This was probably the most important and the most daunting of all the CELTA tasks I had to do. Of the 30+ sessions to be delivered during the CELTA, I was asked to pick any three I felt comfortable delivering and getting observed on. The Main Course Tutor (MCT) advised me to refer to The CELTA Course, by Scott Thornbury and Peter Watkins, but told me explicitly to design my chosen sessions myself, rather than relying exclusively on this or other books.
Though I’ve designed and delivered several input sessions on a wide range of topics before (I’ve done a lot of teacher training since 2012 – both in ILA Vietnam and here, at BC Riyadh), I was very nervous about these sessions because I knew I’d be observed on each one and ultimately, my performance during input would determine whether or not I qualified as a CELTA tutor.
I chose three sessions – Teaching Reading and Using Authentic Material, Teaching Modals, and Teaching Young Learners. I spent several hours poring over The CELTA Course and other teacher training books I had before I designed the sessions. And even then, each session probably went through at least five more revisions before I was satisfied with it.
The MCT’s feedback on the first session on Teaching Reading and Using Authentic Material was quite positive. She said the session was designed well and appropriate for the CELTA trainees’ requirements. The only thing she commented on in terms of delivery was that I needed to milk each feedback stage more in order to really underline the key points and drive them home. Here are the materials for this session. As always, TN stands for Trainer Notes, HO for Handouts.
The second session on Teaching Modals was observed by the external assessor and the MCT. As one can imagine, I was really quite nervous about this one. Unfortunately, this was also the session I felt most inadequately prepared for. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I don’t really enjoy teaching grammar explicitly. In my own classrooms, I flip a lot of the teaching to make space for practice and production activities in class.
The feedback was positive again. The external assessor felt the session was well-designed but I needed to be more explicit in the points I was making. I think I’d over-thought this session too which meant a lot of the action was subtextual and occurred in my head, which is not a good thing during a training. Anyway, here are the files for this session.
The last session I chose was Teaching Young Learners. This was the last session of the course and I was a bit skeptical whether I’d be able to hold the trainees’ attention for the full 75 minutes. Ten minutes into the session, all my fears dissipated. The trainees were obviously having a ball and the MCT observing at the back of the room had a huge smile on her face.
I knew it was a good session though because it’s one I’ve delivered in various forms several times over the last few years. Also, I was confident that my experience teaching YLs and delivering teacher training for YL teachers would stand me in good stead. Needless to say, I got fantastic feedback on this session – both from the MCT and the trainees – and it really was the perfect way to end the course. Here are the materials for this session.
While these were the three sessions I was supposed to deliver during the month-long CELTA course, in the end I ended up delivering two others. One was an IWB and ActivInspire training session and the other was an input on Task-Based Learning. I wasn’t observed on either by the MCT but the trainees mostly found these sessions useful. Unfortunately, I can’t upload the IWB training here because it is an ActivInspire flipchart. Here’s the session on TBL: