Monday, July 07, 2014

Lessons from the CELTA classroom

Decided to explore being a teacher for English as a second language last year. My journey landed me at the British Council where I started taking foundation courses for a Teaching Award.  My first course was how to be an effective tutor, which gave me a view on how things have changed since I last gave private tuition and worked as a relief teacher over 20 years ago.
The way the courses were conducted suited me well as my learning style is a combination of auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. I loved the way each session had a context and we were lead into the theme to activate our schemata before the real lesson was woven in. So much so, my first goal was to obtain a teaching award for adults. Ticked that at the end of November 2013.
Then came the application process for CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). There are two organizations that offer CELTA here and I applied to both. Finally, deciding to go with the incumbent for many reasons from brand to facilities, to location and the use of technology appealed to me.
I took the part-time course since I didn't think I could manage the intense pressure of the month long full-time course. Having completed the course, I felt that with additional time I tended to over think things. I spent lots of unproductive time re-working and re-thinking simple things, which I may not have done if I were in the full-time course.
One of our tutors said at the start of the course that we should cooperate with each other and compete with ourselves. Best advice we got and we took it to heart.
There's a lot to take in for such a short course so it's very important to always, always work with your tutors. Allow them to guide and mould you to the CELTA method of teaching. I had two faults - teacher fronting and being too formal (unnatural) during my lessons. It took me a couple of below standards before I emerged from the tunnel to finally be able to deliver a student centered lesson. The assignments and lesson plans aren't difficult but the devil is in the detail. One has to be meticulous right down to your own use of grammar.
Important to note the feedback you are given and take steps to address the issues. CELTA is about transformation, your transformation, to be a CELTA teacher. If you don't wish to change then don't invest in this course. 

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