DET Interview Questions

With the introduction of the Australian Curriculum and National Teaching Standards the responses are out of date, yet the format and structure will be very similar



They have a few pages which cover each of the elements, and from a particular element they will ask you about 4 or 5 questions.  It is not so much as an interview than a meeting.  They just want to know about you and your experiences.  Below are a list of the questions I had, what I found on the Internet, and what a friends who did the Interview as well were asked.  I have answered some for my own study.


Interview Questions

Why do you want to be a teacher?


How would you maintain effective communication with fellow staff?

Staff Meetings, discussions and updates on units, students and results.  A good atmosphere in the staff room.

Positive:                                Negative:


How important is the wider school community?


How do you motivate your students?


What do you consider the role of a teacher to be?


What do understand by the term parents as partners in education?


Describe a positive experience you have had as a teacher which made you feel good about being a teacher?


Describe the best lesson you gave during a prac.  Why was it the best?


Describe the worst lesson you gave during prac.  Why was it worst?  What did you learn from this experience?


Tell me what you know in general terms about the ways in which students learn.


What are some strategies you have used in the classroom to effectively manage disruptive students?


What teaching strategies do you believe are most successful in developing language in the writing process?


Can you give me an example of working as part of a team?  What was your contribution to the team and what was the outcome of this exercise?


Can you tell me about any significant changes to the curriculum which have been introduced recently?  How would you inform yourself about curriculum changes?


Describe a time where you set yourself a challenging goal? What happened? What would you do differently?


What is your teaching philosophy?

My personal perspective on ethical philosophies that shape my future teaching practice are built upon the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).   I first and foremost believe that each and every child has an inalienable right to a safe existence within the schooling environment which develops a child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities (UNCRC. Articles 28 & 29).  As my pedagogical specialty is entrenched in both Early Childhood and Secondary History I have a fundamental persuasion for both firstly, teaching with socially engaged practice according to Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model of Development (in Slee, P. 2002) and secondly, teaching to inspire overall, a critical consciousness against oppression (whether that is social, political, economic, etc) as illustrated by Freire (2006).  I consider morality and ethics to be aspirational, driven by ambition or punitive motivated by fear of punishment and correction.  I am aspirational in my pedagogical practice; however I very much feel that I do not stand for any one ethical viewpoint, but rather a combination of many depending on the situation.  I don’t know if this flexibility is a strength or weakness, as I understand the ‘greater good’ of consequentialist thought, but don’t agree in its collectivist mentality which can isolate minorities.  I do agree with a non-consequentialist duty and moral obligation to ethical concepts, but not when it is to the determinant of the student or situation.  Overall I contend that in most situations I am morally inflexible yet ethically flexible.


Have you had to deal with a difficult student and if so how did you resolve the problem?


What is your behaviour management style?

Realist, kids will be kids, but boundaries need to be set.  Consistent and Fair


What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: Ability to Engage, Ability to Relate, Quick Learner, classroom management, curriculum development, or technology integration.  (INTEGRATE STRENGTHS WITH EXAMPLES)

Weaknesses: The key to answering the question is to turn a negative into a positive.  Too Creative, There are so many creative activities I plan for my students and class time is limited.  Finding balance between Explicit and implicit teaching.  Finding that harmony between student and teacher centred learning.  Self-Critical.


What do you believe the term “Student Welfare” to encompass?

Student welfare in government schools:

• encompasses everything the school community does to meet the personal, social and learning

needs of students

• creates a safe, caring school environment in which students are nurtured as they learn

• is achieved through the total school curriculum and the way it is delivered

• incorporates effective discipline

• incorporates preventive health and social skills programs

• stresses the value of collaborative early intervention when problems are identified

• provides ongoing educational services to support students

• recognises the diversity within the school community and provides programs and support

which acknowledge difference and promote harmony

• recognises the role that the school plays as a resource to link families with community

support services

• provides opportunities for students to:

– enjoy success and recognition

– make a useful contribution to the life of the school

– derive enjoyment from their learning.

