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#21
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#21
(Original post by Sakurastressvall)
I have an interview to get onto a teaching placement degree on Thursday. As part of the interview I have to pitch a book that isn’t currently on the British curriculum and explain why I think it should be. I’ve opted to go for A-level students (16-18 year olds), and am seriously considering talking about Nabokov’s Lolita. Is this too much of a risky move? I was thinking of pitching it in a way to talk about cruelty, the prevalence of sexual assault in the modern world, his writing and how amazing it is, including the psychological element of his writing, as well as censorship etc. I believe in taking risks and not staying completely safe, but perhaps this is too much? At the same time, I really love the book and feel I can convey it to the interviewers But again, do you think this is too much of a risk at an interview?
Hello

I think the differing of opinions showing in this thread is indicative of the potential divisiveness of your chosen text. Therefore, I think you ought to reconsider your choice as the focus won't be on the text you choose, but how you engage the audience to whom you present the ideas. I think you identity in your question that this text has potential risks, and so you need to weigh up would you rather be controversial or deliver a solid presentation based on an alternative text and avoid potentially outraging the interviewers. I think the battle of teaching this text doesn't belong at an interview but certainly once you are working in a school. It is important to confront young people with challenging literature and I think A-Levels students welcome this. If you need a hand with preparing for your interview, please don't hesitate to contact Get into Teaching support service. Call 0800 389 2500 or register here.

Wishing you all the best for a successful interview,



Jane
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Sakurastressvall
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#22
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#22
(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I actually think this would be a really bad idea- it's nothing to do with the quality of the text or whether it's a good book or not. This is an interview which isn't far removed from a job interview- if your goal is to get in, I'd go for a safer choice.

Firstly, I'd go for a KS3/4 choice. That's where the bulk of your teaching (especially during the PGCE) is likely to be. IMO, your interview would be stronger if you could talk about a book that might engage more reluctant readers, rather than talking about something that would engage sixth formers. Putting it nicely, engaging sixth formers is easy- engaging bottom set Year 9 on a Friday afternoon is where the real challenge is. What sort of book might appeal to them and also teach them something about language? Show that you understand the challenges of the job!

Secondly, to some interviewers, I do think talking about Lolita would show a lack of judgement. Not everyone has the same opinion on the book, and in general it's best to avoid really polarizing subject matter in interview. Your interviewers might be fine with it, but why take that risk.

Thirdly, grooming is a hot safeguarding topic at the moment. If you brought up a book that arguably glamorizes grooming, you're more likely to face difficult questions from the interviewers.

If you do decide to go ahead with talking about Lolita, then I'd prepare some answers for difficult questions such as:

-How would you deal with teaching this book if there was a student who had previously been sexually assaulted or groomed in the class?

-How would you deal with it if a student said the subject matter of the book made them uncomfortable? (Telling them to get over it, particularly as a male teacher to a female student, wouldn't be an acceptable answer).

-How would you deal with it if a parent was uncomfortable with their child studying this book?

-Given the subject matter, what can this book teach students about literature that another book wouldn't be able to do?

