Interview Questions

Paul Bogush is creating a list of interview questions for his student teacher. I added this to his list:

“Tell me about your PLN. Explain how you interact and its importance to your professional development and growth.”

If I were an administrator this would definitely be a question I would ask of any teacher I interviewed.

I would also be asking it of my staff after I modeled how valuable mine was to them.

I have only met a few members of my PLN face-to-face and have never seen any of them teach a class, but somehow I feel very confident that they are excellent teachers that I would hire in a second.

PLN as litmus test. Legitimate or not?

7 thoughts on “Interview Questions

  1. Dodie Ainslie

    I think it is a legitamite question for anyone in education, teachers and administrators. I want to know how they grow professionally and it is so much more than, ‘what professional book are you reading right now’. (a typical question posed at interviews)

    I just had a discussion about this at our school district last week. I’m trying to encourage our administrators to develop a PLN and will be doing a PR overview for twitter and google reader next month. It always comes back to time issues- I look at the pile of journals and books they have in their ‘to read’ pile and say- ‘it isn’t one more pile like that’.

    I think that we can’t afford not to have a PLN, it is a must- and to me a digital one saves me time and makes me ‘on the cusp’ of emerging thoughts and ideas.
    I wonder, is any district asking about PLNs? I’d be curious.

  2. Matt Townsley

    I think this is a good question, Michael, but don’t forget what a “PLN” really is, a personal learning network. It doesn’t have to involve twitter or an rss feed. In the days before RSS and twitter, educators still had informal PLNs: people they met at conferences and in graduate school, for example. David Warlick, who writes extensively about PLNs, even says, “There is nothing new about personal learning networks. They are the people and information sources that help you accomplish your goals, either on the job or in your personal pursuits. They are the teachers that work in your school, your instructional supervisor, your library media specialist, the art teacher at the high school, which whom you are friends, the magazines you subscribe to, books you brought home from college, etc.”
    Asking about a digital PLN, then, might be what you have in mind? It’s a modern day “tell me about the last three books you’ve read” type of question.

  3. Eric Townsley

    I had the opportunity to share about my PLN in my summative presentation for my grad program in educational leadership (admin) this last week. Both of my advisors I had from the college had not used twitter or any of the other learning tools I utilize before. This one little piece of my presentation of all the things I’ve learned in the two and a half years of my program then started to revolve around my PLN. I had a great opportunity to share about my learning that happens online. It was great. So Michael, as I read your post. I agree. As a hopeful future admin, a question regarding learning networks will definitely be on my interview list.

  4. concretekax

    I naturally see the relationship to the older PLN and “the last three books question” but I think PLN is much different. I believe PLN is generally accepted as an on-line community of educators through places such as nings, twitter, blogs, etc. What separates this PLN from your teachers and mentors in your building is the immediacy and connectedness.

    My PLN is 24/7 and around the world. It is much more diverse than the teachers in my building or district. the resource sharing is multiplied by the thousands of people finding and sharing. The push to my thinking is amazing because I have easy access to the leading thinkers in education. I don’t have to buy their books or even wait for them to be published.

    The reason why I think this is a good interview question is that a teacher who has developed an online PLN has a support system and a path for continued growth over the course of their career. Of course, there are other paths to growth but in my opinion they pale to the effectiveness of a PLN.

    In short, my PLN is so much more powerful, personal, and relevant than what used to be that I find the comparison to be almost ridiculous.

  5. concretekax

    Sorry, I forgot to add that I agree with Dodie’s comments especially about how easy it is to have a stack of PD materials that you never get to. PLN’s are an active group of growing people, an organism, not just a book or grad. program.

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