In it for the learners!

I’m sorry to say that EFL teaching is not going to make you a millionaire! Having said that, most of us do not do it (just) for the money but get huge satisfaction from helping our learners. It seems obvious, therefore, that these learners should be at the forefront of our minds when planning and delivering lessons. Indeed, on the CELTA course, one of the criteria for a Pass A is that the candidate has a very good awareness of their learners but what exactly do we need to know about them and why?

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Teaching unplugged revisited: A Scott Thornbury webinar

On LinkedIn last week I spotted a series of webinars by Delta Publishing called “Speaking Globally”. The webinars included speakers such as David Crystal, Nicky Hockly and Scott Thornbury so I decided to sign up for what I could fit into my teaching schedule and Tuesday early evening found me sitting comfortably on my sofa with my laptop.

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I have seen Scott Thornbury speak several times on the topic of Dogme teaching but if it’s new to you, here are the basic principles:

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CELTA Complaints

Got a complaint about your CELTA Course? This post may help you to save unnecessary heartache….

I recently read a complaint from a CELTA trainee who had just finished their course. I feel a couple of things that came up need to be addressed here, to ensure future trainees don’t make the same mistakes as this individual did.

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Don’t shoot the messenger!

Remember that anything your tutor is telling you to do is taken from the CELTA syllabus, we tutors find ourselves repeating some things more than we would like because some trainees find it difficult to believe that particular criteria are important to incorporate in their teaching.

When you embark on a CELTA course, you should understand the criteria by which you are being assessed. You must accept that you have to show that you are capable in ALL criteria to be able to pass the course. You may not like some of the criteria but you still have to show you can do it. Resisting is not going to help you pass.

NB The CELTA criteria will be available for you to read and understand at any time, if you are unsure what the criteria are, ask your tutor.

Jump through the hoops!

Sometimes we have to jump through hoops to reach our ultimate goal. Presumably you have decided to do a CELTA course because you want to learn how to be a good teacher of English as a foreign language? If this is the case, you must be willing to learn methods which experts before you have developed. That is not to say that you can’t adapt these methods to suit you and your style of teaching once you have passed the course but if you want the CELTA certificate you’ve got to do what Cambridge English Language Assessment requires you to do. Resist at your peril!

Don’t let it fester!

All good CELTA tutors are approachable and their aim is to help you to pass the course. There is no point in waiting until the course is over and then feeling so disheartened that you feel the need to complain. If there is something you disagree with, approach your tutor to discuss it. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, your tutor will be able to explain why you are being asked to do something and will almost certainly be able to point out the specific criteria it relates to. If you don’t feel like you can approach one of the tutors, start by asking other trainees, perhaps they can help you. Maybe you will feel more comfortable talking to the other tutor or the Course Director, whatever you do, don’t keep it to yourself. Letting your grievances fester will lead only to your own suffering, talking to someone will almost certainly lighten your load.

Don’t bring everyone down with you!

Whilst it is important to air your grievances, please don’t try to rally the troops and get everyone on your side. By forcing other trainees to accept that you are right and the Tutors/Course Director/Cambridge English Assessment are wrong you are likely to alienate yourself. More often than not, other trainees will listen and agree with you just to shut you up. If you follow the advice above, you are sure to finish the course a lot happier than if you don’t.

Have you had any complaints about a course? When did you complain? What was the outcome?

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A Reading Skills Lesson Plan

Looking for ideas for a reading skills lesson?

I want to provide my students with practice in the reading subskills, what do I need to do to start planning?

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  1. Find a suitable text
  2. Come up with an idea to arouse interest
  3. Decide on which sub-skills practice the text would be suitable for
  4. Create the in-reading tasks
  5. Plan a suitable post-reading task
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CELTA Basics: Feedback

Looking back on some recent CELTA courses and thinking about trainees who have done well and those that have struggled, there is one thing that is particularly noticeable – being able to put feedback into practice quickly is key to doing well on the course. Let’s look at a couple of examples …

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A free Christmas EFL lesson – Online

Merry Christmas from TUGToC!

At around this time of year, I am always looking for a nice holiday lesson to send everyone off for their Christmas break, feeling warm and fuzzy inside. For the past couple of years I have been just about to jet off somewhere exotic for a few weeks to get away from the dreaded flu season. Unfortunately that won’t be the case this year.

Designed and Created by Emma Jones
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My Top Five ELT Tools

Whether you are teaching solely online or managing to combine your online lessons with some socially distanced, face to face teaching as I am, technology is where it’s at. My top five ELT tools change regularly depending on what I’ve read/ heard about recently but in no particular order here are my top 5 at the time of writing …

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Face-to-face v Online Teaching

Is there a difference between classroom teaching and online teaching?

At the beginning of March 2020 I wouldn’t have been qualified to write about teaching (English) online but with grim thanks to a pandemic I was forced into becoming au fait with the online world a lot quicker than I might have wanted to. Is there much of a difference?

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The Socially Distanced Classroom

Here in our CELTA Centre in Munich we are about to start our first fully face-to-face CELTA course since Covid-19 put us all into lockdown. Amanda and I have had to think carefully about how to do this safely for all involved.

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100% CELTA Online: Anything to Lose?

Many of you will have seen that Cambridge is offering the CELTA course fully online during these strange times, something which has never been possible before. So what are the advantages and disadvantages or is this a purely win-win situation?

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