CELTA Week 2, Evening 3

Evening 3 (Tues)

The second tutor (T2) had returned after her illness. The evening kicked off with T1 explaining the approximate timings of the evening. There were to be three major themes: Lesson Planning with T1, a break, Vocab with T2, a small break, Grammar with T2. A lot to cover. Time-wise, I thought the Lesson Planning was OK, though we did overrun slightly(!) Then, with T2 needing to get to know us trainees, the time after the (now short) break, was extremely tight. There wasn’t enough time for the second break and everything with T2 ended up a blur. And again, plenty of paperwork!

1. Lesson Planning

Warm-up – Mutual Dictation on theme of Lesson Planning. You have sheet A, partner has sheet B.
On sheet A: “Planning _____  _____ to clarify ____  ___.”
On sheet B: “______ helps you ____  _____ your aims.”
TraineeA dictates to first blank, then TraineeB to next blank, TraineeA etc.  Six sentences.

OK, that taught us the idea of  “mutual dictation,” useful as an ELT teaching technique, but obscured the more serious message which was:

  • Planning helps you to clarify your aims.
  • Planning helps you to become more self-aware and self-critical
  • Having a good plan makes you feel much more confident
  • By anticipating possible problems you can decide how to overcome them
  • It can help you to evaluate the lesson after you have taught it
  • Once you have written a plan you can use it again in the future, which ultimately saves time

I guess that mentioning Dogme or Unplugged Teaching would be heresy…
Next, guess the SAS’s 7Ps motto. Done on the whiteboard. Turns out to be “Proper Planning & Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” With the benefit of hindsight this probably took longer than it should have although it was harmless fun.

We were shown a typical CELTA lesson plan comprising:

  • Lesson Focus (select 1 or 2 of Grammar, Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Vocabulary)
  • Main Aim (what STS will be better able to do at end – What you spend most time on)
  • Subsidiary Aims
  • Personal Aims
  • Assumptions (What you think the students will know about the topic, the grammar, the skill)
  • Procedure (What are you and the students going to do? Would another teacher be able to teach from this?)
    • 1 Stage Focus, Interaction, Time, Stage Aim, Procedure
    • 2 Stage Focus, Interaction, Time, Stage Aim, Procedure
    • etc

Brevity and Clarity at all times! Instructions need planning!! Use of Whiteboard needs planning!!!

We were shown a handout from a lesson and asked to predict (in pairs) what the learning objectives were, then discussed as a group.

2. Vocab

So this was done with the second tutor who needed time to learn our names. Folded card with names written on, facing T2.

Warm-up – working in pairs, take the letters of your partner’s name and think of words beginning with those letters. Eg Clive: Clumsy, Loathesome, Idiot, Vile, Egocentric – you get the picture – only they’re meant to be complimentary!  It isn’t actually always very easy with pressure on, and that’s for native speakers – how much more difficult would it be for L2 speakers?

Trainee A then given a list of six things and B had to guess. Using only verbal meanings wasn’t always forthcoming (I got stuck on guessing Hassle).
My list was – Chubby, Bonkers, To flicker, To get by, Bone Idle, A brochure. We got half way but then ran out of time.

Then shown video of woman giving vocab lesson to ELT class. Words: Pineapple, Trolley, Shoplift. Given handouts and discussed in pairs, for each word,

  • How does the teacher get the meaning across? Drawing, Mime, Verbal
  • How does she focus on the way they are pronounced? Repetition, Repetition, Blackboard showing stress, Repetition
  • Do all the students say the new words? Yes
  • How is the meaning checked? Asking confirmation questions, what colour, what material, is that legal?  – Never ask “Do You Understand?”!!
  • How is the pron highlighted at the blackboard stage? Stress marked with some mark like a raised, straight apostrophe
Given handout on teaching grammar, but no time to look at it. Told to read the appropriate section in Harmer or Srivener.
Given Vocab homework to be done by end of February.
Shown a mindmap on the whiteboard with “language” as central cloud, pointing out to phonology, meaning, form.  That might work for grammar but what about vocab? No thinking time now… Next….

3. Grammar

Oh boy! Time is now tight! Working in pairs, given two sheets of laminated paper with six and seven tenses written on them. Given envelopes with pink coloured strips with sentences written on – match strips to tenses. When done, discuss as group. Then as pairs, take yellow strips which describe the form and match to sentences pink strips.
So… Pink “In June I’ll have been living here for two years” is placed on “Future Perfect Continuous”, and Yellow “An action which is seen as starting in the past and being in progress from a point in the future” is placed on top. For example. 13 times. Discuss as group.  Given handouts representing all this – I’m sure that’ll be very handy in the future. Told not to worry, that on the CELTA you won’t have to teach all this but you should know it.
Then given handouts showing timelines, asked (working as pairs) to write what tense they represent and complete a sentence representing that tense.  Ten timelines. Did we discuss these after as a group? Probably, but by then my brain was spinning!
I felt that too much had been crammed into this evening. Lots of concepts were introduced – fine, but I would have liked more time for greater understanding at each stage. My grammar (identifying tenses and their time concepts) needs lots of brushing up on. From the grammar part I felt I gained nothing other than a reinforced understanding that I knew little. Perhaps the idea is to incentivise us!

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