CELTA Trainer-in-Training

CELTA Trainer-in-Training: Teaching Practice Observations

Here’s another one in the series of CELTA T-in-T preparation posts.

This task was the meat of the month long intensive course. This is where I had to observe trainees on their teaching practice (TP) along with the main course tutor and assistant course tutor (or tutors, as may be the case. On my course, due to unavoidable circumstances, we had three!), and shadow write the feedback.

According to the guidelines in the CELTA Trainer-in-training handbook, I only needed to make a note of 2-3 strengths and a similar number of points to focus on. The main course tutor, however, sent me a template of the feedback form (I’ve attached the template file below) she used and it was a lot more detailed – with a running commentary on the lesson. Later, I found out she was a shorthand specialist (she used shorthand for her Teaching Literacy input session) and was able to make very detailed notes in no time during the lessons. I guess it also helped she has more than ten years experience as a CELTA tutor. (more…)

CELTA Trainer-in-Training: Input Sessions

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. (more…)

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: (more…)

CELTA Trainer-in-Training: Materials and Sessions Design

This was another ‘During CELTA’ Trainer-in-Training tasks that was easily completed before the CELTA began, thereby reducing my sky-high-workload during the four weeks of the course.

The task involved creating handouts that could be given to trainees before, during, or after an input session. These weren’t live handouts – I think they were just meant for the course tutor and assessor to gauge my material development skills.

I chose to create handouts for the following sessions: (more…)

CELTA Trainer-in-Training: Input Log Sheets

This was one of the several ‘During CELTA’ Trainer-in-Training tasks I had to complete for the portfolio. I had to observe experienced CELTA tutors on my course deliver their input sessions and comment on various aspects.

T-i-Ts are required to attend at least 80 percent of the inputs – so about 25 of the 30+ inputs delivered on my CELTA course. This meant that while the other tutors had a chance to deliver their session and take a break, go for lunch, check their facebook, I was in the CELTA room almost all the time – waiting for one input to end and the next one to begin.  (more…)

CELTA Trainer-in-training: Candidate Interviews

This was one of the more hands-on tasks pre-CELTA (see the complete list in this post). I attended a CELTA candidate interview, made notes, and then wrote down my observations and reflections.

According to the handbook, a trainer-in-training is required to sit in “on a number of interviews”. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this option because most of the candidate interviews had already been done even before I had submitted my T-in-T application. The timing was really bad – I arrived back from a long holiday a week before Ramadan started. In Saudi Arabia, Ramadan is like Christmas in the West, Dusshehra in India, Tet in Vietnam – most people return to their home towns or home countries and everything shuts down. The course administrators expected a lot of candidates to go away on holiday, so the interviews had started a couple of weeks earlier. Both prospective T-in-Ts for the course were invited to shadow the remaining interview before Ramadan started. (more…)

CELTA Trainer-in-training: Written Assignment Standardization

This is probably going to be the shortest post in the series.

This CELTA Trainer-in-Training task (here’s the complete list) requires the trainer-in-training to go through the written assignments on LMS Fronter, which contains all the CELTA standardization material, make notes based on the assessment criteria specified in the syllabus, and then compare it against the tutors’ feedback and final grading.

There are several sample assignments and accompanying tutor remarks for each of the four assignments required on the CELTA:

  1. Language skills
  2. Language tasks
  3. The learner
  4. Lessons from the classroom

It was actually quite interesting reading the various assignments and comparing my thoughts with the official feedback. This was the only task that I sort-of avoided (more…)