Post-CELTA Confessions

Aspiring to be a better teacher

Month: September, 2012

by celtaconfessions

Almost as long as a thesis perhaps 😉 but well worth a read!


In this post I intend to attempt a TEFL exorcism and to remove the curse of creativity that’s affecting our profession! Some of you of a less superstitious nature may doubt – or even refuse to believe – that such a curse exists, so I’d like to begin with three examples of the evils that ensue when people are gripped by the curse.

On a CELTA course I was running some years ago, one of our trainees was down to do a twenty-minute assessed teaching practice. She was following on from a presentation of USED TO and was scheduled to do the speaking practice slot. The coursebook had a perfectly sensible activity, involving students writing down and then talking about things they used to do when they were kids, but this wasn’t deemed sufficiently interesting  by the trainee so instead we were treated to a (possibly Taliban-inspired) twist wherein students…

View original post 5,567 more words


Assessment review Part 3

by celtaconfessions

As I’d mentioned before in Assessment Review Part 1, there are four written assignments, each one being 750-1000 words long. I don’t mind admitting that these assignments are probably my greatest fear. Being a slow writer – I tend to edit over and over again – I fear my one big enemy will be Time. And I’m unbearable, and useless, when I don’t have enough sleep.

Let’s take a closer look at these assignments and how they will be assessed.

Assigment 1: Focus on the learner

CELTA Focus on the learner


Assessment 1 criteria:

CELTA Writing assessment 1 criteria

Assignment 2: language-related tasks

CELTA Language Related Tasks

Assessment 2 criteria:

CELTA Writing assessment 2 criteria

Assignment 3: Language skills related tasks

CELTA Langauge skills related tasks

Assessment 3 criteria:

CELTA Writing assessment 3 criteria

Assignment 4: Lessons from the classroom

CELTA Lessons from the classroom

Assessment 4 criteria:

CELTA Writing assessment 4 criteria

Well, I’ve come to the end of my analysis of the syllabus…I think! How much of what I’ve done will be useful to me for the course, I don’t really know. All I know is that in 10 days’ time, I’ll be in Seville! And the nerves are making me unbearable, as my family will tell you!

New page – Acronyms

by celtaconfessions

It started with Andrew Pollard mentioning MPFA in a comment and so I scratched my head… I was going to do just acronyms and abbreviations used in the CELTA course, but, in the end, I decided to include acronyms often seen being brandished about.

They are listed in a separate page – see the top of the header, where it says ACRONYMS besides ABOUT? If there are any that you think I should include, just let me know. Thanks!

Assessment Review Part 2

by celtaconfessions

In Part One, I tried to look at what is expected of the candidate and mentioned that “Assessment basically comprises of two parts: the practical, which is, in effect, planning and teaching; and the written, which consists of four assignments.”

In this post, I’ll try to delve further into the moderators’ assessment criteria for the practical component: planning & teaching. Again, I’ll chart them using mind maps.

It might be worth noting at this point that there are 3 grades of passes: pass, grade B and grade A, the latter being the highest.

Planning & teaching

Topic One: Learning & Teaching

CELTA Topic 1 assessment criteria

Topic Two: Language analysis & awareness

CELTA Topic 2 assessment criteria

Topic Three: Skills

CELTA Topic 3 assessment criteria

Topic Four: Planning & Resources

This and the next topic look like the “heaviest” sections of the course as they effectively represent what the course is about: to help  candidates develop their skills on how to plan and teach. Accordingly, candidates are assessed on their ability to prepare and plan their lessons in order to enable them to teach effectively.

CELTA Topic 4 assessment criteria

Topic Five: Developing Skills & Professionalism

CELTA Topic 5 assessment criteria

So, what do you think? Looks like a lot to be learnt in four weeks? Hardly surprising when everyone stresses how intensive the course is!

Assessment Review Part 1

by celtaconfessions

In the previous post, I took a look at the syllabus, without going too deeply (not yet, anyway). If you haven’t seen the pretty mindmaps, you can do so here.

In this post, I’d like to delve into what the examiners are looking for in the candidates. Let’s first recall the mindmap of the syllabus overview I did for that post.

CELTA Syllabus overview

For each of this topic, the candidate is expected to

  • determine the needs of their learners, bearing in mind their backgrounds and their learning preferences
  • demonstrate awareness & knowledge of the English language and teaching strategies
  • know what the language skills are and how these may be acquired
  • plan & prepare lessons to develop the language competence of their learners
  • show a range of teaching skills as well as “professional awareness and responsibility”.

It is often said that CELTA is a practical course, but, in truth, there is also the other side of the coin. Assessment basically comprises of two parts: the practical, which is, in effect, planning and teaching; and the written, which consists of four assignments, one for each of the topics except topics 4 & 5, which are combined for the fourth and final written assignment.

In If we could bottle time, I mentioned that the course will have a minimum of 120 contact hours. So, what can we expect to happen in class? For this, I’ve done another diagram.

CELTA 120 hours' class time

Notice that the observation of experienced teachers are done live and by video. Up to 3 hours of video observation is permitted by Cambridge. Seville is using dvds for two observation classes.

Remember that I also mentioned that Cambridge reckons we will need an extra 80 hours? While I’m at it, I’ll map these extraclass activities, too.

CELTA 80 hours' extraclass time

If you’ve done or are doing CELTA, what do you think? Is this about right? Thanks for all feedback!

%d bloggers like this: