My Tip number 2 is this- listen to your CELTA tutors and take their advice seriously. CELTA tutors in my experience are a very hard-working bunch. They’re not in it for the money (trust me on this!) They know a lot about the course and about the assessment criteria and about how you can be successful and they want to see you grow and develop as a teacher. They want to help you learn and they want you to pass.
And..most importantly, they’ll be telling you, VERY regularly, exactly what you have to do to improve. After every teaching practice, you’ll have oral feedback as a group and you’ll also have individual written feedback telling you exactly what you did well and exactly what you need to work on now. There are at least two and sometimes three tutorials on top of this that summarise your progress and tell you what to do next. Exactly. Specifically. According to the 42 criteria that Cambridge set. If you follow this advice, you’ll do well.
Now, here’s a little something to think about. Your tutors are telling you how to PASS the course. You might not always agree with them. You might think that the methods you are learning wouldn’t work in a different context – maybe in large classes or with young children, for example- and the truth is that there are many different ways to learn and teach a language, BUT CELTA follows a communicative methodology that is supported by research and you’ve paid your money to learn to teach in this way. So, don’t argue- listen to them, and they’ll point you in the right direction to do well on the course.
You might also disagree with them because it’s hard to hear challenging feedback. They tell you your instructions weren’t clear and you think – ‘well, the learners did the exercise, so they can’t have been that bad’ and you may have a point, but being defensive about this won’t help you to learn. A better way to move forward is to ask ‘how could I make them clearer next time?’. Your tutors are there to help you succeed- listen to them and try to do what they suggest.
This all sounds easy enough but it isn’t. For example, if you have trouble giving clear instructions (and it’s a very common problem), just knowing that you need to be clearer isn’t enough. You need to think about how you will give the instruction. Plan it. Script it. Rehearse it. This is the way to improve. But, you’ll say, that takes a lot of time. Yes. It does. I know. This is why changing your practice is hard and it won’t happen by itself.
One of the
performance indicators for a Pass A is:
Candidates can reflect on key strengths and weaknesses and consistently use these reflections to develop their teaching skills.
So, you need to show that you can reflect on what you are doing, listen to your tutor’s advice and act on it and that’s my Tip number 2- Do as you are told!
In the next video, we’re going to look at another way that you can maximise your chance of a great CELTA result – I call it ‘Watch and Learn’.