Schools provide effective learning and teaching within secure, well-managed environments, in

partnership with parents* and the wider school community. The objectives and outcomes that

follow therefore relate to:

Effective learning and teaching

Positive climate and good discipline

Community participation.


What would you do in the initial set up of your classroom to structure it for effective/explicit teaching?

Explicit teaching is essentially about the talk of classroom lessons. Careful examination of literacy interactive practices in the context of classroom teaching provides detailed information about teaching practice and leads to important conclusions about instructional efficacy for all students.

By looking at the patterns of classroom interaction (through transcript or video technology), what the talk ‘enables’ and what the talk ‘disables’ becomes evident. Observations of classroom talk capture what is set up to be of primary importance in literacy lessons by displaying:

  • what teachers and students talk about (what topics are the focus of the interaction)
  • how lessons begin (what students hear as the focal point and the purpose of the lesson)
  • how lessons progress (whether the literacy topic is maintained)
  • how lessons conclude (whether students are reconnected to learning goals)

Explicit instructional talk enables students to have the opportunity to invest in their own learning in a meaningful way and not have to be engaged in ‘psycholinguistic guessing games’ where the student is having to ‘get inside the teacher’s head’ to establish the purposes for learning. When the learning objectives are blurred or implicit, many students may find the integration of implicit references to aspects of literacy confusing or even impossible.

Piecing together ‘snippets’ of information that are heard embedded within a whole range of organisational and management ‘school-type’ talk is a demanding and potentially difficult cognitive task (Edwards-Groves, 1998). Explicit teaching therefore is a powerful way of ‘letting the students in on the big secret of what is going on’ (as suggested by a Year 4 teacher in my doctoral study) resulting in a more genuinely student-centred pedagogy that moves toward catering, more equitably, for the diversity of learners present in the ‘everyday classroom’.

Explicit teaching is critically about clarity in:

  1. knowing the learner
  2. responding to the learner
  3. implementing focused lessons
  4. reflection and review


How would you involve a learning support team?

The Learning Assistance Program

The Learning Assistance Program supports students experiencing difficulties in learning in regular classes, regardless of the cause. It includes support for students with significant learning difficulties, mild intellectual disabilities and language disorders.

The STLA’s role as a member of the school learning support team is to:

  • identify and assess students experiencing difficulties in learning
  • plan, implement, monitor and evaluate programs for students with learning difficulties
  • build the capacity of teachers to support students with a diverse range of learning needs

In working collaboratively with school executive, classroom teachers and parents, the STLA may provide support through:

  • team teaching
  • consultancy and training and development with other teachers
  • withdrawal for assessment
  • withdrawal of students for short term intensive instruction and monitoring of progress
  • support for peer tutoring and other programs


Are you aware of the Department’s Child Protection Policy?” and “What does it require of teachers?” to which the most important thing to answer is that you have a duty of care to your students and will report any suspected cases of child neglect of abuse to your Principal.

  • promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children, young people and families
  • assess and respond to concerns about them
  • develop ways strengthen families and help communities to care for children and young people.

Note: Training, Reporting and Supporting


Interview Questions (continued)…

Tell us about yourself…..

What implications flow from the assessment of students’ work?

What prompted you to study education?

Why do you want to become a teacher?

What would you do if you got a full time position next year and you had to start in one week?

How would you organise yourself?

Why do want to work for DET?

Your first appointment is to a school which has a tradition of musical performances.  You have well developed musical skills and would like to take control of organising this years performance.

Your direct supervisor has always managed this event.  How would you handle this situation?

What do you consider important when programming for a class?

Tell me about a time when you had to communicate information to a group of people. How would you get to know your fellow teachers?

During a year 9 class there is a sudden, major disturbance between two boys.  When you intervene, one boy rudely abuses you, using very inappropriate language.  What would you do?

How do you go about meeting new people? How would you go about forming a relationship with your new class?

Tell us about a time where you’ve demonstrated leadership qualities.  How do these relate to your effectiveness as a teacher?

Is there anything else you wanted to add about yourself?

Have you planned and implemented a unit of work before?

