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.

 

 

 

 

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Tips & Tricks for your CELTA Course

The Ultimate Guide to CELTA author and CELTA tutor Emma Jones was interviewed by CELTA helper recently. Watch the 20 minute video for her thoughts on CELTA …

https://celtahelper.com/celta-tutor-author-emma-jones-tips-resources/

 

Coursebooks – How to use and adapt them

On our CELTA courses in Munich, we use two coursebooks with the students (currently Speakout and English Unlimited) but as the course progresses and trainees become more confident in the classroom, we encourage them to move away from the coursebook a little. Why?

Continue reading “Coursebooks – How to use and adapt them”

Giving Instructions: The Golden Rules for CELTA Trainees

We’ve just started a new CELTA course in Munich so instruction-giving is very much on my mind! This is something trainees should try to get sorted out asap but do sometimes struggle with, especially when teaching lower levels. So here are my “golden rules”.

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©The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

Continue reading “Giving Instructions: The Golden Rules for CELTA Trainees”

A Guide to Lesson Planning: The Procedure

In the second post in the series we look at the procedure which describes what you and the students will actually do in the lesson.

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Continue reading “A Guide to Lesson Planning: The Procedure”

A Guide to Lesson Planning: Aims

There are several different types of aims you should have on a lesson plan, typically the main aims of the lesson, the subsidiary aims of the lesson, your personal teaching development aims as well as an aim for each stage of the lesson. Confused as to what goes where? Read on for a succinct breakdown in the first of a series of blog posts on writing lesson plans.Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 11.04.38 Continue reading “A Guide to Lesson Planning: Aims”

CELTA Online

Posted on behalf of Cansu Akan

The amazing thing about the CELTA course is that it can be taken in different ways. The candidates are free to choose from three options offered by Cambridge English, which are differentiated according to the mode of delivery: full-time, part-time and online. Nowadays, the demand for online CELTA is on the rise as it offers a more flexible schedule and is more personalized. This is probably the most important reason why it is preferred by many. Still, even the candidates who apply for the online option don’t know what to expect in the online course. This post looks at the similarities and differences between face-to-face (F2F) and online CELTA with reference to my personal experience and observations as an OCT (Online Course Trainer) and the feedback I have gathered from my trainees so far.  Continue reading “CELTA Online”