Grammar level for CELTA

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Grammar level for CELTA

Unread postby Matthew » 22 Jun 2009, 21:47

Hello all. Can anyone help?

I have a question that probably has been asked a hundred times, but I can’t seem to find an answer anywhere.

I have been accepted on a CELTA course which I start in five weeks. I am really starting to panic because no matter how much I study grammar, it doesn’t seem to be sinking in. I obviously have a basic grasp of grammar or I wouldn’t have been accepted on the course, but I feel my grammar is the main thing that is letting me down.

1. Can anyone give me an idea of what level of grammar is expected for a CELTA course? I know this may have an answer along the lines of “how long is a piece of string”, but there seems to be so many different things to learn and I don’t know what to concentrate on! I feel I may be stretching myself too thinly in my study.

2. Can anyone recommend any good grammar resources on the web? I am currently using http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/ . Has anyone used the Cactus TEFL Online English Language Awareness Course? (http://www.cactustefl.com/ela/) It is expensive, but if it is recommended…

Any help would be most appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!
Matthew
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Re: Grammar level for CELTA

Unread postby Alex Case » 27 Jun 2009, 08:50

Are you a native or non-native speaker of English? If the former, ask the CELTA provider you are considering for a recommendation for a grammar book and the pre-interview task, and that is basically all you have to know. Once you're on the course, there will also be a pre-course task that will more than prepare you for day one if you do it by referring to that same grammar book. Obviously, any other knowledge you can bring to the course will help, but learning the phonemic script, for example, is just as useful as learning extra grammar. Ditto for reading up on some basic teaching techniques, learning some TEFL jargon, or studying a language in a class or self-study to experience it from the learner's point of view

Here's an article on the matter I prepared earlier:

http://edition.tefl.net/articles/traini ... for-celta/
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Re: Grammar level for CELTA

Unread postby systematic » 28 Jun 2009, 01:01

These books are considered by many to be among the 'Bibles' of teaching English as a foreign language. You can get more information from the publishers' web sites.

Grammar:

*Murphy, R. (2000) Essential Grammar in Use Cambridge University press ISBN 0521559286

Eastwood, E. (2000) Oxford Practice Grammar Oxford University Press ISBN 0194313697

Thornbury, S. (2003) How to Teach Grammar Longman ISBN 052339324

Teacher training:

*Harmer J. (2001) The Practice of English Language Teaching Longman ISBN 0582403855

Ur, Penny (2003) A Course in Language Teaching Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521449944
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: Grammar level for CELTA

Unread postby Matthew » 29 Jun 2009, 00:25

Hi Alex. Thanks for the response.

Are you a native or non-native speaker of English?


I am a native speaker, although kind of shocked at how little I know about grammar!!! Although I must be at some sort of 'level' to get on the course.

Once you're on the course, there will also be a pre-course task that will more than prepare you for day one if you do it by referring to that same grammar book.


Halfway through it at the moment, some of it is straight forward to me, some of it (e.g. phonology) is a bit difficult, which I suppose will change as time goes on.

...learning the phonemic script, for example, is just as useful as learning extra grammar. Ditto for reading up on some basic teaching techniques, learning some TEFL jargon, or studying a language in a class or self-study to experience it from the learner's point of view


I posted my question on another TEFL board and I got a similar response regarding learning the IPA chart. I am currently going through Harmer's 'How to Teach English' and have three years part time teaching of evening classes. It is the retention of the terminology which I seem to be struggling with. All the basic grammatical terminology from, for example, the University of Cambridge TKT glossary (http://courses.britishcouncil.org/pub/tkt/mod/glossary/view.php?id=368&mode=cat&hook=17) is understandable when I read it, but ask me what something is and I can only give a very basic definition of it. Currently finished a year (one night a week) doing Japanese (my chosen destination) which I found incredibly useful being 'on the other side'.

I suppose like most study, the more I study, the more retention 'sticks' (I hope), but I just felt unsure regarding what areas to concentrate on. I feared that I had to turn up to my CELTA (four weeks from now) with a memory recall of dozens of grammatical terms and sentence structures! I suppose (correct me if I'm wrong) my understanding will increase as I put what I know into practice.

Here's an article on the matter I prepared earlier:


Thanks for the link. I had already read this several weeks ago when I Googled a query about the CELTA course. Came near the top of my search results. Your article may be becoming required pre-course CELTA reading! ;) :D

Thanks again for your time Alex.
Matthew
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Re: Grammar level for CELTA

Unread postby Matthew » 29 Jun 2009, 00:51

Thanks 'systematic' for your reply.

systematic wrote:These books are considered by many to be among the 'Bibles' of teaching English as a foreign language.

Murphy, R. (2000) Essential Grammar in Use Cambridge University press ISBN 0521559286

Harmer J. (2001) The Practice of English Language Teaching Longman ISBN 0582403855

Ur, Penny (2003) A Course in Language Teaching Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521449944


Someone else recommended me Murphy's 'Essential Grammar in Use' which I have just got out of my local library (although it is called 'English Grammar in Use' 3rd edition. Is it roughly the same thing?). I am finding this a lot more beneficial and digestible to me than Swan's 'Practical English Usage' which was on the recommended reading list. 'Practical English Usage' fills me with dread when I try to pick it up to study. Great for reference, but ties me up in knots when I try to memorize things from it. Don't know what to make of me finding the book aimed at the student more beneficial than the book aimed at the teacher! :!: :!: :D

I now have (and am reading) Harmer's 'How to Teach English' (2007) (which I hope is the new edition of the Harmer book you cite above!) I got the Penny Ur book out of the library a while back which I found to be much more difficult to process than the Harmer book. I suppose that is the issue I had, I looked through The Ur book and the Swan book and thought to myself "am I supposed to know most of this for when I turn up for my CELTA?!". Retention seems to be my enemy at the moment.

Anyway, now I know that I am on the 'right track' with my reading, I can now 'get down' to it. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Many thanks for your time 'systematic'. Much appreciated.
Matthew
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Re: Grammar level for CELTA

Unread postby Alex Case » 29 Jun 2009, 02:14

The Murphy that you have is a version for higher level students than Essential Grammar in Use, and therefore takes you further but might be a lot to deal with all at once. In contrast, How to Teach English is more of a beginner teachers' guide than The Practice of..., and therefore a much better pre-reading guide. In fact, I think the most recent editions of The Practice of... go too far for a CELTA and are more suitable for someone with a couple of years of post cert experience and thinking about doing the DELTA someday

You are right that Practical English Usage is only for reference and not for reading through
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Re: Grammar level for CELTA

Unread postby Matthew » 30 Jun 2009, 20:29

Thanks Alex.

I will check my library for Essential Grammar in Use (although I probably end up buying it anyway).

Thanks for all your help.
Matthew
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