Why do you wish to become a teacher with DET?

Many classes today are mixed ability- that is they contain students with a range of abilities.  What teaching strategies would you use to effectively cater for the wide range of abilities you are likely to encounter?

What are some of the classroom assessment practices or evaluation strategies that you would use to assess the educational outcomes of your students?

What role do you see parents as having in the educational process?

How would you incorporate literacy as a priority in your teaching (of your subject) (across the curriculum) Can you give me an example of innovative teaching practices you have observed during your prac experiences?

Can you give me five words that best describe you?

Let’s say that you are appointed to Goodooga Central School, a school in a small, isolated, largely Aboriginal community.  What difficulties do you think you would face both at school and in your own lifestyle?

These are the OLD standards in which you are measured against.  It is good to know these in REFERENCE TO AN EXPERIENCE YOU HAD.


Element 1: Teachers know their subject content and how to teach that content to their students

You may be asked questions about your:

Understanding of current Board of Studies syllabuses and the Department’s guidelines on curriculum content and teaching methods

Ability to plan lessons in accordance with the educational needs and individual learning styles of students

Competence in integrating information technology in learning and teaching


Element 2: Teachers know their students and how they learn

You may be asked questions about:

The welfare of students and their learning

Your ability to cater for the individual needs of all students in a just and equitable manner

Your ability to improve learning outcomes by motivating all students through the application of a wide range of teaching


Element 3: Teachers plan, assess and report for effective learning

You may be asked questions about your:

Understanding of the role of monitoring, assessment and reporting to enhance learning outcomes, including outcomes in literacy and numeracy


Element 4: Teachers communicate effectively with their students

You may be asked questions about your:

Ability to use the English language effectively in oral and written communication


Element 5: Teachers create and maintain safe and challenging learning environments through the use of classroom management skills

You may be asked questions about your:

Capacity to establish and maintain a purposeful, interesting and challenging learning environment for all students

Capacity to create an environment of respect and rapport

Skills in conflict resolution


Element 6: Teachers continually improve their professional knowledge and practice

You may be asked questions about your:

Understanding of the role of critical reflection and feedback in relation to teacher performance

Awareness of the need for ongoing professional development

Ability to embrace educational innovation and change


Element 7: Teachers are actively engaged members of their profession and the wider community

You may be asked questions about your:

Ability to recognise and appreciate the values held by students, families and the community in relation to the role of a teacher

Understanding of the importance of leadership skills in the teaching profession

Contribution to groups such as students’ representative councils, social organisations, sporting associations or community



Open questions-” Tell us a little about……..”

Keep in mind the selection criteria and your strengths.


Hypothetical questions-What would you do if…

These will assess your ability to think on your feet.


Leading questions- The answer seems logical…

As a teacher you will require good communication skills – do you have good skills in this area?  Do not give a yes/no answer. Give  examples to support your response.


Multi-barrelled- two or more questions linked to the same topic

Don’t be afraid to ask to have the question repeated if you can’t recall the full question.


Behavioural questions-uses your past experiences to predict future behaviours

Prepare examples of how your experiences have allowed you to develop specific skills and how these could benefit the employer.


Personal Qualities

  • A positive attitude towards the welfare of students and their learning
  • Sound commitment to teaching as a profession
  • Ability to recognise and appreciate the values held by students, families and the community in relation to the role of a teacher
  • Ability to cater for the individual needs of all students in a just and equitable manner
  • Understanding of the need to apply equity principles and practices to ensure that all students reach their potential
  • Understanding of the role of critical reflection and feedback in relation to teacher performance
  • Awareness of the need for ongoing professional development
  • Ability to embrace educational innovation and change
  • Capacity to contribute as an effective and cooperative team member to enhance student learning
  • Ability to use the English language effectively in both oral and written communication
  • Effective conflict resolution skills.


Teaching Expertise

  • plan lessons in accordance with the educational needs and individual learning styles of students
  • improve learning outcomes by motivating all students through the application of a wide range of teaching approaches and strategies
  • establish and maintain a purposeful, interesting and challenging learning environment for all students
  • Competence in integrating information technology in learning and teaching.


