We are almost half way through the CELTA course and it is admirable that all of us have had such a tremendous growth curve. Personally, I know I have become much more confident about standing in front of a classroom full of students and talking about different aspects of English language. I discovered the very first day that it was important to establish a good rapport with the students and be comfortable talking with them.
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I learned it was also important to engage students in conversation rather than assume the role of a traditionalteacher. When Guy commented on September 13, after my first lesson, that I established a good rapport with the students and marked my performance on “ building/maintaining a good rapport” above the standard, I felt more comfortable from the second lesson onwards. I think I also did well in class management from the beginning. I made sure I kept all students involved in the ongoing activity.
In the third week, Guy as well as my peers commented that I dealt well with the student arriving late, and also another student asking a question which I did not know the answer to but confidant enough to use my ipad to search for the correct answer and gave it to her. I think my class management skills have only improved since then. Also on October 4, my forth lesson, Gui wrote: “ well done” in the additional notes on my ability to focus accurately and clearly on specific lexis and grammar (meaning, form, phonology) and to include effective use of the white board or other visual support.
Guy also commented on my first lesson TP feedback that I did a good job explaining some difficult lexis i. e. effortless, lean meat… I think I have developed adequate skills to teach lexis. (300) I haven’t done a very good job at providing productive practice to students because I don’t time my lessons too well. During my first and third lesson, students didn’t have enough time for speaking or even practicing the grammar thought at the end of the lesson.
In my TP feedback on September 13, Guy suggested that I should give students a “ restrict time limit” to avoid wasting so much time on every task. Gui also commented in my TP feedback from my third lesson, on September 27, that although I was able to contextualize well but not economically and consequently not enough time for even a controlled practice. However, I feel the area I really need to develop and work on in future is my lesson planning. Since the beginning of the course, I have never felt comfortable with my lesson plans and it has not improved yet.
The lack of detailed information is still there, even in my latest lesson plan. I’ve been advised by both Guy and Gui to include more information in my plans about analyzing the language used in each lesson and identifying potential problems and how to respond to them. Another area that I am very self-conscious of is my own oral and written language. I am not an English native speaker and I constantly think that I may use inaccurate language when I am speaking in the class.
As Guy has drawn my attention to this point in my stage one progress record on September 22, I need to provide accurate and appropriate models of both oral and written language in the classroom. (270) I must add that I have gained a lot by observing both experienced and CELTA trainee teachers. I think I have gained most by observing my CELTA colleagues. I have learnt from their mistakes and picked up many good techniques from them. Observing Guy in the first week of the class was a big bonus. He was so much at ease in class, so much at home.
He made the students feel comfortable and involved his Intermediate English students in the process of teaching and learning. His lesson thought me it is very important to have an interesting lead in and connect it smoothly into the main aim of the lesson. It was also great to observe Hayley because it showed how exciting a grammar practice can be to students. Hayley prepared a police-thief game for the students to investigate a crime using present perfect tense. I found it a very effective method of practicing the language for students and at the same time they enjoyed speaking English.
I learned about collocation when I observed John’s and Martina’s lesson on lexis. John allowed the students to speak about different types of relationships and elicited the words that go side by side together such as: ‘ married to’ or ‘ mother-in-law’. Martina also did the same with eliciting the focus lexis which were comparative and superlative adjectives. Observing James made me realize the effect of proper use of voice when he used his firm voice to say: ‘ liar’ while instructing a complicated game. (250)