CELTA: You’re the ONE that I WANT!!!

ImageThe CELTA of 2013!

It may not have been the summer of 69, but I definitely had the time of my life. Actually, now that I look back in the summer of 2013, I feel really proud of myself for opting for the CELTA because it’s been a great and rewarding experience full of learning, new friends and of course lots of racing against the clock.

The picture shows my amazing CELTA group at CELT, the teacher training center where I did my course and the place that I can certainly call ‘home’.

It’s been such a pleasure being surrounded by all these amazing and talented people. We had so much fun together!!!

I do still recall the days when we worked around the clock to meet our deadlines, it was such a hectic July indeed, but for what it’s worth I would do it again! Having said that I only see fit that I start talking about the juicy and most important aspects of my CELTA course.

So, what’s CELTA after all? 

 

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The Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages or most commonly known as CELTA  is an initial credential for teachers of English as a foreign language. The CELTA is a globally-recognised qualification awarded by the University of Cambridge’s non-profit assessment organisation, Cambridge English Assessment and it is also accredited by the UK Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) at Level 5 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This prestigious qualification is a common requirement for those entering the field of ELT.

Still wondering why do the CELTA???

 

Many say that “There’s no place like home”, take my word for it, once you embark on your journey for your CELTA certificate you won’t really like your adventure to end.

Despite the vast amount of input you get, which you have to grasp really quickly and incorporate almost immediately in your next teaching practice, the lessons are enjoyable and full of teaching tips which will equip you with all the necessary skills so as to gain confidence in standing in front of a classroom and delivering a meaningful and up to standard lesson. What is more, the certificate will lead the way to teaching abroad and mentoring adults or children of all ages.

 

Key aspects of the CELTA…

 

  1. The CELTA is awarded by Cambridge University and thus it is recognised everywhere around the globe.
  2. The CELTA has no end of the course exam. Therefore you are being assessed progressively throughout your course.
  3. There is an ALP session (Assisted lesson-planning session) everyday. There your tutors will provide you with guidelines on how to plan your lesson. However, their help will decrease as the course progresses since you have to show ability of working independently.
  4. Apart from your 6 hours of teaching praactice, you’ll also have to submit four assignments.
  5. After each teaching practice, there’s the feedback session which is the most important part of your course. There you might be sliced nine ways to Sunday, but you’ll get the most out of your course. Your tutors will point out aspects which need to be addressed and improved in the next teaching practice, so pay close attention because these issues may be your personal aims!
  6. Finally, your CELTA course is assessed by an external assessor whose main concern is to ensure the quality of your training, a fact which sets CELTA as the top choice for your initial teaching qualification.

 

Why would I recommended it? 

 

CELTA is highly respected and appreciated by many employers all around the world. If you check job ads for ELT positions, you’ll notice that many employers ask for an initial teaching qualification and preferably the CELTA. So, why would I recommend it to you? Well, apart from being an extremely
nerve-racking and highly demanding course, it equips you with all the necessary teaching knowledge. Furthermore, it provides you with useful tips, techniques and strategies so to succesfully deliver a great lesson.

You’ll be amazed by how many things you get to learn in such a short period of time.You’d be swamped that’s for sure!

Finally, I’d like to mention that even though the CELTA may be your key to a new career path, you should bear in mind that it only sets the guidelines and that you’ll have to continue studying on your own so as to become better day by day. Don’t forget that reflection on your lessons and observation of other teachers can aid your way to the top.

Recommended Books…

If you are really interested in a CELTA course then the following reading list will definitely help you get prepared for it…

  1. About Language: Tasks for Teachers of English (Cambridge Teacher Training and Development) – Scott Thornbury 

  2. Teaching Practice: A guide for teachers in training –  Roger Gower, Diane Philips and Steve Walters

3.   Teaching English Grammar – Jim Scrinever

4.    Teaching Tenses – Rosemary Atkins 

5.    Learning Teaching – Jim Scrinever

6.    How to Teach Pronunciation – Gerald Kelly

7.    The Practice of English Language Teaching – Jeremy Harmer

If you want something lighter than this pile of books, you can visit: elttraining. There are plenty of videos for you to watch and learn!!!

 

 

Hit Learners with Music! They feel NO pain!

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel NO pain”

 Bob Marley

Even though I’m not a Bob Marley fan, his quote triggered my inspiration and took me to another dimension.

From just listening to music for my own personal pleasure, I went to creating song worksheets for my learners to practise their language skills.

I won’t waste any of your time, so here is my presentation in detail which took place at the 35th International Annual Convention in Greece.

Hit Learners with Music! They feel NO pain!

Many thanks to my sister for taking the time to design it!!!

I had set three aims for this presentation which were:

1. to highlight the importance of songs in an ELT setting

2. to expose teachers to various ways of exploiting songs

3. to give them strong incentives to use songs as part of their learners’ learning process

There’s a poll at the end of this post. Please, vote and let me know if I met my aims!!!

Cutting to the chase

At the very beginning of the presentation, the audience was exposed to a quick input session about the use and benefits of songs in an ELT setting. That way I got them prepared for what would be coming up next!

Once my short input session was over, I got the audience to listen to a medley (my lead-in) and I forbade them to reveal or scream out loud the name of the artist.

After listening, I got them in pairs to discuss and share any information that they knew about the artist. That definitely got them energized and increased their participation.

One minute later, when the hustle and bustle had calmed down, I asked them to check their guesses by showing them some info about the artist – this was my checking of predictions stage!

Then I introduced them to a really cool website which enables them to practice their favourite songs with only one click. Here’s the link to it.  At this stage, everybody got a taste of the song which would be our guinea pig for the session. Aha! We did some karaoke! Not everybody participated butI had lots of fun.

The karaoke ended though and I had to bring myself to reality and continue the presentation!

At this point, I should mention that I had provided the audience with a 10-page handout which we would use for practice purposes throughout the presentation.

So to kick off the practice stage of the presentation I asked the audience to turn to the page where the song worksheet could be found.

Here’s the song worksheet:

Song Worksheet

I explained the procedure for each task separately and checked my instructions so to make sure that everybody had understood. Ι should  also mention that Ι had separated the song into four segments. One for each task. Therefore, I managed to follow Jim Scrinever’s view, which is that the tasks should be graded and not the recording.

(Here are the segments for each task: Task 1, Task 2, Task 3 & Task 4)

Since the selected song is an inexhaustible source for practice, I continued with some comprehension questions and then elicitation of functional language (phrases to indicate anger and that you want to get revenge). Here’s the other worksheet:

Worksheet

After the audience had successfully identified the phrases and matched them with their respective definitions, I digressed a bit and focused on another language aspect which was pronunciation. I didn’t really go  in detail, I just pointed the opportunities for pronunciation focus which this song provides us with.

Before saying goodbye to my lovely and really hard-working audience, I set a quiz (many thanks to SMARTNotebook) for them to solve so to consolidate the pieces of information that we had covered and raise their awareness of how a song-based lesson can be designed and delivered.

Key Points To Remember

  1. Medley (lead-in stage of the song based lesson)
  2. Follow-up speaking activity & slide with artist’s info (activating schemata and checking of predictions)
  3. Karaoke (instructional scaffolding: introduce the audience to the song, expose them to its lyrics so to work through the song worksheet successfully)
  4. Listening tasks (focus on listening skills, point that the tasks should be graded and not the recording)
  5. Comprehension questions (to check understanding and ability to infer mood)
  6. Functional language (for vocabulary acquisition / enrichment)
  7. Pronunciation (to focus on vowel sounds and their discrimination)
  8. Quiz (to consolidate the input theory and check understanding)

That’s all for now! Hope you find this post useful and informative!!!

Here’s my PowerPoint presentation:

The logo of my presentation! Many thanks to my sister for taking the time to design it!!! :D

Getting inspired!

“Inspiration Ahead” 

Have you ever felt the need to express yourself? To scream your lungs out?

inspiration_road1

Well, that happened to me almost four months ago, while I was listening to music and surfing the Net. I felt like I had to take action and get myself and perhaps others inspired. How was I supposed to do that? No idea!

You see inspiration hasn’t got an on/off switch. It just hits you like music. And that’s exactly what happened in my case. I got hit by music and inspiration at the same time.

You ask what happened after that punching and kicking? Well, I got myself in serious trouble, because once an idea settles in my brain it can’t be pulled out!

So I started planning my next move: I did some research, charged my batteries  and set off for my journey.

Heading to Ithaca 

“Hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.” – C.P. Cavafy

Cavafy describes the way in which we should deal with things perfectly. I wished my journey to TESOL Convention would be long and full of discovery and it certainly was.

During the past four months I worked really hard to ensure that my arrival to “Ithaca” would represent nothing else but the knowledge which I had acquired along the way.

I think I managed to do that!!! 🙂

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