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It’s been a hard few weeks trying to adjust to the strains of preparing for three different levels (we started a pre-intermediate level class to add to the upper intermediate and lower advanced groups) plus my other 1-2-1s, and as though that weren’t enough, I volunteered to make the Aula10 Facebook page more than just an advertising channel. My vision was to make it a language-related page, a microblog in the real sense, publishing regular feeds on words, idioms, false friends, confusing words, etc, and wherever possible, to support them with quoted examples of recent usage. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the link. My target audience is both teachers and students.

Aula10 in Facebook

Not forgetting, too, that I have to spend time running the Wiki Spaces for each group, feeding in work and correcting them. So, all these meant that I’ve had little time to write, and, honestly, weekends are no different to weekdays lately, i.e. no rest for the wicked! Lots of people will think I’m mad. Maybe I am. All these extras aren’t paid work – they’re just labour of passion. ;)

Coming back to the main reason for the post, today was the weekly 4-hour Saturday lesson with the CAE group. One of the students had previously asked me to go over his CV and cover letter. We warmed up by talking about CVs in general and then I asked him to tell the class about this job he’s applying for.

Since he’d personally requested for some interview work, I decided to get the students themselves to do it – him on one side, and the others on the opposite side. And, so began the gruelling interview…

These were some of the questions they asked him:

  • Tell me something about yourself.
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to leave your present job?
  • Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
  • What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
  • Can you describe a time when your work was criticised?
  • Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.
  • What salary are you expecting?
  • What do you see yourself doing within the first 30 days of this job?
  • Tell me about your proudest achievement.
  • Was there a person in your career who really made a difference?
  • What kind of car do you drive?
  • What’s the last book you read?
  • What magazines do you subscribe to?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • How many times do a clock’s hands overlap in a day?
  • How would you weigh a plane without scales?
  • Why is there fuzz on a tennis ball?

OK, I confess. They took this from the list of 100 questions I printed from Monster.

The session was quite lively, including some heated debate on what are strong or weak answers. There was some talk on eye contact, sitting posture, skype interviews, interviews using web conferencing software, etc. Also, a heated debate arose on whether one should lie or stick to the truth in interviews, and how one should address personal questions.

After the interview, we continued discussing other related matters, such as intelligence (What is intelligence? Can it be measured?) and non-related ones such as horse meat, a topic very much in the news this past week. This led to what is ethically correct or incorrect, how different cultures perceive this differently, and what humans are capable of in desperate circumstances.

All in all, I felt it was a productive session, the emphasis being more on fluency rather than accuracy, although I did do some minor corrections and also introduced some new lexis. Generally, however, the level of language used was quite accurate.

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