On your marks …..

It has been six weeks since the high #learnpod13, my discovery of Edcanvas & all my excitement about having a long summer to think and reflect. Plans of blogging these thoughts have clearly not materialised as I have fully embraced  non-workness and thoroughly indulged in  experiencing the beautiful sunshine in the company of my Boisterous Boy.

Although my dreams have been dominated by showing up to my first 16-18 ESOL class with no plan, when my waking thoughts have turned to work I’ve found myself pondering the CELTA. I feel that the course was a little neglected last year as I was so focused on the new Tech for Learning Delivery course.

Language Awareness Assignment

This year I’d like to try re-writing the Language Awareness assignment. This is almost definitely the toughest assignment of the course, and each year I’ve made tweeks to try to help the trainees, but there is always the same result – 98% of trainees have to resubmit for similar kinds of issues.

One idea I have is to base the assignment more on the teaching practice. Whatever the key language element of class, the ‘observing’ trainees (ie those who aren’t teaching that week) will need to analyse that language point for the usual (MFP, context, concept qus).


  • the assignment is spread more evenly over the course
  • it will give a different perspective to group feedback as they can all reflect on how the language point has been accepted by the students
  • the assignment is more clearly routedin the teaching practice

Things to consider include:

  • when this is submitted and how to manage feedback
  • ensure there are a variety of forms across the levels

Social Networking

I have already started to build the Edcanvas as a induction to Twitter, so I will have one more attempt at encouraging trainees to engage in this. The CELTA is a very intensive course and Twitter may just be one new thing too many, but I’ll give it a go. I’m going to trial using Yammer as a social forum this year too, as a replacement for the old Posterous blog. The Teacher Ed dept are also trialling a FB page for current and past students, so it will be interesting to see if anyone engages in this.

I have half an idea about having part of the induction around the 5-8 hrs a week they are expected to commit to the course outside of class time and how they can build a PLN to support themselves and each other.

Listening skills

I also want to think about how I can introduce one of the ideas that Steve Walsh discussed during his keynote of #natecla13. He talked about the need for ‘sympathetic listening’ and it made me think about how some trainees struggle with really listening to the students, especially during the first few classes. This could be because they are so focused on their lesson plan and what they need to do, but I want to think about how I can include this aspect of listening and how important this is At the moment I’m not sure if this would sit best within the session on ‘who are the learners’ or in the ‘classroom management’ session where we also talk about grading language and giving instructions.

So I’m back in work tomorrow. My day is going to be spent in full on CELTA mode – reviewing applications in the morning, interviewing in the afternoon. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to setting the alarm, but I guess I starting to feel those New Term Butterflies.

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