Now, I can’t sugar coat this- this is another tip that will work but that comes with a whole bucket load of hard work. The truth is that good planning will usually mean good teaching. Time spent on your plan will be time well spent. It’ll help your lesson go well AND it will show your tutor what you are thinking and how much work you’ve put in.
This doesn’t mean that your plan should be 40 pages long. It needs to be a useful document that you can use in class, but it also needs to show your tutor your thought processes.
A good plan has:
·Useful, appropriate, well articulated aims
·Personal aims that reflect the feedback you’ve been given in previous lessons
·A logical, appropriately detailed procedure that probably follows one of the frameworks you’ll be given on CELTA
·Stage aims that show you understand what the benefits of each stage are for the learners
·Anticipated problems and solutions that show you have a clear idea of the potential difficulties with activities and language points in the lesson and how to deal with them.
·Language analysis that shows you understand the meaning, form and pronunciation issues of the language that you are teaching, whether that’s grammar, vocabulary or functional language.
This is a lot! You’ll be taught how to plan lessons on CELTA and given models and feedback on your planning, but if you want more support with this, or want to start learning about it before, I’ve got a great course calledthat you might find useful.
This is what the performance indicators say about planning for a Pass A candidate:
Candidates can plan effectively with minimal guidance. They can analyse target language thoroughly and select appropriate resources and tasks for successful language and language skills development.
So let’s break that down a bit.
Plan effectively with minimal guidance.
The descriptors for a Pass candidate say ‘plan effectively with guidance’ so the difference between a Pass and a higher grade is in part to do with the amount of support you need to plan. Remember that these descriptors are for THE END OF THE COURSE – not all the way through. You’ll be given lots of support with planning as you go through CELTA and you should take advantage of it. There will be designated times when you have Guided Lesson Planning or Assisted Lesson Planning (GLP ALP) with your tutor and what’s important here is that you are as prepared as you can be for them. If you are given a point to teach, or a page in the book or an exercise, make sure that you look at it carefully BEFORE you meet your tutor to talk about it. Make sure that you’ve thought about how you want to teach it. Make a note of questions you want to ask. Should I teach this vocabulary before they do the reading or after? Will they need me to play the recording twice for this section? Should I do this exercise in break out rooms or let them do it on their own first?
DON’T come to the meeting without having looked at what you are supposed to be teaching at all.
Another part of the descriptor for a Pass A says that you need to be able to select appropriate resources and tasks for successful language and language skills development. So, as you go on in the course, think about how you can adapt the materials in the book to bring them to life and to fit the needs and interests of YOUR learners. Think about supplementing them with material from other sources. Towards the end of the course, you might want to make your own lessons using authentic material like a song or a YouTube video or an interesting article or blog post. There are lots of links to useful resources in the free .on my site and also other great ideas for additional tasks that work well in
So, showing that you can plan more independently using the coursebook and other materials is a good thing. BUT- and listen carefully to what I say here- if you feel unsure, ASK YOUR TUTOR FOR HELP. It’s much better that you get some support and the lesson goes well than you feel you MUST do it alone and you fall into a hole because you are a novice and you didn’t see the problem a tutor could have pointed out to you. You need to be the judge of how confident you feel about planning independently, but if in doubt, ASK!
What else is important about planning to get a higher grade? You have to show that you can analyse target language thoroughly. This goes back to knowing about or at least being able to research, grammar and vocabulary- showing that you can anticipate the issues learners will have with the meaning, form and pronunciation of the language you are teaching and this means pulling it apart.
You can use the language notes at the back of most coursebooks for this, or a grammar book such as Swan’s Practical English Usage or Parrott’s excellent Grammar for English Language Teachers, but if you like my approach, you could also try my course. This covers all of the tenses, modals, conditionals and includes concept check questions to ask learners to check that they understand and downloadable guides to anticipated problems with form and pronunciation. If you want help with , I’ve got a course to help with that, too.
So there you have it, my top tips for getting the best result possible on your CELTA course. You can see that none of it is easy, but the hard work will pay off, I promise! Good luck with your CELTA course and I hope that you get as much joy out of teaching as I do.