CELTA as a teaching refresher

31-Oct-2011

My name is Ania and I am 29 years old. I was born and now live in Wroclaw in Poland. I graduated from Teacher Training College in Wroclaw. This school provided me with the essential knowledge on methodology and gave me an opportunity to develop teaching skills during many hours of practical classes. After obtaining my B.A. Degree and Teacher Training College Diploma in 2005 I did postgraduate studies in translation and received my MA degree in translation in 2008.

First, I taught English to children in kindergartens, and then I worked for a language school.Finally,I decided to become independent and started giving private lessons. Now, I have been teaching English to Korean children for 5 years and I only have one to one classes. In October 2010, five years after graduating from the college I decided to take a CELTA course at International House Wroclaw. I felt I really needed some inspiration, some kind of a reminder of college times, as I had forgotten what it was like to learn things. And I must say that the course succeeded in meeting my expectations. In my opinion a CELTA course is a great experience for both those who would like to get some practical teaching skills and those who want to refresh their knowledge in a teaching field. During the course, I had a chance to remind myself of the basic principles of teaching as well as go back to college times where I first did a peer observation. I think it was very beneficial. Watching others teaching gave me a chance to focus on the things that I can’t notice while I am teaching myself. It provokes many reflections on the teacher’s role and students’ behaviour. Apart from the theoretical knowledge that we were provided with during the input sessions, I learned a lot from fellow trainees during peer observation, video lessons, observing experienced teachers in class and our tutors applying techniques they were teaching us about.

Most of the things I already did in college like: teaching practice, writing evaluations, feedback on TP, input sessions and assisted lesson planning. For me, there were two techniques that were distinctive for the CELTA course. The first one was MPFA (Meaning Pronunciation Form Appropriacy), which includes all essential elements of the target language in a fixed order. It was a lot of work to analyse the language before every lesson and think over anticipated problems that students might have with it, but it was totally worth it. This is all the student needs to know a word. It is a complete set a teacher needs to remember in order to teach a new language successfully. The second tool was using CCQs, which are Concept Checking Questions. After introducing a new language it is essential to check if the students understood it and CCQs seem to be a perfect tool to do this. Of course, it is one of many methods that could be used. But this particular one is a really clever trick.

To sum up, those were very stressful as well as successful four weeks of my life. I am happy I decided to take this course. I learned a lot, got an opportunity to practise my skills not to mention the wonderful people I met there: tutors who were real professionals, fellow trainees whom I shared hard and inspiring moments with and also students who were so very involved and supportive!

The next posting in this series will appear on Monday 7th November 2011. Don’t miss it!

Ania

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