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 (more…)

Forget grades: Let’s talk learning

For as long as I’ve been a teacher, I’ve known there was something dark and evil about quantitative assessment. You see, I grew up in schools that used marks to sort students into different sections. From 4th to 10th grade, every class was divided into 4 sections:

Section A was for the smart ones
Section B was for those that show potential
Section C was for those that might have some brains but don’t work hard
Section D was for the really stupid ones

There was quite a lot of student movement during the year but the movement was mostly restricted to between Sections A and B, and Sections C and D. Life was probably a lot easier for our teachers, since some 150 students were sorted according to their ability but what was perhaps not taken into account was the impact this sorting had on student minds. (more…)