Teaching Methods and Curriculum

  • Understanding of current Board of Studies syllabuses and the Department’s guidelines on curriculum content and teaching methods
  • Awareness of the need to incorporate literacy and numeracy skills across the curriculum
  • Ability to recognise the integrated nature of curriculum areas
  • Ability to make connections between content areas, classroom activities and community expectations of learning experiences
  • Understanding of the role of monitoring, assessment and reporting to enhance learning outcomes, including outcomes in literacy and numeracy.


Leadership Qualities

  • Contribution to groups such as students’ representative councils, social organisations, sporting associations or community
  • Demonstrated leadership in, for example, paid or voluntary work
  • Understanding of the importance of leadership skills in the teaching profession.


Other Skills

  • Skills and special aptitudes which may contribute to effectiveness as a teacher (eg skills in music, art, craft, sport, languages other than English, information technology).



Another DET interview


DET Application and Interview power point from UNE


The Supporting statement!

I had some trouble outlining this, and its by no means RIGHT, remember if you copy mine and LIE – you will get caught.




1. Within your teaching subject/area how would you ensure that you maximise learning experiences and outcomes for all your students, having regard for their different abilities and backgrounds?

To maximise the learning experience and outcomes for all my students, my pedagogy embodies and replicates Elements 1 and 2 of the Professional Teaching Standards.  I take great pride in researching new and interesting techniques to approach both syllabus and historical content.  Moreover as a teacher I know that it is critical that I understand how my students learn.  I achieve both Elements 1 and 2 through classroom activities and programs that are carefully planned in conjunction with the NSW DET Quality Teaching Framework.  My teaching practice and classroom reflects a Quality Learning Environment, the Intellectual Quality and Significance needed to maximise learning experiences and outcomes.  As a teacher I understand that students have different abilities and backgrounds which affect the method in which they learn most effectively.    I believe that all students are socially constructed which is why I apply Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model and Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences into every lesson.  Bronfenbrenner’s Model illustrates the importance of social influence in knowledge construction whereas Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences highlights the different mediums in which students learn and are successful.  Finally different abilities, (such as literacy) and backgrounds (such as Indigenous students) are incorporated into each lesson through my use of the James Cook University’s School of Indigenous Studies 8 Ways Model and Literacy Learning Cycle.  The 8 ways model is basically the Quality Teaching Framework revised for indigenous students, and has a high focus on socially explored and culturally significant learning.  The Literacy Learning Cycle is a prime strategy that I implement to develop effective communication skills.  The Literacy Learning Cycle can apply to any historical content or source based analysis which breaks down and develops literacy skills for students and can be used at any stage of literacy development.  Conclusively, the behavioural management strategies I implement in my classroom are always consistent, fair and always on top of misbehaviour.



2. How would you go about planning a unit of work, and how would you know if your teaching of the unit was effective?

In planning a unit of work I essentially work on Outcomes Based Education principles and “Design Backwards”.  I first and foremost work with the NSW history syllabus to determine what are the essential outcomes for all students and what I want them to be able to do successfully at the end of the learning experience (whether a lesson or unit).  My units target the Professional Teaching Standards Element 3 and 4 by making sure formal and informal assessments are planned and linked to learning experiences.  Informal assessment strategies involve discussion, group and paired work and problem solving which incorporate effective communication and discussion between the students and I.  Formal Assessment strategies utilise a broad range of student skills that link to the learning outcomes expressed in syllabus documents.  From both formal and informal assessments feedback is given to students both in detail and promptly.  To assess whether my pedagogy and the unit were effective I apply the Reflective Teaching Cycle and Framework.  Firstly I can assess the unit’s success by the results of the assessment.  If the students performed poorly I need to investigate the reasons why.  Secondly, the feedback to students will highlight how I need to target and change the unit so that student difficulty and issues are amended.  Finally I as a teacher I need to engage in Practical and Critical reflection.  Practical reflection means that I proactively reassess the underlying goals, concerns, principles and practices which govern my pedagogy.  Furthermore, Critical reflection means that I assess and then incorporate the moral and social issues beyond the school into my classroom, content and pedagogy.  Analysis and application of these four aspects of reflection illustrates the weaknesses and strengths of the unit and my pedagogy.




