My CELTA course was exceptional. The whole experience more than surpassed my expectations, and I came away with heaps of ideas and confidence. In fact, I gained so much from the course that I ended up passing the DipTESOL barely 2 years later.
I took the course at International House Budapest. I’ll probably sing their praises in every CELTA post I write, but they deserve it. They had a great set up, the trainers were brilliant, the input sessions were heaps of fun, support was there whenever you needed it, their team of qualified teachers were great to observe, etc. I could go on.
Anyway, I’m hoping to write a few posts about what I gained from the course, as regards how this knowledge has benefitted me in my profession so far. To start with, here’s what I consider to be the most indispensable tool I learnt during my 4 weeks in Hungary…
I have the dubious honour of having never used a textbook in my teaching career to date. Well, tell a lie. I used one during my first 4 week summer school, but the students barely had any lessons. I also used National Geographic’s ‘Life’ textbook for about 3 weeks with an adult class last year but it prompted so much discussion that we only got through about one unit.
I won’t go into the reasons why I haven’t used textbooks, it’s irrelevant. What is has meant though is that I’m no stranger to devising a lesson from scratch.
During the CELTA we had a good few input sessions on how to plan lessons. We were introduced to a set of ‘lesson frameworks’, which gave us an outline of how to structure our lessons, and what structure might be best for teaching each skill (i.e. reading, speaking, etc).
In varying detail, the course covered these lesson frameworks:
- Presentation, Practice, Production (PPP)
- Test, Teach, Test
- Text-based presentation
- Task-based learning methods
- Receptive skills lessons
- Writing lessons
- Speaking lessons
(If you’ve stumbled across this post whilst preparing for the CELTA then I recommend a quick google of some terms above)
IH Budapest provided me with a training booklet that gave a run-down of how to construct a lesson in each format, for example:
Receptive skills lessons (Reading, Listening)
Orientate students to the text
Gist task – set a task where students must show general understanding of the text
Pre-teach vocabulary – teach students any vocabulary needed for the main task
Detail (main) task – set a task to look at the text in greater detail
Follow-up activity – usually a speaking activity (e.g. discussion) based on themes in the text
I studied some of these lesson frameworks in a lot more detail during my diploma. Despite this, there is no specific document from my diploma course that sits on my desk every day as an essential resource for planning.
That booklet from IH is next to me every day and is almost permanently open on the ‘lesson frameworks’ page. The more confident I’ve become as a teacher, the more little stages I add in (if I feel it’s necessary). But it’s that booklet which helps me get my head around planning, and those two pages specifically have been worth the course fee as far as I’m concerned.
If you’re fresh off the course and feel anxious about planning and organising lessons, my big tip is this: LOOK OVER YOUR NOTES FROM THE CELTA. They might be more beneficial than you think.
Categories: CELTA tips
This is good to know, Pete – I am halfway through Week 1 of my CELTA and I am already convinced it’s been money well spent!
Thanks also for the tip for receptive skills – my TP 2 tomorrow is on gist & detailed reading, and I was wondering at what point to slot in the new vocabulary, so thanks!
Hey! Cheers for commenting! Best of luck with the course. It’s great to hear from somebody doing the CELTA at present, hope your TP2 goes alright. Regarding the stages of the lesson, some people say different (e.g. this website http://www.englishisapieceofcake.com/how-to-teach-esl.html). Anyway, if you have any questions or want to ask anything about the course just let me know, I’m more than happy to help.
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Thanks very much indeed! Today we receive our first assignment (the Focus on the Learner one I think) and our second batch of TP Points, which I imagine will be much less spoon-fed than this week…so I may well be back with questions 😉
Thanks again for an interesting post!
ya its really nice article…..thanks for this,
Thanks for this post and others, they’re really helpful! I’ve only just started teaching this year and work for an ngo in South America. At the moment I am working on basic structure LPs for each of the classes, a kind of format ranging from LP structure to CM. It’s difficult to give our classes structure because of the coming and going of volunteers, hence why I’m trying to form some kind of basis. Sorry, this has turned into a longer message than I meant to write! I just wanted to say thank you for posting all this helpful info, and to let you know that a tiny school in Peru will be using your tips, probably for years to come! 🙂
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Awesome, thanks so much for taking the time to message. That’s made my day 🙂 let me know if there are any topics you want me to write about, I’ll try and think of some ideas for you. All the best!
Fantastic! I completed my CELTA but I always struggle with lesson plans. I have applied for DELTA, any ideas on where I could find the lesson frameworks?
I’m preparing for CELTA and often finding myself on your website. I’ve bookmarked pages to refer to throughout, and quite possibly beyond! Thought I’d let you know and want to say thanks for putting the time into this!
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Thanks Karli! 🙂 Best of luck with the course, let me know how you do