initial teacher training

yazz

30 tips for developing teachers

Some teachers have clear direction when it comes to development. Others, like me, have always been a little bit lost. I found that once I finished my initial teacher training there wasn’t much support or guidance when it came to improving my skills, subject knowledge or knowledge of the industry. There was the odd teacher training session or peer observation, plus the occasional chat with a colleague, but for the most part I just had to get on with things. So, I did.

Taking control of your own development is the best thing you can do. Moreover, it’s easier than you think – it just takes a bit of interest and a bit of drive. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started. They’re mostly aimed at teachers fresh off a CELTA looking for inspiration, but some will be useful whatever your experience.

Note: Sketch (ELTexperiences) wrote a couple of similar posts on this when we were working together, so click here and here to see his ideas.

Documenting your progress

It’s said that for development to be successful it needs to be documented. Try these things to help:

  1. Keep a teaching journal

Record your thoughts and reflections on lessons – things that went well, things that didn’t, things to improve on, useful things you’ve read, self-evaluation tasks you’ve tried, etc. It will be a good thing to look back on, and might help you gather your thoughts.

  1. Start a blog

A ‘web log’ – it can be like a journal/diary anyway. The difference is that other people can see it. You can get feedback from others, useful tips and ideas. I started this one on wordpress.com. It only took me 10 minutes to set up and it’s free. I’ve motivated my colleague to do the same so you can see one that’s just starting out here. Please comment and keep him reflecting 🙂

  1. Add teacher development aims to your plans

This is a practical tip for lesson evaluation. At the end of a lesson, write down two things that went well, and two you could have improved on. Our CELTA YLX tutor called these ‘Glows and Grows’. Try and work on the points to improve in the next lesson. Writing these down somewhere is a great way to evaluate your progress. If you’re me, it’s also a great way to notice how many times you’ve had to focus on GIVING BETTER INSTRUCTIONS! AAARGH! (note: had a formal obs yesterday – guess what came up?!).

A framework of reference

  1. British Council Continuing Professional Development Framework

It’s useful to have a bit of guidance when it comes to professional development. Download this free document from the British Council. It’s a CPD framework highlighting various stages of development and key professional practices. It might help you recognise the areas you need to focus on. (more…)

brainless tales

How to write CELTA lesson plans

In her latest guest post, Nicky Salmon talks about how to write effective lesson plans on the CELTA/Trinity TESOL course.

What is a lesson plan?

On a CELTA/Trinity TESOL course a plan is made up of:

1.The procedure. This is what I will be referring to in this post. (See the example below, kindly included here with permission of Action English Language Training in Leeds.)

2.An analysis of any language –grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation features- that may be included in the lesson.

3.The materials.

 

Why do I need to write one?

When you are doing a CELTA or Trinity TESOL course, you will need to write lesson plans. Actually, the lesson plans are an important part of your assessment and you will need to file them in a portfolio together with feedback from your tutors.

(more…)

sick-teddy-bear

How to survive a CELTA course

In her second guest post, Nicky Salmon offers some useful tips for surviving an intensive 4-week CELTA training course.

The title might sound a bit dramatic, but a typical course is very intensive, especially if you have chosen the 4-week option.

Here are a few pieces of advice from past trainees and trainers. We ask trainees to write advice in the back of their portfolios for the next group. Below are some of their suggestions.

Advice from past trainees:

1. Eat and drink regularly. Don’t drink too much coffee or those energy drinks. It just makes you more nervous. Make time for lunch.

2.Make sure you have part of one day off at the weekend. You need to relax and do something else, even if it’s only for a few hours.survive 1

3.Spend 15-20 mins each day organising your file and all the paper you get.

4.Swap phone numbers and email addresses with your Teaching Practice (TP) team on the first day. They are your new family.

5.Read the feedback you get on a teaching practice lesson before you teach the next one.

6.Save everything on Dropbox and email lesson plans and materials to yourself. If there is a computer problem at your centre, the stress is enormous if you have to rewrite things just before you have to teach them.

7.Don’t be afraid of feedback to and from trainee colleagues after TP. It’s meant to be constructive.

8.Make sure you have a good night’s sleep on Sundays.

(more…)

students

How to become an English teacher

In this great guest post, Nicky Salmon offers some really useful tips for how to get into English language teaching. Nicky is a CELTA trainer, and will be happy to answer any of your questions or comments on this post.

The big decisions.

You have decided that you’d like to teach English to speakers of other languages. Possibly you would like to travel and teach in other countries. What next?

Step 1. Choose a course.

If you don’t already have a teaching qualification, don’t worry. There are a number of excellent Pre-Service teaching qualifications to choose from. You need a minimum of two A2 level passes or equivalent.

Choose from well-known and well-established providers.

Cambridge and Trinity College London are the most well-known, the best and the most popular. Have a long look at their web sites and read about the courses, the content and any reviews.

cambridge english trinity college london (more…)

learner styles

Learning styles – important or not?

This week I watched a presentation called ‘Changing the way we approach learner styles in teacher education’. This was delivered at IATEFL 2016 by Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries. If you get a spare half an hour this week I thoroughly recommend seeing it – you can access it on the British Council/IATEFL site. (more…)

framework1

CELTA Lesson Frameworks

I had a request last week from a reader who wanted to know more about lesson frameworks. I wrote about how useful they are a while back, but only gave one example. So, I’ve dug out my excellent CELTA handbook (from IH Budapest) and summarised most of the frameworks mentioned. I’ve added a bit of information to explain some stages a bit more.

Here’s the basic structure for…

Receptive skills lessons

Note: receptive skills are reading and listening

Lead-in – Generate interest in the topic / text. There are quite a few ideas for lead-ins here and here

Orientation to text – What do you need to tell the students about the text to prepare them for reading/listening? This could be text type, text source, speakers’ accents, etc. Whatever is relevant.

Gist task – set a short task based on general understanding of the text as a whole. For reading texts, the gist task is often timed. Students compare their answers together (pairs/groups) first before class feedback.

Pre-teach vocabulary – Teach any vocabulary needed for the detailed task

Detailed task – set a task based on detailed comprehension (formats might include gap fills, ordering events, true/false, etc). Students compare their answers together (pairs/groups) first before class feedback.

Follow-up activity – do a speaking/writing activity based on the text.framework2

The above is the BASIC framework. In practice, and with more time than you get during a CELTA lesson, certain tasks might be extended or added. For example, I often add vocabulary, pronunciation and game stages after the detailed task in my classes. So, the above focuses primarily on reading and listening skills, in practice other skills/systems are integrated.

(more…)

5 great tips for new teachers

Here’s a fantastic guest post from Michael Walker, who currently teaches at a university in South Korea. He offers some great tips for teachers who are just starting out. Thanks Michael!

  1. Smile

    don't smile

    Don’t smile until Christmas?

There is an old piece of teaching advice which tells us. “Don’t smile until Christmas.” This is nonsense, a simple smile is contagious, we want our students to learn in a happy, friendly, and approachable environment, smiling helps deliver that type of environment. Creating a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment in the classroom is vital to educational success. If students are not comfortable they will not talk, if they stay silent their English will not improve. A friendly environment will lead to increased student-teacher contact, this is key to student motivation and learning. (more…)