3. How do you see your role as a member of a professional team?

First and foremost I see myself as an integrated, assertive and proactive teacher and member of a professional team.  Furthermore I see my role and responsibility as a teacher to extend beyond that of the History faculty, but into the school and wider community.  I foresee that as a new teacher my role in planning and programming may be requested or expected because of the enthusiasm or value it may provide to the faculty, school and or community.  I believe that the purpose of school is to educate and equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to become successful and happy members of society.  This principle of lifelong learning also applies to my pedagogy, as I understand that my role as a teacher and my cohort of students and the historical content itself will develop and change on a yearly basis.  Key features which will help in the academic growth of students are the incorporation of both parents and the wider community into the schooling process.  This is specifically critical to Indigenous students as the community has a responsibility to the welfare and education of children.  A prime example where parents and the community can be integrated into the educative process   is in the development of an historical unit which looks at Indigenous peoples and their perspective.  This involvement can extend to social days or school excursions where persons from the community are given opportunities to converse and explore content to help improve student’s learning network.



4. Please outline your reasons for wanting to become a teacher in NSW public schools.

The reason  why I want to become a teacher in NSW public schools is purely selfish.  I am passionate about exploring and analysing historical content and working with others to create new knowledge and understanding about History.  Moreover, I find working with staff that are like-minded and motivated an enjoyable experience and workplace.  I have found in my limited experience, that although some students do not always understand the importance or significance of history to their studies, if I create an enthusiastic, safe and good-humoured classroom environment, that behavioural issues are minimised.  On the other hand, I have found that working with students from years 7 to 12 extremely gratifying which has been uncommon in my other experiences in Hospitality, Fitness and Retail.  My decision to become a teacher was influenced by the fortunate experience I had coaching a team of 16 year olds when I was in my first year of University.  The impact that both the players had on me, and I had on them, where challenging yet memorable.  This continued into my first and second practicums where I realised that with a lot of work, patience, and humility the struggles and challenges that both the students and I faced were overwhelmingly outweighed by the positive, successful and unexpected satisfaction of the experience.   This is the reason why I changed degrees early on from early childhood, to secondary education specialising in History.  The active and engaging nature of High School students and the content I work with make teaching much more enjoyable and appealing.


5. Please indicate any co curricular areas in which you have qualifications, experience or abilities that would assist you in your role as a teacher. Examples could include sport coaching, performance skills (in drama, music or dance), outdoor education, first aid, information technology skills, youth leadership skills or other interests and hobbies.

