CELTA Week 2, Evening 4

Evening 4 (Thurs)

Continuing Clive’s adventures in CELTA land! This session was spent observing Tutor1 (T1) teaching, followed by discussion and preparation for next week’s teaching practice. Yup – I’ll be doing 20mins of teaching in a week’s time!

1. Observation

These students were all new to the college. I don’t know what the deal is – maybe they pay reduced fees for being subjected to novice teachers. They were a good mix of nationalities, mostly young people of around 25 to early 30s. Students’ desks were arranged as a horseshoe with CELTA trainees at room edges, observing. I chose to sit near the door and could greet students as they came in. I started to chat with the first four and was surprised how nervous I was. Anyway, it broke the ice for me. I just got around to asking what countries they were from when a load more arrived and then the lesson started.

T1 gave us trainees a lesson plan so we could follow along if we wanted but I just observed and took a few notes without referring to it.  Looking at it now, the Level was put as Upper Intermediate, with a Lesson Focus of Reading, Writing and Listening.
Main Aims:
By the end of the lesson the students will

  • Be better able to read for gist and specific information
  • Be better able to listen for specific information

Subsidiary Aim

  • Students will have practised sharing ideas and increased fluency in speaking
  • Students will feel more comfortable in the group

Personal Aims

  • To assess the students’ level
  • To give clear instructions and keep up the pace

Assumptions

  • The students should be familiar and interested in the topic
  • They should have a fairly good level of reading and be able to cope with the reading and listening task

One of the last students to arrive was a young woman who I could observe at close quarters because she sat near me. It was clear she was out of her depth and she conveyed as much to T1 at the end. She won’t be coming back but I hope she gets onto a lower class. Otherwise, all the students were pretty confident but just lacked accuracy with the language.

I don’t know if the main aims were met – difficult to tell if skills were improved over just one lesson but T1 certainly built a rapport with the students. The lesson went well – very slick, even though T1 said it was the first time she’d done it. The students seemed very happy when they left (no, not because they were glad to escape!) and I’m pretty certain they’ll be back which is great for me because they were a nice bunch.

I’ll have to sit down and work out how T1 did it but she kept the interest up and the pace too. Here are some tricks I easily recall:
T1 used a White Board and marked off a third of it for new words etc. With an OHP she displayed only one or two lines at a time. When T1 didn’t want students referring to their printouts she got them to turn them over. Similarly, on short-timed exercises, she gave handouts face-down and got STS to turn over simultaneously. With the OHP, she sometimes revealed only the tops of the letters of the next line – this got STS guessing and interested.  There was a mix of audio too – recordings on cassette (can you still get cassettes?), gave some variety.

Overall I would judge this to be a very successful lesson.

2. Lesson Planning for Next Thurs

In the last ~40mins we briefly discussed the class and then went on to talk about the lesson us CELTA trainees will be giving next week. This will be on the theme of Speed Dating! The task has been divided into six stages – one trainee per stage. I will be bringing up the rear – not sure how easy that’ll be with tired students and tired me! Twenty minutes, if everyone before me is on schedule. The class for the STS starts at 6pm and finishes 8pm. Six lots of 20mins. There’s no contingency for intro by T1, stragglers, hand-over time, things taking longer than expected and wind-down by T1.  Hmm. This’ll have to be slick and leave them on a high – ain’t gonna be easy.

We were lent two books: “New English File – Upper-intermediate Teacher’s Book,” Clive Oxenden, Christina Latham-Koenig, OUP
and  “New English File – Upper-intermediate Student’s Book,” Clive Oxenden, Christina Latham-Koenig, OUP.
The lesson is to be based on the topic 1A in these books.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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