The following is a journal of one of our CELTA trainers as he goes through each day of the CELTA course. Here is what goes on behind the scenes in the very challenging CELTA program. Specific references to a particular group or time frame are not the most recent CELTA course. Click here for the previous article: Behind the Scenes of CELTA: Day 3 to Day 5
DAY 6: Starting the Second Week with Grammar
There were a few slightly haggard faces this morning. Most people confessed they had had better weekends, but hopefully most people have broken the back of the first assignment – the Focus on the Learner – and have got their first lesson plan pretty much sketched out.
This morning’s session is what I see as the core session of the Course: we looked at how to help students understand grammar. This builds on work done last week on vocabulary and the principles established in the navigation lesson on the first day: the principles of guiding students and not lecturing, of helping students work out things for themselves. My maxim here is: “Ask, don’t tell”. Never tell your students anything instead ask them questions to guide them to working it out.
We look at three fundamental approaches for teaching language/grammar: a situational presentation (a bit old fashioned but a skill that all teachers need to have), teaching through a text (the approach that course books almost always use) and a Test, Teach, Test Approach. We also touch on the dark art of Concept Questions…..something we’ll come back to later.
Here’s a little taster.
Imagine you are at home, sitting in your front room watching telly. There is somebody else with you, maybe a partner, a friend or someone in your family. The phone goes. It is on a table in the corner of the room. You stand up to go and answer it. What do you say to the other person in the room?
Most people come up with: “I’ll get it”.
Fantastic, this is the tense I want to teach you, Future Simple. You may not know why you use Future Simple here, though, so a couple of (concept) questions to help you discover this. The answers are really easy, coming up with the question less so!
- When do you answer the phone? Answer: After you speak or in the future.
- When do you decide to answer the phone? Answer: When you speak.
Thus you can tell me that we use the Future Simple when we want to talk about an action that happens in the future but that we decide to do in the present. It is often referred to as a “spontaneous decision”.
There’s a piece of grammar for the day and a good way to teach it!
About the Author
Rick Ansell is the Senior Teacher Trainer at Saxoncourt Teacher Training. He has been teaching English since 1985 and has been training people to teach English since 1994. He loves seeing people realise there is a better way of helping people learn than the ways they were subjected to at school. He also loves watching people come to discover their own language as they realise how and why they use it the way they do. When I’m not teaching, he enjoys mountaineering and is an active fell runner, competing regularly on the British hills.