6 Ways CELTA’s Teaching Practices Can Improve Your Lessons
Are you deciding to take the plunge and sign up for that CELTA course? Or perhaps you have just earned your TEFL qualification and you are curious about the more in-depth course work that CELTA offers.
Whatever your reasons, we have compiled some of the best teaching practices from CELTA for budding or qualified teachers.
Preparing for Your CELTA Lesson
It’s a no-brainer that each lesson needs a plan. These simple preparation tips can help foolproof your lesson:
- Label each stage of your lesson, so that it flows in a logical order. For example: Reading for gist, controlled practice, lead-in, etc.
- Print out your lesson plan double-sided so that you do not need to keep track of multiple pieces of paper.
- Go through your lesson plan and specify how that activity will help you achieve the curriculum outcomes.
Structuring Your Lesson Effectively
There are tons of resources online on how to write up your lesson plan. Not only does a structured lesson set the tone for the entire lesson but it also helps you stay on track.
A great tip that not many CELTA or TEFL teachers use is the following:
- Instead of just launching straight into your warmer, it is a good idea to open your lesson with a quick overview of what to expect. This will give your students an inkling into what they will be learning, and it will make sure you stick to your plan.
Lesson Time Management
Staying on time can be one of the biggest challenges in the CELTA classroom. While it can at times feel impossible to predict how long an activity will last, there are a few tricks and tips you can use to avoid losing momentum and falling behind:
- Write down the actual timings on your lesson plan. For example, if your warmer is 5 minutes long, write 09:00 – 09:05 so you can time yourself and stay on schedule.
- Don’t stress your students out by counting down. Instead, tell them when they have 5 minutes left and gently remind them again at one minute.
- If your lesson plan consists of a multi-part exercise, work out how long each section will take and then tell your students when they should be onto the next section.
Want more? Check out this article on lesson planning.
Giving clear instructions in the classroom
How well you give instructions is crucial to a successful lesson. If you do not give clear commands, it will create mass confusion, and in the blink of an eye, you will have lost all your engagement. Or worse, your students will just sit staring at you silently.
Here are some of the best ways to give clear instructions in the CELTA classroom:
- Don’t use jargon or slang English and be direct when giving instructions.
- Make use of instruction checking questions to ensure your students have understood what you want them to do.
- If you are using worksheets, first demonstrate what you want the students to complete before handing out the papers.
Giving Constructive Feedback and Correction
One of the hardest parts about teaching English as a foreign language is error correction. It’s always tricky to know when to correct students. You do not want to over-correct them and destroy their confidence or upset the flow of the task by nit-picking every single mistake. At the same time, you definitely need to address errors when they are made.
If you are having trouble with this part in the classroom, apply some of these tips to your next lesson:
- When possible, make notes of students’ mistakes so that you can address them either at the end of the lesson or as part of your recap next lesson.
- Make sure to include positive things in your feedback and instead of saying “that’s wrong”, rather say “I think the answer is…”
- Always make sure you give your students sufficient time to answer you. If they are struggling, you can try prompts to help them remember or even ask one of their peers to nudge them in the right direction.
- When listening to students, don’t interrupt their flow. Instead, let them continue talking and rather make a note to address it at the end of the activity or class.
Learning and teaching grammar is rarely a favorite part of language lessons for students and teachers. With English especially, it’s one thing to know the rules, but it’s a different ballgame to teach them effectively and ensure that students understand and apply the rules correctly.
Here are some ways you can make teaching grammar in your classroom less of a headache:
- When presenting grammar, it’s important to let your students know if they will be getting a handout or if they need to take notes.
- If the form is tricky, but the meaning is simple, focus on helping your students construct the right meaning instead of the form.
- Avoid questions like “can you give me an example sentence using the Present Perfect”. You did not learn to speak English like that, so don’t expect the same from your students.
- Make sure your questions are very specific and highlight the positive, negative and questions forms where needed.
So there you have it, some of the best CELTA teaching methods that you can start using today. Whether you are in the throws of your course and still getting to grips with lesson planning or you are already teaching abroad, these tips will make your lessons that much easier.
About the Author
Lauren Melnick is a South African travel blogger and ESL teacher currently living in Ubon, Thailand. When she isn’t making lesson plans and watching nursery rhymes on YouTube, you can find her eating up a storm, taking selfies with dinosaurs, and planning her next adventure.