Reflecting on your own teaching


On a CELTA course, you are expected to show you can reflect on your lessons; what went well as well as what you would do differently if you were to teach that lesson again. In fact one of the criteria Cambridge expects you to achieve is just that. As a CELTA tutor, I think there tend to be 4 types of self-evaluations – I wonder which one you would write??

Type A: Positive Pauline

Those of you who have read “The Ultimate Guide to CELTA” will know that we follow 4 trainees through their CELTA course. Positive Pauline didn’t make it into the book, however, she, along with those mentioned below, could well have been part of the course, she sits down after teaching and focuses only on the things that went well in the hope that the tutor didn’t notice the parts that were not quite so successful.

Type B: Pessimistic Pedro

Pessimistic Pedro is the complete opposite to Positive Pauline. The lesson was a “complete disaster”, he’s sure he didn’t achieve his aims, the students were bored and if he were to teach that lesson again he would do “everything” differently.

Type C: Irrelevant Iris

Irrelevant Iris picks up on a lot of points in her self-evaluation but instead of focusing on the meaty areas, she talks about the less important points. For example, Iris focuses on the “disaster” when she checked the answer to question 5 before question 4.  What she should have focused on and was much more relevant was the fact that she couldn’t clarify the difference between “much” and “many” when this was her target language.

Type D: Chilled-out Charlie

©The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

Chilled-out Charlie is one of the main characters in “The Ultimate Guide to CELTA”. He likes to take things easy so just writes one line for each section of his self-evaluation.

Clearly none of these characters are showing they can evaluate their lessons well. Your tutors will be looking for the following in your self-evaluation:

  • A balanced evaluation rather than focusing too heavily on what went wrong or only talking about what went well. By being overly negative, you are suggesting your lesson should be graded “not to standard”
  • A detailed evaluation rather than just one line for each section
  • That you can pick out what really matters unlike Irrelevant Iris
  • That you can evaluate not just “what” happened but “why” it happened
  • That you don’t just write what you think the tutor wants to hear!

Finally, your self-evaluations will play an important role when you come to writing your written assignment on evaluating your teaching (Lessons from the Classroom).

Have you decided which character you’re more likely to be?



Author: Amanda Momeni

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

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