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CELTA COURSE CONTENT - THE TESOL SESSIONS
Have you ever sat through a class or seminar and wondered if there was a practical application to what was being taught? Or attended lectures that felt more like endurance tests in note-taking than actual learning experiences?
We’ve all been there because we’ve all experienced, at some point in our lives, a teacher standing at the head of the class talking at us.
Thankfully, this style of teaching has no place in a thriving language-learning environment. Instead, a modern language lesson is an interactive process that requires experimentation, a willingness to make mistakes, immersion into real-life situations, a genuine need to use language and a great deal of student talking (instead of time spent listening to the teacher).
SO, WHAT DOES THIS KIND OF TESOL CLASSROOM LOOK LIKE?
For one, you will not find clearly delineated rows of silent students writing in notebooks and looking at their teacher, the only speaker in the room.
Instead, the TESOL classroom has students with moveable desks facing each other, or groups of students moving around the classroom with a paper and pen in hand talking to other students while consulting the whiteboard for a word they might need, or grabbing the teacher to ask a question.
You may see a teacher milling around the classroom ducking into groups of students to listen and take notes. The teacher may move quietly from group to group without interfering until suddenly they signal an end to that phase by directing the students’ attention towards a language point or vocabulary word on the board.
Yes, there will be times when students are sitting quietly, writing in their notebooks. After all, there are vocabulary words to be recorded, grammar examples to be written down and sometimes there are writing exercises to be executed. But more often than not, a good TESOL classroom will be alive with students’ voices as they verbally play with the language they’re learning. The teacher in these scenarios is very much a resource and a facilitator. They control when one activity ends and another begins and they insert language and meaning when students are struggling to find the language they need to express themselves. This is what active learning looks like.
SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME? WHAT DOES MY CLASSROOM LOOK LIKE WHEN MY TUTORS ARE TEACHING MY TESOL SESSIONS?
For reasons of demonstration and because the process of learning is active rather than passive, your Course Sessions on language teaching will look very similar to the kinds of language classes you will be teaching.
You will not be lectured at or expected to memorize tomes of information. You will, however, learn teaching methodology through the same techniques we’re encouraging you to use in your own classroom. The process shouldn’t be silent, and it should be fun.
Your tutors will teach you about how to effectively teach grammar, for example, by demonstrating techniques on you and asking you to work in groups or pairs to analyze and discuss the tools used and how these could apply to your own TESOL classroom. Though the idea of teaching grammar often evokes fear in the hearts of first-time teachers, your trainers will demonstrate how a grammar lesson may start with something as simple as a game.
There will be no grammar trees and no lectures using sentence diagrams. The key is engagement and practical application.
You’ll also attend a TESOL Session on how to create your own authentic materials for the classroom (which is also an assignment you’ll complete on the course). Your tutor isn’t going to lecture you on the different types of authentic lessons available, expecting you to take notes and understand the theory without the practice. They’re going to engage you in learning from an authentic materials lesson they’ve created. And as you’re doing the exercises as a student, you’ll also be exposed to the methods used and asked to analyze in groups and pairs the different types of techniques you found effective for learning.
You’re in the hands of experts now. And CELTA trainers are not lecturers. They are expert educators. They have had years of experience with language learners and in training teachers; they know how to engage you in the process of becoming experts in your own right.
Here are some of the topics that your sessions cover. All sessions are practical in nature, with some foundation in theory, and demonstrate techniques that you can use immediately in the language lessons you teach.
The following areas are among those that will be covered:
• How to teach grammar and vocabulary effectively
• How to motivate your students
• How to help your students get the most out of a reading text
• How to order the stages of a lesson
• How to influence the dynamics of a classroom for the best results
• How to use teaching books and materials effectively
• How to bring authentic materials – articles, songs, stories – into the classroom
There are also sessions on a range of topics to help you find the best teaching jobs at the best schools.
These sessions include:
• Where to find the best TESOL jobs
• How to write an effective resume and cover letter
• What kinds of questions to expect in an interview
• What to expect from a TESOL contract (including housing, flights and medical care)
If you’d like to find out more about the evaluation on a CELTA course, read about our continuous assessment.