Lesson aims and how they affect learning

Does the language teachers use in their lesson plans really affect teaching practice? Perhaps a broader question to ask would be does language affect our thought? A great TED talk to watch on the subject is How the words we use affect the way we think by Mary Page Wilson. And if you’re not into videos, here’s an overview of Keith Chen’s TED talk on the same lines.

When I first started teaching, lesson planning was a monumentally daunting task. It would take many hours to plan an hour-long lesson for a bunch of six-year-olds who only really wanted to play games and burn off some weekend steam. But lesson planning took on a whole new aura of fear when it was time to get observed.

In my first three years of teaching, I worked in a school where teachers were observed every three months. The academic managers were lovely and very supportive but that did little to assuage my fears of writing an assessed lesson plan and getting observed. And then, the part of the observed lesson plan template that I really dreaded was the first page – the bit with lesson aims, subsidiary lesson aims and other such mundaneries. (more…)

CELTA TRAINER-IN-TRAINING: Teaching Practice Feedback

The sixth in the series of “During CELTA” Trainer-in-Training tasks (see the complete list here) – the Teaching Practice Feedback task – was one of those tasks that needed pre-course prep work as well as regular updates throughout the course.

I divided it into two parts:

  1. Pre-CELTA: Make a note of different approaches to feedback I expect to see during the course.
  2. During CELTA:
    • Notes on feedback observations (during/after every TP feedback session)
    • Reflections on feedback observations (weekly – this turned out to be one of my weekend tasks while the CELTA was on)

Let’s go through it one by one.

1. Pre-CELTA: Here are some preliminary notes I put together about different approaches to feedback. I reached back into the recesses of my cobwebbed, pregnancy-addled brain for memories of how feedback was conducted during my own CELTA (2009) and CELTYL (2010) courses, and made the following notes.. (more…)

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…)