I often read or hear from trainees that their aim is to achieve a Pass A when doing CELTA. So what exactly is the best way to go about this?
To my mind, the key to achieving an A is to stop focusing on getting an A! I find it frustrating when trainees think this is the most important part of becoming a teacher. No, the most important part of becoming a teacher is focusing on the students. Often when trainees stop worrying about grades and instead concentrate on making their lessons student-centred, their lessons see a vast improvement.
So what is the difference between a Pass, Pass B and Pass A at CELTA? For a clear outline of the differences between the grades please see The CELTA Grading System Unravelled. You should also bear in mind that most employers are interested in whether you have a CELTA certificate rather than what grade you got. In 23 years of teaching, I’ve never been asked this at interview!
Of course there are some things you can do to ensure you come out with the best grade you possibly can. Here are my top tips:
- Be organised – make sure you hand everything in on time and be aware what you need to do each day.
- Make your students the main focus of your lesson.
- React positively to feedback from tutors, if you are resistant to feedback, you won’t improve.
- When preparing a language focused lesson, make sure you can answer “why” to each question in an exercise.
- Try and put yourself in the learners’ shoes. Ask yourself how you would feel or react.
- Think about times you have been in the position of a language learner. What helped you to learn?
- Be creative – don’t be afraid of moving away from the course book but don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
- For each activity you select, think about whether it contributes to you achieving your lesson aims.
- Predict which language items the learners will have difficulties with and do a thorough language analysis of these items.
- Show you can recognise the good and weaker areas of your lesson in your self-evaluation. A self-evaluation that is over-critical or that only focuses on the positives tells your tutors a lot!
What would you add to my list? For more tips and advice on how to do well on your CELTA course, read The Ultimate Guide to CELTA available on Amazon.