CELTA Trainer-in-Training: Sessions Design

Here’s the third in the series of During CELTA tasks all Trainers-in-Training need to complete. This was also one of the tasks that was easy to do before the course actually began.

The task requires the T-i-T to select four input sessions, and anticipate / predict how they might be delivered. One has to consider the key points that should be covered in the session, the anticipated style of session delivery, and the interaction patterns one expects to see. The T-i-T must then observe these particular sessions and comment on how closely their predictions matched the session delivered and reflections from this exercise.

As usual, I designed a template document for this task (Session 0 Template) and then set about choosing the sessions from the CELTA timetable that the Main Course Tutor had shared with me. I then selected four sessions I was particularly interested in:

  1. Phonology: I chose this one because I’ve only delivered one or two teacher training sessions on pronunciation before and still don’t feel very confident about my ability to teach teachers how to teach pronunciation. My go-to phonology book is Adrian Underhill’s Sound Foundations, which, while exhaustive in its scope, isn’t particularly useful for CELTA level newbies. So I was quite interested in how this session would go. Here’s the task document for this session Session 1 Phonology.
  2. Presenting New Language: The title of this session boggled me. It wasn’t about presenting vocabulary or presenting grammar – both of which were being covered in separate sessions. The title was too vague and I didn’t really know what to expect. In fact, it turned out to be one of the most interesting and useful sessions of the course. Here are my notes for this session Session 2 Presenting New Language.
  3. Using Audio-Visual Materials: This just seemed like a super fun, super interesting session. I love using AV in my own lessons but I know it took me at least a year and a half after doing the CELTA that I started experimenting with authentic songs and videos in the classroom. Most CELTA trainees have had very  little exposure to communicative methods of teaching and their own personal experience of language learning are usually quite traditional and grammar-based. This was particularly true for the group of trainees we had – all of whom were Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Filipino) and Arab (Egyptian, Jordanian) women – who had learned languages in school in the 80s and 90s. So I thought it would be interesting to see how the CELTA tutors were going to present the *radical new idea* of using AV material in the classroom. Hilariously, albeit unfortunately, this session was aborted after the first fifteen minutes due to problems with using technology. So I couldn’t really complete this task.
  4. Second Language Acquisition: I was surprised this session was included in the CELTA timetable. I thought it would be too theoretical for teachers at this level. I still believe there are other more practical sessions that could have replaced this one, although I did find it a very interesting way to spend an hour. But that’s from my perspective as an experienced teacher with a Delta. If I were designing my own timetable, I’d probably have left this session out. I’m sure the trainees would’ve benefited from a free hour of supervised lesson planning if nothing else. Anyway, here’s the last of the session design task documents Session 4 SLA.

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