3: The flexible CELTA
Three weeks in and I am still under the impression that a CELTA
course is an excellent career choice. Although our class of 16 has been reduced
to 13 with the level of intensity and commitment required being a little too
much for some, the majority of people on this course are finding it challenging
yet rewarding. Having a CELTA qualification is beneficial to all sorts of
vocations, top employers generally regard a year teaching EFL a positive way of
spending a gap year. Transferable skills such as the ability to give
presentations and time-management are welcome editions, also English language
skills and inter-cultural sensitivity can only add to career prospects.
This week has been very tough (hence the late diary posting!), not so
much in terms of new grammar or teaching techniques but just in the sheer
amount of hours dedicated to the course. Assignment 2 was due in on Thursday
(12th) and Assignment 3 due on Tuesday (17th) needed working on. I also had two
lessons to plan and one to deliver. This would normally be music to the ears of
an experienced EFL teacher but for us trainees its a large workload!
concentrated on learners speech today with the emphasis on phonology. I
found this very interesting, we also learned a little of how certain
nationalities are prone to certain pronunciation mistakes (e.g. Japanese often
confuse l with r). Swan and Smiths Learner English is an invaluable aid in this
gave my first hour-long lesson today which went relatively well. I was teaching
the same upper-intermediate standard group which I had been from the start of
the course and I feel this helped me relax. I had developed a good rapport with
this group and, throughout the lesson while I stalled and paused to read notes,
they stayed quiet and didnt complain once! This is not something I expect
to continue throughout my TEFL career!
Wednesday During my lunch hour
today I met with my one-to-one student for assignment 3. She is an Italian
student who needs to improve her English to progress in her work (she is an
on-line education tutor) over the next few days I had to evaluate her speaking,
listening, reading and writing.
Thursday I handed in
assignment 2 this morning. This assignment concentrated on self-evaluation. It
was helpful to highlight my own areas of weakness so I could try to address
them when teaching next. Try being the
Today we looked at the importance of teaching materials. This session
made me realise that the worksheets I had been giving out prior to this needed
to be a little more professional! Very useful suggestions were given for what
type of teaching aids are helpful and effective, and what type may be fun for
the class but arent quite so productive.
The students who I have
taught so far all seem to think that their speaking is the skill they want to
work on the most. They want to be able to have fluent, everyday conversations
with native English speakers. When teaching, it is easy to start worrying that
the activities arent good enough or that your grammar tasks are too
challenging. Throughout this it is important to remember that the students are
learning and improving all of the time just by listening and speaking with you.
As EFL teacher you are a model for how sentences should be structured, how
words should be pronounced and how intonation is important to convey
More than half way through I am still enjoying it, and proving
to be successful (relatively!) in all areas of the course. I have been advised
that next week is the most intense of the CELTA course so it looks like another
week of hard work!
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