I'm not saying we shouldn't teach controversial things in school- as a biology teacher I get the fun of teaching teenagers all about their own anatomy, hormones and hormonal contraception- but in an interview it's not necessarily about being true to your authentic self, or whatever. It's about showcasing yourself in the best possible light.
I’ve decided to go for Dracula or Anna Karenina
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princetonalec
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#23
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#23
(Original post by Sakurastressvall)
So you’re judging something on a film. A film that quite frankly is terrible to say the least. Yes, the book is about that theme. But the book is so much more. It’s a psychological adventure that words can’t explain. You cannot judge something you know nothing about here. Read the book, and then I’ll respect your opinion here.
"Yeah this book is about child grooming and sexual abuse, but it's cerebral so it counts as art for some reason."
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UGP1023
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#24
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#24
In my school(in Denmark) Lolita was on the curriculum, its a real classic and i Think it would be a great(Bold) choice as it also takes up very provocative themes
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Sakurastressvall
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#25
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#25
(Original post by princetonalec)
"Yeah this book is about child grooming and sexual abuse, but it's cerebral so it counts as art for some reason."
Clearly another person who hasn’t read the book. Just leave constructive comments or better yet don’t comment, ok?
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Sakurastressvall
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#26
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#26
(Original post by UGP1023)
In my school(in Denmark) Lolita was on the curriculum, its a real classic and i Think it would be a great(Bold) choice as it also takes up very provocative themes
Thank you! I’ve decided not to as I clearly live in a very backwards country, but it’s great to here how Denmark is more tolerant of taboo matters in literature! I actually plan on moving to Scandinavia after obtaining my teaching degree
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Ciel.
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#27
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(Original post by Sakurastressvall)
Thank you! I’ve decided not to as I clearly live in a very backwards country, but it’s great to here how Denmark is more tolerant of taboo matters in literature! I actually plan on moving to Scandinavia after obtaining my teaching degree
it's the other way round... 1 in 6 men, and a third of all women have experienced sexual abuse/assault. it's a good thing that people are trying to be considerate. why should they have to relive their experiences in school, too? just something to think about.
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Sakurastressvall
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#28
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#28
(Original post by Ciel.)
it's the other way round... 1 in 6 men, and a third of all women have experienced sexual abuse/assault. it's a good thing that people are trying to be considerate. why should they have to relive their experiences in school, too? just something to think about.
Ok but let me pose you this then. There are so many things we talk about in school that affect people, mostly unintentionally. Talking about infertility in biology can hurt those who are tragically aware of their infertility. Talking about mental health in psychology can hurt those who either struggle themselves or have family/friends who do. Talking about certain events in history can have adverse affects on people - maybe their ancestors were a victim of a certain time. The fact is we cannot tiptoe around every single issue a person may be facing.

And just about your comment on saying they’re quite the opposite - the Scandinavian countries are world renowned for their high standards of living, education, social justice, equality, and so on - so I think they’re doing something right
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UGP1023
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#29
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#29
(Original post by Ciel.)
it's the other way round... 1 in 6 men, and a third of all women have experienced sexual abuse/assault. it's a good thing that people are trying to be considerate. why should they have to relive their experiences in school, too? just something to think about.
I have experienced sexual abuse when I was 11, but the book is still very intriguing, of corse it is a sensitive topic and people should tread carefully around it, but it’s still something I think should be brought up and talked about instead of ignored
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Sakurastressvall
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#30
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#30
(Original post by UGP1023)
I have experienced sexual abuse when I was 11, but the book is still very intriguing, of corse it is a sensitive topic and people should tread carefully around it, but it’s still something I think should be brought up and talked about instead of ignored
Thank you, this is my thought exactly. If society is never told that such things can happen, people will always feel alienated and alone. I’m sorry to hear about your sexual abuse, it must have been truly awful, but I thank you for providing a basis for something I was trying to state
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UGP1023
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#31
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#31
(Original post by Sakurastressvall)
Thank you! I’ve decided not to as I clearly live in a very backwards country, but it’s great to here how Denmark is more tolerant of taboo matters in literature! I actually plan on moving to Scandinavia after obtaining my teaching degree
It would be awesome if you moved to Scandinavia I would of course recommend Denmark, since Norway has beautiful landscape but it’s the most expensive country to live in if of the 3 and I have nothing nice to say about Sweden as they are our rival. We have a love-hate relationship with them as we hate them but when anyone else say something bad about them we will stand up for them and protect them, we are very much like siblings😂
Last edited by UGP1023; 2 weeks ago
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UGP1023
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#32
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#32
(Original post by Sakurastressvall)
Thank you, this is my thought exactly. If society is never told that such things can happen, people will always feel alienated and alone. I’m sorry to hear about your sexual abuse, it must have been truly awful, but I thank you for providing a basis for something I was trying to state
You’re welcome
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04MR17
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#33
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#33
This thread was created looking for advice about Teacher Training interviews. Lots of advice has now been given, so I'm going to close this thread.

If you'd like to debate the usefulness of teaching using texts of this nature then please head to the educational debate forum. :yy:

Thanks.
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