In my last post, I ended with this phrase “Break for lunch! Phew! And, it was only 2pm!”
That sort of showed what kind of day it was. I just realised that was a mistake! That was probably around 1pm! Before lunch, we had an “input” session. This was conducted by Jo. This would take us to 2pm or thereabouts. Bear in mind that the first day was different from the rest of the course.
This session, basically, covers CELTA’s methodology and terminology. A lot of the latter are in the form of acronyms, which have already been listed in the acronyms page.
Jo guides us through the three different aspects of a lesson: Staging, Management and Rapport.
Staging flows from accuracy to fluency. The teacher introduces the topic of the lesson – not the target language – to get the students interested and motivated. This leads onto the target language where aspects of meaning, form, pronunciation and appropriacy (the famous MFPA; you might have guessed it already that CELTA’s big on acronyms!) are focussed upon. Next comes practice, followed by a PACS session. Of course, the PACS could come before the practice.
Where possible, I personally prefer more than one PACS session, and I value having it before the practice rather than after. Students are likely to forget your feedback if they don’t get a chance to apply it. In real situations, I’d much rather do the PACS in the following lesson rather than at the end. In this way, there is also, automatically, a link to the previous lesson.
By management, they refer to giving instructions for class activities. Now, CELTA is heavy on this. You are required to give the instructions, check understanding by asking ICQs, and/or by giving/asking for examples. If necessary, do the first activity with a student.
Personally, sometimes, I find these a pain in the you-know-where. They don’t like you to repeat the instructions. If you need to repeat them, they take it that the students didn’t understand you the first time around because you did not explain it clearly. They prefer you to ask ICQs, which sometimes sound so unnatural: Pablo, what is it that you have to do? Manuel, do I want you to work alone or with your partner? Carmen, do I want you to do nº 2? And so on…
I like to be as natural as possible in class, and I think it’s ok to repeat instructions – after all, it could be that the students didn’t hear the first time round. Most students admit to having weak listening skills, don’t they? So, being obsessive with less TTT in giving instructions to the brink of madness, and more ICQs is just, to me, plain absurd. Needless to say, I didn’t score many points with the tutor on this aspect. I wonder how many trainees were guilty of spending more TTT than they would if they were to just repeat the instructions…
Finally, by rapport, they mean being friendly with the students and getting them to speak more. Again, the mantra “more STT” sometimes hovers on the brink of obsession. I’d be the first to acknowledge the importance of STT, but rushing the students into PW speaking just for the sake of STT doesn’t amount to much. Listening to the teacher can also be a valuable activity in itself. A lesson has to be looked upon as a whole, not in broken-down parts.
What’s the proportion of TTT to STT?
Did the trainee need to repeat instructions?
How many ICQs and CCQs did the trainee use?
How long was it before the trainee get the students to work in pairs?
These are more the type of questions I’d ask myself.
Did the students do the activity correctly?
Did they warm up to the teacher?
Did they get the chance to speak?
Did they look like they enjoyed the class?
Was the class dynamic?
Did the students learn anything?
Am I alone on this?