Experiences that I have had which would assist in my role as a teacher would be firstly, Coaching both adolescents and peers since 2005.  The nature in which this experience has changed my perception of teaching, the skills to resolve conflict and expanded my degree of patience.  My role at _____  has expanded beyond coaching and into club administration, where it was my responsibility to organise not only financial issues such as sponsorship and the kiosk, but to administration in conversing with _________ District Soccer Association.  This experience assists in my role as a teacher as I understand the difficulties yet responsibilities which go hand in hand with trying to bring the community into the school and the classroom.  Furthermore, I understand the importance, yet difficulty of raising money and finding sponsorship from local businesses.  Alternatively I believe that my experience as a State Soccer representative and Northern NSW Futsal representative is also beneficial to my role as a teacher.  I have had some incredible teachers and coaches during my representative experiences which I pro-actively try to emulate inside and out of the classroom.  The nature of sport has taught me valuable lessons regarding people, relationships and success, most of which has been extremely positive.  My further experiences with sport extend to my fortunate contact with the _________.  The experience that I had with both where specifically structured for their sports, but also spoke and addressed issues such as nutrition, exercise, communication and leadership.  I believe that this training has further developed my constitution as a person and as a teacher.  I feel that being exposed to an elite and professional level of sports such as _______________ have improved my confidence, communication skills, the ability to construct and maintain strong relationships and overall become more valuable to a school beyond the history faculty.  My previous employment at _________ has resulted in the development of many skills which translate into the classroom and school.  I have worked in both the Gym and the Sport Centre which has required that I look after and monitor umpires and administrative staff.  The experience was not always easy, and dealing with frustrated or injured consumers is not always simple.  Being one of the youngest on staff managing the Indoor Soccer required that I use initiative, leadership and organisational skills to stay on top of umpires, keeping them proficient, anticipating areas or situations which may spark conflict, and addressing concerns of customers.  Whilst at ________, I was able to begin my own business and run it out of _____on a weekend.  _________ was an online Indoor Soccer competition which ran for one season.  The skills and time needed to build and update the website, market and advertise the competition, and finally run, umpire and maintain the business was intense but enjoyable.  The skill and qualifications I learned during that period were how to create, plan, pitch and market a business, acquire information technology skills such as Web Design and to effectively communicate with consumers and staff.  This experience is by far the most beneficial to my teaching specifically because I now develop most of my lessons for year 11 and 12 students to have an online counterpart at  These online lessons are really for revision and offer more background knowledge via text, audio and visual sources which further develop and extend student learning beyond classroom hours.  Finally my St. John’s First Aid certificate which has since expired and the completion of my Bronze Medallion at ________ have been influential in providing me with the experience, qualifications and confidence to aid and assist students who are injured or in life threatening situations.  The culture of the ________ and my time spent as a Surf Life Saver was extremely positive.  I developed my skills as a communicator, took on huge responsibilities and sacrificed my own spare time at such a young age.  This experience illustrates that as a teacher I understand the roles and responsibilities extend beyond the classroom and even the school.  I am proactive and dedicated to everything I apply myself too and realise that my future as a teacher is not just a job but a lifestyle choice.



15 Responses to “DET Interview Questions”

  1. Thank you for being so helpful. These are great to read and have taken a lot of my interview anxiety away.
    Much appreciated.

  2. Thank you so much for this. Amazing post. I am sure it will help me a lot.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to put this site together. I am sure you have reached many individuals who are in the same anxious boat. I know you’ve alleviated a great deal of my stress and anxiety. God bless and thanks again 🙂

  4. Thank you soooo much!!! Hopefully these questions are IT and nothing else comes up to surprise me… ;-] lol

  5. This has helped me so much – not in the way of copy-pasting but in giving me confidence in my own thoughts for the interview. Thankyou.

  6. Thank you from me too. This has really helpful. Always great to see how others are approaching it, and there doesn’t seem to be a anything much else like this out there . This really helped me get into my preparation. Thanks for your take on the answers and the links. Really good stuff.

    I just finished my interview and it was almost an anticlimax. No where near as bad as I imagined. I was probably over-prepared, but I guess that is a good thing.

  7. thanks so much – i have my interview next week and you’ve put me at ease a little.

  8. thanks alot for the guide!! musch appreciated ^ ^

  9. Thank you for sharing and giving advice on how one should answer the questions. As an external student, I don’t interact much with other students and find it hard to get advice on matters such as these. Thanks again.

  10. Thank you. Very comprehensive and has given me a lot of food for thought; a banquet in fact!

  11. This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep a
    reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was
    almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!
    ) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  12. thank you so much, this is what I was prepared for but really helped

  13. This is extremely helpful. Thank you so much for offering up so much info!!! Super relevant. It also made me feel confident for my interview. You’re the best 😀

  14. Thanks for posting these but it did kinda freak me out a bit… too much to take in..

    I just finished my interview and pretty much they just asked how I meet the 7 Elements and had one question to do with that elelment. So really if you just look at the elements and think of logical questions that go with that then you don’t really even need to “study” the answers are already in your brain..

    wish that I only looked at the elements because I only really needed to say maybe 4 things to do with how I meet them.

  15. ӏt’s aan amazing post for all the web visitors; they will obtain benefit
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