Your progress on CELTA is assessed on two things – your teaching practice (you’ll usually teach 8 or 9 lessons in total) and on four written assignments. Candidates on CELTA courses often get worried about these assignments, but in this video I’m going to give you all the information you need about them, about their place in the course, and - hang around to the end - what the deal is if you fail one.
Hi- I’m Jo Gakonga and if it’s the first time we’re meeting, I’ve been a CELTA tutor for over 20 years and as an assessor I’ve visited more than 50 centres that run the course, so I know a bit about it. I’ve also got a website at elt-training.com where you can find support for your teaching journey whether you’re just starting out or if you’re a bit further down the line and looking for some ideas.
The CELTA assignments. There are four of them, they’re all quite short (a maximum of 1000 words each) and they are designed to be very practical and bring together what you’ve been learning in input sessions, in teaching practice and feedback, in your observation of your peers and experienced teachers, and in some wider reading on the subject. These aren’t in any particular order, but let’s look at them in turn.
Language related task. This is the one that people often struggle with, particularly if English is your first language and you haven’t really thought about grammar before. You have to analyse some pieces of language as you would if you were teaching them. This means thinking about the meaning and how you’d explain it and checking that your learners had understood; the form and what’s difficult about it; and anything about the pronunciation that the learners would need to know. It’s exactly what you have to do with any language that you’re going to take into class and teach, so it’s a crucial skill to develop.
Focus on the Learner. This one asks you to take a learner or sometimes the group of learners that you’re teaching, and essentially do a needs analysis for them. Again, exactly the kind of thing you’ll have to do as a teacher. Find out why they’re learning English, analyse the kind of mistakes they’re making and suggest some material that would help them.
The Language Skills Related Task is about materials development – making your own tasks that you could use in class for receptive and productive skills based on a reading or a listening text.
The final one is Lessons from the Classroom and it’s an opportunity for you to show that you can reflect on your teaching strengths and action points. There’s a strong thread throughout CELTA on reflection, because being more aware of what you do will help you to develop, so this is a very practical one, too.
So there you have it – the four assignments. These were just thumbnails and I’ve got other videos on each one on the site, but how do you know how to do them? Well, that’s pretty easy – you’ll be told!
Your centre will always give you clear guidelines on how to do each assignment – this means that a tutor will explain it to you and there’ll be written guidelines, too. Some centres give you a checklist of what to make sure to include, or a list of things that people often miss out, so you can avoid those problems. You can also ask your tutor if you’re not sure about something. So, there’s lots of support – make sure you read the rubric and any examples or checklists carefully – they’ll help.
But what if you don’t get it all right? Obviously, it’s good to do your best, but it’s not a huge problem if you get a few things wrong the first time because you can resubmit each one of the assignments ONCE. You hand it in, your tutor will give you feedback, tell you what you need to change - you do this, and it’s fine.
So we have three possible grades:
· Pass (first submission)
· Pass on resubmission
It doesn’t matter whether you pass the first or second submission in terms of your final CELTA grade – they’re treated the same and sometimes you might have to resubmit for quite small things – just tweaking it, really, so AND THIS IS IMPORTANT - don’t worry if you have to resubmit an assignment. It’s OK and very normal. There’s no ‘above standard’ grade for the assignments. Any Pass B or Pass A grades are decided on your teaching practice, not your assignments. So, do the assignments well enough, but put the majority of your efforts into the teaching practice, because that’s what really counts.
But what if you resubmit and it’s still not right and you fail the assignment? This can happen, of course, but it’s not very common. The good news is that even if you fail one, you can still pass the course as long as you can show in your teaching practice that you’ve demonstrated the skills that the assignment tests. So, if you fail the Language Related Task but you’ve shown that you can analyse language in your lesson plans, for example, this would be OK. The only restriction is that you can’t get a pass A if you’ve failed an assignment.
If you fail two assignments, you can’t pass the course, it’s an automatic fail and this can happen, but it’s INCREDIBLY rare for people to fail the course because of the assignments.
The one final thing I should mention is to remind you that Plagiarism is cheating. If you copy an assignment, download one from the internet or something like that, most centres take this very seriously and will fail it so make sure you don’t do this! Do your own work, follow the rubrics and your tutor’s advice and feedback and the assignments will be a piece of cake!Good luck with them!