initial teacher training

Flappy Drills – ‘Class, say after me…’

In this latest guest post, CELTA Trainer Nicky Salmon offers some tips for drilling pronunciation.

I watch a lot of teachers doing drills to focus on pronunciation.

Picture yourself drilling the following-

Teacher: OK class, listen….vegetable, vegetable

Students: Vegetable

Teacher: Vegetable

Students : Vegetable

Many teachers manage the turn taking (model, repeat, model, repeat) quite successfully but sadly forget to make it clear WHAT feature they want students to hear/identify and so repeat.

For example, with VEGETABLE,

-how many syllables are pronounced and which is stressed?

-are all the vowels full or is there a schwa sound in there somewhere?

If the teacher forgets to make it clear in some way what the features are, then this is a FLAPPY DRILL.

There are many times when we need to focus our students on making the sounds of the new language we are teaching them.

  • Maybe a consonant cluster in a new piece of vocabulary, for example, /br/ or /rts/.
  • Maybe the  schwa /ə/ sound or an unexpected pronunciation that doesn’t seem to mirror the spelling, for example, the varieties for the written ‘ea’,
  • Maybe the word has two or more syllables and the stress need to be identified.
  • Maybe the stress in a sentence is linked to the meaning or the intonation pattern is clearly linked to the feeling or attitude of the speaker.

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IATEFL 2017: Developing teacher talk

I’ve just watched Jamie Keddie’s talk entitled ‘Developing Teacher Talk’. I was excited about this one. I’m a fan of Jamie’s site and I recently watched his TEDx talk On Videotelling. Here’s a link to the talk (can’t embed again).

Keddie knows how to warm an audience and started at his anecdotal best in this talk. He was a model of good storytelling – reminding me a lot of a former colleague who was just as engaging. He started with a couple of stories about misunderstandings he (or people he knew) had encountered – barmaids mistaking ‘pints of lager’ for ‘pina coladas’ and a family member referred to as ‘a hungry old man’ rather than ‘a hundred year old man’.

These highlighted the point that anecdotes are a compelling way to introduce a topic. Keddie is known for his interest in using video in the classroom – he pointed out that teachers often use videos as a way to introduce topics when a story from the teacher could be just as effective. (more…)

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…)

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.

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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.

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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…)

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…)