Newsletter 2021#34

Newsletter 2021 #34

Good morning

This week finds us leaving our temporary Crete island home. The weather is turning autumnal, even this far south, so we're heading back to the mainland for a bit of time in Athens. Looking forward to some 'culture'.

What have I got for you this week? My first couple of sections are aimed squarely at CELTA trainees, but the final one is useful for teachers I think, so I hope you find something interesting here, whatever your level of experience.

Something old

When you are learning to teach, having clear aims for the lesson is fundamental and often one of the areas that trainees struggle with. Some questions trainees often ask are: 'What's the difference between an aim and an objective?' 'What about main aim vs stage aim?', 'What's a SMART aim?', 'Should I use the term teaching or learning in my aims?' and  'Should I tell the learners my aims at the start of the lesson?'. If you want some thoughts on these questions, you might find this video helpful.

Something new

This section is also about CELTA - but the opposite end to planning - what happens when the lesson is over?

Teaching practice lessons, as you probably know, are either graded 'to standard' or 'below standard' (some centres also give an 'above standard' grade). Whilst the majority of lessons do pass, it can feel very disheartening when your lesson doesn't, and this is compounded because trainees are often not sure how this affects their ability to pass the whole course. Recently, someone wrote to me about this, so in this week's new video I've put together some thoughts on it - hope it's helpful.

Something borrowed

Finally, something a bit different!  Pronunciation is an area that lots of teachers shy away from. Maybe they're not sure where to start, or they're concerned about their own model or perhaps because it feels like a culturally inappropriate thing to correct someone's accent  (whose English is it anyway? Which model should you follow, even if you want to sound like a 'native speaker'?). So teachers might do a bit of drilling but basically often just leave it alone. I think that this is doing learners a disservice. It's a very reasonable thing to aim for your learners to have easily intelligible pronunciation and learners often want this. This definitely doesn't mean that they have to sound like the Queen.

There are a few people on YouTube who focus on English pronunciation (just look in the YT search bar) but this week, I discovered one I really like and I thought I'd share this with you. Her name is Hadar Shemesh and you can find her YT channel here.  Her videos are aimed at learners (rather than teachers) and she has paid courses, too, but also a lot of free videos that I think would be great to assign as homework practice. If you want an example to start you off, here's one on the notorious 'th' sound.

OK - enough for now. As always, have a great week and I'll see you next Sunday.



Want the newsletter as an email each Sunday? 

Just join up to the site (and remember to check your Junk folder if you haven't received it!) 
Created with