Nov 18

CELTA TP Potholes - Don't rush through feedback

Teaching Practice potholes
Racing through exercises
One of the problems that CELTA trainees (and novice teachers) have with teaching practice and in lessons is that they 'fly with the fastest' or rush through the feedback stages of controlled practice exercises or comprehension questions. If this is you, here are some top tips from an experienced CELTA tutor to help you to get this vital stage right!.
Video transcript

As an experienced CELTA trainer, I see a lot of trainees falling into very predictable potholes in teaching practice. Mistakes that are easy to make but also easy to avoid if you can see them in advance. If you want a road map to avoid one of the BIG ones, keep watching!

I’m Jo Gakonga from – I’ve been a CELTA trainer and assessor for over 20 years and I make videos to help people like you through what can be the pretty intense business of a CELTA course.

If you enjoy this, I’ve got a whole series of videos for you on these kinds of avoidable mistakes on my site- and don’t forget to like and subscribe- I make a new video every week.

Teaching practice can be a bit of a nerve-racking experience and maybe this is part of the reason, but trainees often end up rushing through feedback on exercises, whether that’s controlled practice for new language, or maybe comprehension questions on a reading or listening text.

I completely empathise with this, because it’s a problem I had myself as a novice teacher. For me, it also stems from not wanting to bore people and so perhaps moving a bit fast. This might be OK for some of the learners in your class, but what about the ones that need a bit more time to process things?

It’s an easy trap to fall into. You give learners an exercise, you get the correct answers from the learners who volunteer (the faster processers), you ask ‘do you all understand?’ they all say ‘yes’ (of course they do- who wants to be the one to admit that they don’t?) and you move on. Hmmmm. Can you see what the problem might be here?

But what can you do to change this? Here are a few pointers to make feedback on exercises a bit more productive:

When learners are doing an exercise, monitor purposefully. This means moving around (whether this is in the classroom or by visiting the BORS online) and checking how easy the learners are finding the exercise. If they’re mostly getting everything right, it’s fine to go through feedback quickly, but you won’t know unless you see what they’re doing while they’re working.

Allow time for your learners to discuss answers in pairs or small groups before you have whole class feedback. This really helps less confident people especially.

When you have class feedback, don’t just ask the whole class for the answer – you’ll always get the same one or two answering. Nominate. Call individuals by name and make sure that everyone gets a go. Focus on the learners who you know might take a bit more time and ask them too. If you’re online, you could get them to all write the answer in the chatbox and then wait until you say to post (so that the fast typists aren’t always first up) so that you can see everyone’s answers.

When you go through exercises, make sure that you don’t just get the right answer. Make sure the learners can tell you WHY it’s the right answer. This also slows things down an bit and gives people who didn’t get it to have a chance to understand.

And finally, NEVER ask ‘do you understand?’ – it’s just not a helpful question. If you want to know if they understand ask a question that will CHECK that they do.

I hope that those thoughts help you with your teaching practice (and your teaching after CELTA) and check out the links below for other useful material from my site. See you soon, Bye.

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