CELTA Week 10, evening 19

Evening 19 (Tuesday 2012-03-20)

1. Pronunciation, Stress (60 mins)

This started off with the tutor showing us this picture and eliciting the word Hamburger. How many Syllables? (3) Where’s the stress? (first syllable).  So the pattern is main stress on first syllable and weaker stresses on second two. Given that pattern, we had to navigate our way through a word stress maze by matching it. Needless to say I got lost right at the beginning and several times after! I think my problem stemmed from not really getting that a syllable is like a vowel sound – in some words the syllables merge when they’re pronounced so I counted them as one rather than two.  Anyway, I had another go after the lesson and have got a grip now.

Then, working in pairs, transcribe words into phonemes. My partner was a teacher of English so it took him only a few seconds to complete. I didn’t try to work with him because he knew the answers before I had time to think!  Most were straightforward enough but with one or two I differed from the tutor. For example, I’d pronounce “describe” as /dəˈskraɪb/ whereas the tutor and others had /dɪˈskraɪb/- who’s right?

Finally we had an exercise looking at words that can be pronounced in two ways, depending on whether they’re nouns or verbs – such as “import, record, suspect and protest”.

2. Preparation for TP + Break (45 mins)

I won’t be teaching on Thursday so I hung around, chatting with others. I tried to listen to what the tutors were saying but didn’t get very far.

3. Fluency Activities (75 mins)

Write a list of ten things you’d take if you were going camping.
Compare your list with your neighbour and agree ten essentials.
Compare your pair’s list with another pair and derive a top ten.
Then whole class feedback. An example of a speaking/fluency exercise.

We then derived a list of various of speaking subskills – such as Q&A, discussing, negotiation, reading aloud etc and discussed the interactions between students and tutor. Then the tutor stuck up a number of sheets of paper around the room with one speaking subskill written on each. In pairs we were given about ten cuttings from exercises and had to match them to the subskills. I’m not sure I learned a whole lot from all this – I don’t think I grasped the differences between the skills and there was no real confirmation that we’d got our categorising right.

At the end of the lesson we were given six or seven handouts – I’ve filed them but have no idea when I’ll look at them. I have the Harmer and Scrivener text books so perhaps never.



  1. longrunner

    I anticipate similar phoneme “issues” for myself — seems that the folks who administer the CELTA speak British English (I’m from the states), so even in the pre-course task, I got confused a couple of times when I was “translating” from phonetic to standard written — I thought a word was “coal,” when really they meant “call.” Gah!

  2. clivesir

    Hi Abbie! Our common language can be a bit of a challenge! “Solder” is an interesting one: Try listening to http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/solder and http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/solder 🙂
    The spellings of my Argentinian friend are all American, as are her phrases and pronunciations. She didn’t mention it as a particular problem when she did her CELTA in Buenos Aires (as you will be) so I don’t think you need to worry about it too much 🙂

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