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PGCE Questions for American applicant watch

    • Thread Starter

    Hi everyone. I'm new to TSR so thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

    I'm currently looking into applying to UK universities for a PGCE in History for secondary school. I went to grad school in the UK (got my MSc in Economic History from the London School of Economics) and I got my B.A. in African-American History from Brown University in America.

    I'm doing my research on the internet on PGCE programs but if anyone could add any insights into any of the following points I would greatly appreciate it.

    1) Is prior teaching experience crucial (or the lack, thereof, a deal breaker)?
    I'm starting my first year of teaching now in Thailand so I don't have much experience and I'll likely be teaching adults English here. I've read experience is important but I've also read that they look for applicants who have higher degrees (which I have) and value work experience outside of teaching (which I have, in finance and politics). I also just completed a 144 hours TESOL course where I did have to teach children of various ages for 2 weeks.

    How big of an issue/liability will my lack of teaching experience be though?

    2) Given my lack of teaching experience, does anyone have any general advice on crafting my personal statement?

    3) What are the differences between the programs at Oxford and Cambridge? Specifically given that I am applying to the PGCE program for History.

    Thanks again to anyone who can provide any insights.

    1) Most places ask for a minimum of 2 weeks experience within an educational setting...this doesn't need to be teaching, it can simply be classroom observation, so your experience with TESOL would be perfect and the year in Thailand won't hurt your application.

    2) Most people applying tend to be straight from a degree with little/no actual teaching experience so I wouldn't worry...in regards to the personal statement I wrote about how the experience I do have working with children and young people, combined with passion for my subject, has led me to want to complete a PGCE and become a teacher.

    3) No idea on this one, sorry!

    They really want to see that you have experience working with school age children. I'm from the US and had been living in Ireland for 2+ years when I applied for an English PGCE. I included my experience of Junior Achievement (both in the States and in Ireland), coaching and tutoring in my application. I had no UK experience, and I was offered an interview and a place at my first choice. It's possible. Your MSc will also look good.

    I contacted all the universities I was interested in before applying to ensure my application would be considered without UK experience. Some universities may require UK experience, preferring experience in England.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck.
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