Great tips to prepare for CELTA

Great tips to prepare for CELTA

CELTA is an exciting experience you will remember for a very long time. You will not forget this intensive training and your hectic schedule during this period. Should I have known about the intensity and pressure of the course, I would have prepared for it better, and it could have been less stressful.

Here are some helpful tips for you to prepare for CELTA:

Tip 1: Do background reading

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You should do some background reading.  You may wonder why. Believe me, you will not have a lot of time during the course. You should read about teaching the language, they can serve as a good preparation reading for CELTA. Here are some recommended books:

  1. “Learning Teaching” by Jim Scrivener
  2. “The Practice of English Language Teaching” by Jeremy Harmer

These books are probably the best methodology books on the market at the moment. You’ll find them invaluable for your future teaching as they put things in a simple, easy-to-understand way, they’re also a great way of preparing for the course so that you can get as much as possible out of it.

Here are some other useful books:

  1. “How to Teach English” by Jeremy Harmer
  2. “Teach English As a Foreign Language: A Teach Yourself Guide” by David Riddell
  3. “Teaching Practice. A guide for teachers in training” by Gower, Roger, Phillips, Diane, Walters, Steve.
  4. “Learning To Teach English” by Peter Watkins
  5. A Course in Language Teaching” by Penny Ur
  6. Books by H. Douglas Brown

Read about those parts of the course that you do not feel secure. If you are not confident in teaching new vocabulary, read about interesting activities of teaching new words. If you are uncertain about grammar presentation, make sure you have prepared for it properly before the course.

Read about the different levels of language proficiency, the features and the characteristics of these levels. It will be easier to teach if you know the specifics of Language levels.

If you’re a novice teacher, get familiar with ELT terms, like ‘rapport’, CCQs, fossilization, etc. Read more here.  

Tip 2: Learn to plan lessons

When I did my CELTA (Yerevan, 2013), I had had the teaching experience of about 7 years. But during the course, I felt that lesson planning was not as easy as I thought it could be; I used to plan my lessons with a required template at school. The template used in the CELTA course had different sections and requirements. CELTA lesson plan will take more time and scrupulous approach to write.

Get to know how to do warm-up activities or lead-ins. Read to understand the difference between the practice and production stage of a lesson. Commonly, they use PPP lesson plan logics in CELTA where there is a clear distinction between practice and production stage.  

You may be given a coursebook with a marked lesson to teach. You should decide how to teach the new material, and how your students should practice it.

Read teachers’ books of the  English coursebooks to see how to develop a logical lesson, to sequence the activities, to prepare the students for the reading or listening and learn other skills. CELTA trainers may require you to prepare supplementary material for the lesson. You will need handouts and other worksheets for the lesson.  You will be expected to spice up your lesson with interesting pair and group work activities.

Tip 3: Learn to write lesson objectives and goals

As lesson planning starts with writing lesson objectives and goals, you should do some reading on how to write lesson objectives and aims. For CELTA you will need to write now only main lesson objectives but also personal and subsidiary aims. Unlearn what you used to write in lesson plans in your schools or institutions, CELTA has its lesson plan template.  You should also learn to differentiate between generic or unclear and specific or clear lesson aims.  Read about how to write effective and specific lesson aims and make sure that your lesson plan is based on this. You may find Bloom’s taxonomy as a very good source to be able to write good lesson aims. It is really helpful, and you will learn how to structure the lesson procedure and stages.   It explains how we should outline the classification of learning objectives based on cognitive processes of a learner. Personally, I found it very useful. Unfortunately, I had to read it during the course. Had I been smarter, I would have read it earlier.

To sum up, make sure you do good preparation before your CELTA starts; it will save you time, give you confidence and help you reduce the stress.

Lusine Stepanyan

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