CELTA tip: language analysis assignment

The language analysis assignment is quite straightforward. It’s in two parts, grammar and vocabulary. You’re given a particular grammar structure or lexical items, and you have to analyse it and explain how you would go about teaching it. That’s about it really. It might sound simple, but that doesn’t make it easy!

During the course you’ll learn how to introduce target language, more than likely in this order:

Meaning, Form, Pronunciation, Appropriacy

For both grammar and vocabulary items, we were told to lay the analysis out like this:

a) Analysis of meaning (say what it means!)

b) Describe how you would convey the meaning

c) Check students understanding

d) Highlight the form

e) mention any phonological features of the target language

Here are some general tips:

  • For conveying the meaning of a grammar point, you should think about putting the target language in a context. For a word or phrase, think about how ‘concrete’ the word is – you might be able to just show a picture of it, draw it, mime it, etc. It might not be as complicated as you think.
  • To check understanding of a grammar point, timelines might be useful. Also, use concept checking questions (CCQs). It’s worth getting in the habit of using these as you need them often when you’re teaching. Don’t worry, I’m still bad at thinking of them on the spot, and I’ve been teaching 5 years!
  • ‘highlighting the form’ might include giving collocations – words that commonly go alongside the target language. E.g. if you were teaching the word ‘promise’, it might be relevant to teach ‘break a promise’ and ‘keep a promise’
  • Features of pronunciation which might be worth teaching include contractions (I am = I’m) and weak forms, among other things.
  • Whichever target language you are asked to analyse for this assignment, the level of the students should be considered very carefully. Make sure you’re not complicating things by using difficult vocabulary, grade your language appropriately.
  • You might have to mention ‘appropriacy’ when you teach a language item. This means whether it is ok to use the item in certain contexts (e.g. formal/informal situations)

I’m sure you’ll get plenty of advice from your tutors on how to do this task. Still, here’s an example of how I did one grammar point and one vocabulary item. You can download my full assignment if you want to see how it looked. The word limit for this assignment was 1000 words which I’d say is plenty for a thorough analysis of each item.

(note: V1 = present simple, V2 = past simple, V3 = past participle)

Example grammar answer:

Target structure: she’s just gone out

a) Analyse the meaning

she’s just gone out’

She was at home (i.e. somewhere). Now, she’s not at home. She only left home a short time ago.

b) Convey the meaning

At ten past six, I arrived at Lady Gaga’s house. I knocked on the door [action]. Her mum opened the door.

 I said to her mum, “is Lady Gaga at home?”

Her mum said, “sorry, Lady Gaga is not here”.

I said, “Oh, er… me and Lady Gaga have a date at six o’clock. ”

Her mum said, “You are late. Lady Gaga was here at 6pm, but she’s just gone out”

I cried.

c) Checking meaning

Is Lady Gaga at home now?                  No

Was she at home at six o’clock?           Yes

So, she left home a long time ago?      No

Timeline

present perfect

(use the above to aid explanation, showing the event happened in the recent past)

d) Form

Present Perfect

She        has          just      gone      out

S        +   has / have   +    Adv        V3

e) Phonology

(bold shows stress)

She’s just gone out

with  ‘out’, this makes a phrasal verb – ‘gone out’. With phrasal verbs, the stress is on the preposition

Example vocabulary answer:

Target word: Library (elementary)

a) Meaning analysis

A room or building where you can borrow books (DVDs, etc), read, study, etc.

b) Convey meaning

library

Display the picture above. Elicit if possible, or model the word.

c) Checking understanding

Is this a book shop?      No

Can I take the books?     Yes

Forever?                          No

Can I read here?             Yes

In here can I TALK LIKE THIS!!!!!!! (loudly…)   No

d) Form: Library is a noun. It is countable (‘library’ becomes ‘libraries’). ‘Library book’ is a common collocation.

e) Phonology: The stress is on the first syllable. The word is sometimes spoken as only two syllables (i.e. ‘lai-bri’, not ‘lai-brer-ri’). Although not incorrect, it might be best if the teacher chooses one spoken form and is consistent.

A final tip on this assignment. You might find that it takes a while to analyse each item thoroughly. Don’t worry. It does get easier with practice. Make the most of the time you spend on this assignment and really think about the process you are undertaking – it will become commonplace in your lesson planning. Good luck with the assignment!

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15 comments

    1. Hi Natalia. Write the assignment wherever you feel comfortable. You might benefit from doing it at school as you could run your ideas past an experienced teacher and they might give you some tips. Plus, there may be a library at school with grammar reference books which might help.

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  1. Please help. I have the celta in 4 weeks and I can understand grammar and teaching methods but I cannot for the life of me get the word stress write. NONE OF IT!!! help tips please??

    I can do it when I know someone is wrong but I cannot write it on paper or underline words when people ask me to.

    Like

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