Written Assignments: What they are and how to pass them!

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©️The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

On the CELTA course, there are four written assignments. Read on to find out what is required and how to make sure you pass them- if you fail more than one you will automatically fail the course, they are not to be taken lightly!

Each centre tends to write their own written assignments so they all differ. However, Cambridge stipulates the topics which are as follows:

  • one assignment focuses on adult learners and their learning contexts e.g. You write about the students you are teaching, think about the errors they make and what you could do to help them with those errors.
  • one assignment involves work on the language systems of English e.g. You analyse certain structures or language items, thinking about the use, form & phonological aspects of that structure.
  • one assignment involves work on language skills e.g. You write about reading skills and think about activities you could use to practise the students’ sub-skills in reading.
  • one assignment involves reflection on the following areas:

– the candidate’s own classroom teaching

– observation of peers

– observation of experienced teachers

– identification of action points e.g. You write about good teaching and your strengths and weaknesses in the classroom.

In your written assignments you need to also show you:

  • are familiar with key ELT terminology
  • are sensitive to relevant aspects of professional development
  • can relate ELT practice to theory
  • can write at a level of accuracy that does not jeopardise clarity and comprehensibility, and which reflects knowledge of discourse, grammar, punctuation and spelling

(Taken from Cambridge English CELTA Administration Handbook)

Written assignments must be 750-1,000 words long. A centre might choose to join two assignments together, creating one written assignment with the word count of two. The good thing about written assignments on the CELTA course is that you get two chances for each assignment. Once you have handed it in, it is marked and then if anything is missing or incorrect, your tutor will give you feedback and tell you what needs improving and you can have another go.

So where do trainees go wrong? In my experience as a CELTA tutor, trainees tend to make mistakes in the same areas. Use the following list as a checklist when writing your own assignments:

  • Proofread your assignment or get someone else to proofread it for you. This is just as relevant for native speakers as non-native speakers.
  • Refer to different sources. Your centre needs to see you have used references.
  • Include concrete examples wherever they are required.
  • Read the rubric (instructions) carefully and make lots of notes during the written assignment preparation sesssion.
  • Do not write your assignment until after the relevant preparation session.
  • Try and get on top of assignments over the weekends if you are doing an intensive CELTA course.
  • Make sure you stick to the word limit. Being succinct is key!
  • Do the observation tasks during teaching practice thoroughly. This will ensure you have notes to base your assignments on.

Do you have any tips to add?


Author: Amanda Momeni

A CELTA tutor, English language tutor and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

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