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.