This is the last in the series of tasks I had to do as a Trainer-in-Training. Well, the last one I had to do on the course. There was a mammoth of an evaluative essay I had to write after the CELTA was over, but hey, the CELTA was over by then. Read that again with an accompanying drumroll and fireworks show – the CELTA was over, finally! That’s how relieved I was at the end.
Getting back to the task on hand (see what I did there?), there are two standard tutorials for each trainee during the course – these are called the Stage 1 and Stage 2 tutorials. On an intensive course like the one I trained on, the Stage 1 tutorial happens mid-week in Week 2, and the Stage 2 tutorial happens mid-week in Week 3. As you can see, there is very, very little time in between the two tutorials but what a difference a week makes.
The Stage 1 tutorial was done in the form of written feedback in trainees’ CELTA5 booklets. To be honest, neither the trainers nor the trainees really have time mid-course for two sit-down sessions of tutorials, so it was just as well the Stage 1 tutorial was just a few lines of (mostly encouragement – it’s only Week 2 after all!) feedback from the course tutor.
The Stage 2 tutorial was more serious – this was about a 5-10 minute chat with each trainee, going over their self-assessments in their CELTA5s and a clear roadmap of what they needed to do in order to pass the course. For three trainees who were in danger of failing the CELTA, the Stage 2 tutorial was when they were also offered an out – a safe exit from the course. However, none of the three trainees took that route at this stage (one did eventually; she withdrew on the last day of the course).
Then there’s the Stage 3 tutorial. This is done only for those trainees who are almost definitely going to fail. On my CELTA course, this happened towards the end of Week 3, and I was assigned to the trainee for extra support. While I wasn’t allowed to give lesson planning advice to the other trainees (to keep a level playing field), I was the go-to person for the trainee on the verge of a Fail. The Main Course Tutor wanted to do everything to help her pass the course!
For this Trainer-in-Training task,I had to make some notes about the tutorial form used, its format and clarity. I also had to sit in on a tutorial for one of the trainees whose progress I’d chosen to track over the course of the four weeks, and…
After the tutorial, discuss with the tutor the trainee’s ability to assess their own strengths and weaknesses and the accuracy of their assessment of progress on the course. Note how the tutor resolves any inconsistencies of perception between themselves and the trainee, how these are documented and the final outcome agreed by the tutor and trainee. (from the T-in-T handbook)
Here are the notes I made about he tutorial form:
The tutorial form in CELTA 5 is slightly different from the one used at the center, although there are two versions in circulation that are being used by the two trainers. The tutorial form in CELTA 5 is quite generic and doesn’t provide clearly separate space for a summary and action points.
The form used by the MCT follows a similar template with two minor tweaks: a section to highlight Above Standard and Not to Standard Criteria, and a separate heading for action points in note form. The ACT has modified the template further by adding a section on the trainees’ strengths and weaknesses.
While I like the clarity of having separate sections for strengths and weaknesses, I feel this form of a tutorial report too closely imitates written feedback provided after TP i.e. divided into strengths and areas of improvement. I prefer a summary written in prose noting trainees’ strengths and a separate clear section with bullet-pointed areas of consideration. Therefore, while shadow writing Sana’s tutorial, I have followed the tutorial template used by the MCT.
However, I have made a few changes to this template. Firstly, to give it a professional appearance, the tutorial form should have the school’s logo and a clear, bold heading. It is also useful to have a top section dedicated to such sundries as name, date, week, and trainer’s name. Therefore, I have created a table similar to the ones used in the TP observation feedback form that contains this necessary information. Another addition is a clear section to highlight the Above Standard and Not to Standard criteria so that it is not overlooked while completing this form for any trainee.
And here is the template: CELTA Stage 2 Tutorial form
I made brief notes on the tutorial I observed too:
a. Trainee’s ability to assess their own strengths and weaknesses: ABC was overly critical of her own abilities in her Stage 2 self-evaluation. She mentioned this was because she wanted to be ‘on the safe side’, however this evaluation is consistent with her generally shy personality. After several reassurances from the tutor that she had, in fact, made very good progress in the first two weeks of the course, ABC said that she came to the CELTA feeling like the underdog because (from her previous educational experiences?), she had learned that teachers need to be quite authoritative and she was unsure how she would fit that profile. She said she was relieved that the nature of communicative teaching allowed her to be herself and relate to the students better.
b. Accuracy of their assessment of progress: ABC was overly critical of her teaching and planning abilities and marked herself Not to Standard in several instances.
c. How inconsistencies were resolved: The trainer reassured ABC that she had, in fact, made very good progress in the first two weeks of the course.
d. How was the final outcome agreed upon: The trainer informed ABC that she was in the safe To Standard zone and also had some Above Standard teaching criteria which were highlighted on her Stage 2 tutorial form.