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?

Free from Pixabay.com, No attribution required
Continue reading “In it for the learners!”

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.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

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:

Continue reading “Teaching unplugged revisited: A Scott Thornbury webinar”

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?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
  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
Continue reading “A Reading Skills Lesson Plan”

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 …

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Continue reading “My Top Five ELT Tools”

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?

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com
Continue reading “Face-to-face v Online Teaching”

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?

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com
Continue reading “100% CELTA Online: Anything to Lose?”

A Guide to Lesson Planning: Basic Stages

On our most recent CELTA course in Munich, some of the trainees seemed to have a problem with the stages a lesson should include so I’ve tried to break down the basic stages for different lesson types.

Continue reading “A Guide to Lesson Planning: Basic Stages”

CELTA Grading – not to standard

Worried about receiving a not to standard grade?

Have you taught a CELTA teaching practice lesson and the grade was not to standard (NTS)? Are you concerned as to what this might mean? Let me put your mind at ease.

Continue reading “CELTA Grading – not to standard”

How to prepare for your CELTA Course

Do everything you can to get ready for the CELTA course to ensure it is a good experience.

We often get asked by CELTA candidates what they should do to prepare for the course. This was one of the reasons we decided to write The Ultimate Guide to CELTA so of course our first answer is to buy the book but for those of you who can’t wait for the book to arrive here are some pointers to help you get started.

Continue reading “How to prepare for your CELTA Course”

Learning to Teach English by Peter Watkins – an alternative to Scrivener & Harmer?

When I did my CELTA back in 1997 (!) we used The Practice of English Language Teaching by Harmer as our coursebook. On our CELTA courses in Munich, we use Learning Teaching by Scrivener so when Learning to Teach English landed on my desk, I was interested to see whether it could hold its own against these two “classics”.

fullsizeoutput_46db

 

The second edition of Learning to Teach English published by Delta Publishing is designed as an introduction to teaching for those embarking on an initial teacher training course such as TKT, CELTA or Cert. TESOL. It inlcudes a DVD and is made up of 18 chapters and 8 appendices. The chapters cover a variety of topics such as Managing a Class or Developing Writing Skills. As I have a session on Teaching Vocabulary coming up on my current CELTA course, I decided to look at this chapter in a bit more detail. Here’s what the chapter consists of …

  • An explanantion of the importance of words.
  • Ways of presenting vocabulary. This includes 8 practical classroom examples that trainee teachers could use in their teaching practice. For each method suggested, there is an activity for the trainees to do. For instance, Classroom example 7The teacher uses the new word in context and the learners try to work out the meaning. For example the teacher says “The dog ran into the road and the driver had to swerve to miss it.”  The activity given to the trainee teacher is “How could you check the learners understood the meaning of swerve?” The commentary at the end of the unit gives the answer: The teacher could ask questions such as: Did the driver stop? No. Did they drive in a controlled way? No. Does “swerve” involve the brake or the steering wheel? The steering wheel. (These are known as concept checking questions)
  • A checklist of what the teacher needs to include when presenting lexis.
  • Ways of practising vocabulary with 5 classroom examples that trainees could try out.
  • Learners’ problems and their causes. This could be useful when trainees write their Focus on the Learner assignment.
  • A summary of the unit.
  • Commentary with answers and explanations to the tasks set.

The appendices cover a variety of topics such as basic grammar terminology, an activity bank, a needs analysis form and activities to accompany the demo lessons on the DVD.

The DVD itself contains a vocabulary, a grammar, a reading and a speaking lesson to observe. In addition to the lessons themselves there is a short interview with the teachers, here they give tips about teaching that particular type of lesson. The final section on the DVD is called “Advice for teachers” which includes tips such as:

  • be natural with your learners
  • teach with a context
  • observe colleagues teaching

So coming back to my upcoming input session on Teaching Vocabulary, there are plenty of ideas which CELTA trainees can employ when introducing new lexis in their classrooms, some of which they may not have thought about before. Watkins talks about a word bag which is something I often use for reviewing lexical items at the beginning of the next lesson. As the bag gets fuller, learners really have a sense of accomplishment when they see all the new lexical items they have met during the course. One idea in the book involves giving the learners some nouns from the bag and getting them to brainstorm adjectives and/ or verbs that collocate with each noun- a great way to expand their existing knowledge!

Although maybe not quite as detailed and visually not as appealing, all in all, I would say Learning to Teach English is a worthy competitor to Harmer or Scrivener and will certainly be a useful addition to our CELTA book cupboard. 

For more useful information about CELTA, take a look at The Ultimate Guide to CELTA available on Amazon.