teacher training

Course review: Dyslexia and foreign language teaching

I finished this FutureLearn course a few weeks ago. It was offered by Lancaster University, and was the second course I’ve done through them – the other one was an introduction to corpus linguistics.

The course was 4 weeks long. Here’s an overview of the content:

Week 1

The first activities this week explained what dyslexia is. It addressed some of the common misconceptions/basic facts about this learning difficulty and others, and covered some important terminology (like ‘specific learning differences’, ‘learning disorders’, etc). There were some interesting interviews with students who have dyslexia, and a task to help you experience what it’s like to have a specific learning difficulty.

The course then moved on to discuss the effect of dyslexia on language learning, and the nature of reading difficulties. Input was provided though brief video lectures from leading researchers. (more…)

Negative attitudes to professional development

In the 6 years I’ve been teaching I’ve encountered a lot of negative attitudes towards professional development. Sure, at times I’ve been negative or cynical too – no-one’s perfect! It’s just that over the last few years I’ve really come to value the opportunities I get to develop my practice. That makes me feel guilty for being negative towards development opportunities in the past.

I’ve come across plenty of teachers who don’t share my opinion. In almost every teaching job I’ve had there’s been at least one, sometimes many people who don’t take kindly to staff development sessions. I understand when people have disagreements about the content of a session, or annoyances over its poor scheduling. I also understand that not everyone wants to (or feels they need to) develop their skills. That’s up to them. However, I’ve heard some pretty negative feedback about training sessions in the past that really wasn’t conducive to a positive staffroom environment. Not only have I heard it, I’ve actually said some of the comments below myself. I feel like a terrible person right now… (more…)

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: (more…)

CELTA tip: the language skills assignment

I think the language skills topic on the CELTA is incredibly useful. As someone who rarely uses textbooks, I’m always searching for authentic reading and listening materials to use in class. Topic 3 on the CELTA gave me a solid overview of how to plan a receptive skills lesson, and the basics I learnt from this module still underpin my practice.

I’ve written an overview of the assignment and a few tips below. Here is a copy of my assignment, and here is a link to the authentic text on the BBC website.

What do I have to do? (more…)

What I gained from the CELTA: Lesson Frameworks

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… (more…)