After having a fairly heavy teaching load for the last few months, things have calmed down this week, so I’ve taken the opportunity to read through my CELTA notes (which I hadn’t really looked through since my course finished ten months ago). During the course I was experimenting with the Evernote application, so I managed to capture screenshots of everything that was written on the board as well as some audio recordings of some of the demo classes. I’ve also been paying close attention to two blogs following a CELTA course currently running at International House in London, one by a teacher trainer Chia Suan Chong (which you can find here) and the other by one of her trainees, Guven Gagdas Gundogdu (whose blog can be found here).
Chia and Guven both discuss the foreign language lesson that is part of the CELTA course. Chia teaches this on the first day of the course, whereas my trainer Mo Killip reserved this for the second week. Mo gave us a class in Russian, where we learnt how to introduce ourselves and say where we were from. I remember that the thirty minutes seemed like an eternity and that I felt exhausted by the end of the class. This made me reflect as to the effort it takes for my elementary students to spend one hour and a half with me. I also noticed that I had forgotten everything I had learnt in the lesson within a couple of hours of leaving the classroom. This made me brutally aware of the importance of repetition and drilling; if we don’t repeat it, we lose it.
Another thing I’ve been paying attention is my use of concept checking and instruction checking questions. This seemed to me to be a very important part of the CELTA course and something that my colleagues and I were repeatedly reminded of. I have found a copy of Graham Workman’s ‘Concept Checking Questions and Timelines’, so I will definitely be flicking through it and noting down and writing some good CCQs for the key vocabulary in my business English classes.
So thank you Chia and Guven for your excellent blog posts! I look forward to continuing to follow your updates during the remainder of the course and refreshing some of the concepts and techniques that I learnt not too long ago.