CELTA Course: Week 10

Read about Week 9 before you read this post.

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MondayD.’s and my first 60-minute lessons. D. taught for the first hour and his was a grammar lesson. He did a thorough job teaching present perfect and was calm even in the face of some forgotten materials and no CD for his listening (he had G. and Ir. read the tapescript). I taught second, a skills lesson. My focus was healthy lifestyles (of course!), and I led the class through two reading tasks, a “lexis race” (teams race to match words/phrases to their definitions), and a speaking task in which they surveyed their classmates about their healthy habits in order to find out who was the healthiest in the class. For the first time since we switched over to the pre-intermediate group, I was satisfied with my lesson. There are a few things I need to work on, and one of the reading tasks could’ve been harder, but overall I was really happy with the lesson and had an adrenaline rush for about an hour afterwards. (It was above standard, in case you hadn’t figured that out yet.) Ben’s action points for my next (and last!) lesson are: more collocation options; less lockstep by inserting little pairwork stages to help organize the board and break things up; re-pair fast finishers; elicit and board ideas and useful language before a speaking task.

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TuesdayBobby led a really interesting input session on literacy. We started with an activity: posted around the room were sentences in different languages. First we had to identify all the languages, then we had to take one language in the Latin alphabet and one in another alphabet. Ir. and I ended up with German and Korean. Then we had to copy each sentence three times: 1) normally, 2) from right to left, and 3) with our non-dominant hand. This was to make the points that: A) it takes time to learn to write a new alphabet (I certainly understand that from learning Ukrainian/the Cyrillic alphabet!), so we should bear that in mind when teaching students whose first language does not use the Latin alphabet; and B) it’s hard to write in any language if a person is lacking literacy skills in general. We went on to talk about how to be aware of individual student needs when teaching basic literacy — as some of us might end up doing at some point. We went over some activities for word-level, sentence-level, and text-level reading. It was an eye-opening session and it really makes one appreciate being literate.

Bobby also went over Assignment 4 (the last one!) with us. It’s called “Lessons from the Classroom” and is basically a personal reflection assignment. We have to write about what we’ve learned from the CELTA course, our strengths and weaknesses, how to improve and how to continue developing professionally as English-language teachers. It’ll be fun to write and won’t take long.

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Thursday: S. and A. taught their first hour lessons. S. taught grammar: indirect questions and being polite. Her guided discovery was nice, if a little ambitious, so she barely had time for the final speaking task. But the students definitely understood the lesson’s grammar point, and that was S.’s main aim. A. taught a skills lesson about smoking. His reading tasks were beautifully paced and overall the lesson’s timing worked well — despite the fact that he’d hardly had any sleep for the past couple of nights thanks to a new baby at home.

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Only three more weeks of the course left! My final lesson is next week and we’ll have our last Saturday session, too.

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