ability to control a classroom both actively and creatively.
Here’s an example of a classroom game/activity which may motivate the class, crosses skill levels, can be used on any given materials in innovative ways [alphabets, numbers, colours, verb tenses, prepositions, etc], and can actually cover those four skills quite succinctly:
Whether you set your own topic otr they give you one, you should try something like this (for preschool or young kids).
Choose 4-6 easy keywordswith flashcards and an action and sound to go with each one (animals are easy for this).
Choose a simple sentece pattern (I like, I want, it’s a/they are).
Choose a simple song or chant that matches at least some fo the key vocabulary.
Think of a very simple game. It has to be very simple so that you can model it for the kids and they’ll pick it up straight away.
Make your lessonplan based around this. I prefer improvised demos so I don’t have to actually prepare anything, but if you’ve got a basic structure you can fit any topic into it with a little tinkering.
Thanks for all of these ideas.
Sorry it took so long to reply. Been busy working in the garden.
Most of the suggestions above are good. The important thing for any demo, or any class even, is to have more prepared than you can fit into the time. Often one activity or game or approach will fall flat. If you don’t have an alternative you’re going to look pretty inept.
Some demo games:
If the children are young bring in a bubble maker. After briefly introducing yourself take out the device. The children will instantly take interest in you. Use the bubbles to practise numbers (1, 2, 3). Get the children to count with you, or see how many they can pop before the bubbles dissolve.
You can also ask students to blow “big” bubbles, or “little” bubbles.
Balloons are another useful demo tool. Inflate them before class and slip little pieces of paper with the alphabet into them before tying. Choose students to pop the balloons and read the letter on the paper. If possible get the student to say a word starting with that letter.
If the students can read play musical books. Place all the students books (open) on the floor in a circle. Take away one book. Now get the students to make a circle around the books. Start to sing or play a tape. The students circle the books until you stop. One student won’t have a book to touch. This student must read one or two lines of the lesson.
A fun flashcard game involves blindfolding a student and asking him or her to name the flashcard only by feel. Of course all flashcards feel alike, so the fun is in the quessing and the reaction of the other students. If the blindfolded student guesses the wrong card, ask the class, “Is it a …?” This helps to get everyone involved. Note that you should go over the flashcards with the students first before you blindfold anyone.
Don’t forget to bring stickers, or something more exotic like money (pennies) or stamps from your home country, to reward the students. Sing a song at the end to close out the demo and give a warm goodbye to the class.
Apart from Gram, what other schools have people been asked to do demos at ? How long have they been ? With how many pupils (if any) ?
I did a demo way back when for Hua Language School (a children’s chain). They gave me a simple objective (big/small, red/blue - something like that) and a few minutes to prepare. Then I demo’d for the person who interviewed me a few others from the office (3 adults).
The other demo I remember was for Princeton Review Taipei. They said go home and prepare a 15 min lesson on anything and be ready to demo it for some of the staff and the other applicants. Of course, that was applying to teach SAT prep, not ESL.
Many other schools require demos. I remember having to do a demonstration by teaching a full sized class for about 30 minutes at David’s English years ago.
I’ll be doing the 15 min. demo for Gram next week. They gave me the material.
Has anybody here worked for Gram English Center (Gram Consultants, LTD.)?
At the interview I learned they’ve been around for almost 20 years, take mainly corproate clients (some include Microsoft and American Express), and pay for transportation to the teaching site. I’ve been to a lot of interviews in the last month and haven’t been too impressed with most places. Gram at least seems to have its act together, but of course, I’d like to know how professional they really are from some people who’ve actually worked for them.
You might want to read Wolf’s story in that thread Alien started about “your funniest teaching experience.”
Thanks but that story was from 1986 and describes an interview that doesn’t resemble AT ALL the 20-minute one-on-one interview I had the other day. I’m looking for advice from people that have actually worked for Gram.
I worked for them briefly in 1995. At that time, I couldn’t decide between two companies, so I decided to hedge my bets and work halftime at both places, and see which one developed into the better position. The teacher and client support at Gram at that time was nil. Gram’s role was to bring me to the client, and that was it. No follow-up, nothing. I renewed client contracts for all of my classes three times in the course of one year with no salary raise, and then I decided to bring them all over to my present company for a nice chunk of commission. Management was so slack they didn’t even realize they’d lost a bunch of clients to the competititon.
I had no real problems at Gram, and the interview/test was a snap, but the management at that time was non-existent. Fortunately, I was never in need of assistance from their managers. If I had been, I’m sure I would have felt very alone.
I’m sure things have changed in the last 8 years. But then again, maybe they haven’t.