teaching english

CELTA Assignment: Lessons from the Classroom

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I decided to take the CELTA because it seemed like a fairly easy way to make some money while I traveling. However, a mere month’s exposure to teaching has given me the confidence to pursue teaching English as a serious career alternative, should I ever get sick of political antics and swindlers’ conspiracies. All through my life, people told me I would make a decent teacher. Now, I believe it. I believe it because I have braved the utterly nerve-racking schedule of assignment submissions and lesson planning and teaching without falling apart. Though I learned a lot from our wonderful trainers (full credits to Gabbi and Maureen) and my absolutely wonderful classmates, I really have miles to go before I sleep (literally).

A month is a very short time to learn something but it is admirable that all of us have had such a tremendous growth curve. Personally, I know I have become much more confident about standing in front of a classroom full of students and talking about the finer points of the English language. (more…)

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CELTA Assignment: Language Skills

Most of the students in my elementary teaching group are students who have come to San Francisco for a few weeks or months to study English at St. Giles. Many students eat out regularly at cafes and restaurants. It can be a challenge to find a good place to eat everyday – a place that is inexpensive and in the neighborhood.

Yelp.com can be a useful resource for students to help them decide where to get the next meal. To develop their reading and comprehension skills, I chose to introduce students to reviews on Yelp.com. I chose the reviews of a neighborhood restaurant that all students will be familiar with. An authentic text will help students develop and practice their receptive skills while exposing them to written English used by native speakers.

With the chosen text, students will be able to practice skills such as skimming for gist, reading for comprehension and scanning for information. (more…)

CELTA Assignment 3: The story

The third assignment we did during CELTA was also fun. We had the choice of doing the assignment on either Reading Skills or Listening Skills. Since we also needed to reproduce the materials for the assignment, everyone obviously chose to do it on Reading Skills. Much easier to just copy, paste text from somewhere than get listening material. I wonder why they even give us a choice.. haha!

We also had the choice of picking reading material straight from the book or choosing an authentic text (text that has actually been published – online or on paper – and not been graded to the reading level of the ESL students). I definitely wanted to an authentic text.. I was bored to death with the awfully boring stuff in the ESL textbooks, and I thought students must find authentic texts more interesting, even though it can be more challenging and may contain words they haven’t come across. (more…)

CELTA Assignment: Focus on the Learner

PART A

For the purpose of this assignment, I interviewed Maryanne Yamamoto, a 28-year-old Japanese student in the Elementary English class. Maryanne works in a trading company in Japan. Her job requires her to read documents written in English and speak in English with clients. She wants to improve her spoken English and receptive skills so that she can communicate effectively.

Maryanne began studying English in school at the age of 13. She studied English literature for four years in college but says she didn’t learn much. “We study Shakespeare but not full book, only short (extracts),” she says.

Maryanne said she likes to learn English by speaking, writing, looking at pictures and working with friends. With the help of a Multiple Intelligence questionnaire (Multiple Intelligences and Language Learning, 2005 Alta Book Publishers), I determined that she has high linguistic intelligence, visual/spatial intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. This proves that she learns best by seeing, speaking, visualizing and hearing the language, and working in groups with other students. (more…)

CELTA Assignment 2: The story

So here’s the second in the series of CELTA assignments I decided to post on this blog. It almost seems like the number of posts in the CELTA category are going to exceed the total number of other posts in different categories! Shame, considering I started this blog more than two years ago. Stupid internet addiction has overtaken life, sigh.. I barely write anymore, I should I should. Promise to write more beginning next month (am harboring a huge secret inside me that’s just waiting to burst out.. when I can’t hold it in any longer, I’ll write it down here).

Oops, I did it again.. the digressions.

Anyway, so this assignment, the second we had to do during the month-long course, was a hundred times more interesting than the first, which if you’ve seen it, you’d know was dry as a rehab doll 😉 This assignment, which our trainers called ‘Focus on the Learner’ was more my style, i.e. journalistic. (more…)

CELTA Assignment: Language Analysis ‘get/have sth done’

4. To “get”/”have” something done (as in “She got /had her car repaired.”)

Basic Meaning/Use

Meaning: To arrange for something to be done by someone else.

Use: We use this form when talking about something that somebody else has done for us.

Illustrative Presentation Context

Zara lives in San Francisco. She is a very busy lawyer. One day, she found water dripping from the roof. Soon, there was water all over the floor. She called the plumber and told him to fix it. The plumber found the leak and repaired it. Now, there is no leak. (more…)

CELTA Assignment: Language Analysis ‘would you mind’

3. “Would you mind” as in “Would you mind opening the door?”

Basic Meaning/Use

Meaning: Will you please

Use: A commonly used polite way of making a request, mostly used in formal language. Though it is used in a question form, the phrase is just another way of requesting someone.

Illustrative Presentation Context

Sunil was a student at St. Giles. One day, his phone rang when he was in class. He answered his phone. It was his mother calling from India. She could not hear him clearly. He had to talk louder. The other students were looking at him. They could not work because he was talking so loudly. The teacher asked him to go outside the classroom to talk. (more…)