A Guide to Lesson Planning: Basic Stages

On our most recent CELTA course in Munich, some of the trainees seemed to have a problem with the stages a lesson should include so I’ve tried to break down the basic stages for different lesson types.

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CELTA Grading – not to standard

Worried about receiving a not to standard grade?

Have you taught a CELTA teaching practice lesson and the grade was not to standard (NTS)? Are you concerned as to what this might mean? Let me put your mind at ease.

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How to prepare for your CELTA Course

Do everything you can to get ready for the CELTA course to ensure it is a good experience.

We often get asked by CELTA candidates what they should do to prepare for the course. This was one of the reasons we decided to write The Ultimate Guide to CELTA so of course our first answer is to buy the book but for those of you who can’t wait for the book to arrive here are some pointers to help you get started.

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Learning to Teach English by Peter Watkins – an alternative to Scrivener & Harmer?

When I did my CELTA back in 1997 (!) we used The Practice of English Language Teaching by Harmer as our coursebook. On our CELTA courses in Munich, we use Learning Teaching by Scrivener so when Learning to Teach English landed on my desk, I was interested to see whether it could hold its own against these two “classics”.

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The second edition of Learning to Teach English published by Delta Publishing is designed as an introduction to teaching for those embarking on an initial teacher training course such as TKT, CELTA or Cert. TESOL. It inlcudes a DVD and is made up of 18 chapters and 8 appendices. The chapters cover a variety of topics such as Managing a Class or Developing Writing Skills. As I have a session on Teaching Vocabulary coming up on my current CELTA course, I decided to look at this chapter in a bit more detail. Here’s what the chapter consists of …

  • An explanantion of the importance of words.
  • Ways of presenting vocabulary. This includes 8 practical classroom examples that trainee teachers could use in their teaching practice. For each method suggested, there is an activity for the trainees to do. For instance, Classroom example 7The teacher uses the new word in context and the learners try to work out the meaning. For example the teacher says “The dog ran into the road and the driver had to swerve to miss it.”  The activity given to the trainee teacher is “How could you check the learners understood the meaning of swerve?” The commentary at the end of the unit gives the answer: The teacher could ask questions such as: Did the driver stop? No. Did they drive in a controlled way? No. Does “swerve” involve the brake or the steering wheel? The steering wheel. (These are known as concept checking questions)
  • A checklist of what the teacher needs to include when presenting lexis.
  • Ways of practising vocabulary with 5 classroom examples that trainees could try out.
  • Learners’ problems and their causes. This could be useful when trainees write their Focus on the Learner assignment.
  • A summary of the unit.
  • Commentary with answers and explanations to the tasks set.

The appendices cover a variety of topics such as basic grammar terminology, an activity bank, a needs analysis form and activities to accompany the demo lessons on the DVD.

The DVD itself contains a vocabulary, a grammar, a reading and a speaking lesson to observe. In addition to the lessons themselves there is a short interview with the teachers, here they give tips about teaching that particular type of lesson. The final section on the DVD is called “Advice for teachers” which includes tips such as:

  • be natural with your learners
  • teach with a context
  • observe colleagues teaching

So coming back to my upcoming input session on Teaching Vocabulary, there are plenty of ideas which CELTA trainees can employ when introducing new lexis in their classrooms, some of which they may not have thought about before. Watkins talks about a word bag which is something I often use for reviewing lexical items at the beginning of the next lesson. As the bag gets fuller, learners really have a sense of accomplishment when they see all the new lexical items they have met during the course. One idea in the book involves giving the learners some nouns from the bag and getting them to brainstorm adjectives and/ or verbs that collocate with each noun- a great way to expand their existing knowledge!

Although maybe not quite as detailed and visually not as appealing, all in all, I would say Learning to Teach English is a worthy competitor to Harmer or Scrivener and will certainly be a useful addition to our CELTA book cupboard. 

For more useful information about CELTA, take a look at The Ultimate Guide to CELTA available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

Teaching with Technology

Further to my review of Bringing Technology into the Classroom by Gordon Lewis, I thought it would be good to share some applications/websites that we have been known to use in our centre:

Kahoot
CC 2.0

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Technology in the Classroom

Technophobe or Technophile?  Are you already using technology in the classroom?

On our CELTA courses it has often fallen to me to deliver our session on using technology in the classroom.  Not that I am in any way an expert on this subject but perhaps my love of a good gadget has swayed my colleagues into thinking I know what I’m talking about. Often, however, I find myself talking about a topic on which the trainees know more than me.  This is of course not a problem, as good teaching practice suggests, I draw on their knowledge and use it to my (our) advantage.

In order to try and get one step ahead, or at least in line with the target audience, I picked up a copy of Bringing Technology into the Classroom by Gordon Lewispublished by Oxford University Press.

technology in the classroom
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

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Listening skills in the EFL classroom

adult beautiful blur casual
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Listening, like reading,  is a passive skill but this does not make it any less important than the active skills of speaking or writing. After all, we cannot have a conversation if we can’t follow what the other person is saying. Think about the following questions related to teaching listening skills and then read on for the answers:

  1. What types of listening skills do we use?
  2. Is listening in the classroom more difficult than listening in the real world or vice versa?
  3. How can we make sure listening in the classroom helps students in the real world? Continue reading “Listening skills in the EFL classroom”