One lesson before and after CELTA

I was recently covering another teacher and the lesson I was doing reminded me that I did the same one almost a year ago, before CELTA and some training sessions. I was happy to find this year-old plan and I think it’s interesting to compare these two lesson plans. Unfortunately, the integrity of the comparison is doubtful since at that time I knew something about teaching and I had the teacher’s book (winning strategy, right?). Moreover, the situations are different. One year ago I taught a group of about 6 students while a week ago it was an individual student via skype. But still there are some noticeable differences.

I decided to name the stages as they are in the book to keep it short. And I confess it’s not a really good lesson Idid a week ago, I just followed the book because I was too tired and, yes, lazy to do my  best (covering another teacher, you know – I’m not usually like that, believe me) and it’s what I regret doing now.

Before

After

Lead-in

Done because it’s in the book. Open class discussion. Real questions not asked Done because I know what the aim of this stage is. Real questions asked, discussion emerged, but timing was good.

Vocabulary

I handed out cards, cut in halves for matching in pairs, checked in open class feedback, discussed the meaning with translation. Used the exercise from the book. Discussed the meaning using CCQs and asked real questions personalizing sentences.

Checked how the student remembers the words with the book closed.

Listening

Done as it was described in the book: gist task, matching halves of sentences and checking by listening again. There were difficulties with understanding the text (to my surprise because speaking has been very good so far – it was the first time I worked with this student) so we listened twice for gist and second task we did without listening for the second time.

Grammar (Past Simple)

Explained the rules and formulas on the board. Students did exercises individually and then checked together. I used the listening exercise to get examples, elicited rules and formulas asking CCQs. We did the exercises with Demand High ELT method applied and a great deal of personalization. Much more time but better results.

Pronunciation

Did as it is suggested by the authors of the book. Skipped this stage because of lack of time (timing is my biggest problem I guess)

Speaking

Students tell each other about themselves answering questions from the book. The student answered the questions from the book and my own real questions.

Extra tasks

Discussing films about the topic (using pictures in the book) none

 

Then I thought what I would do if I had to teach a group now.

  • In Lead-in there would be pair work and open class feedback with real questions
  • Vocab – the same but personalization task would be done in pairs
  • Listening – I’d rather listen once and check the second task by listening again. There would be pair work before checking as a whole class
  • Just more pair work with grammar
  • I’d do pronunciation differently from the exercise in the book as it is too complicated there. I’d give the students 3 examples of verbs with the –ed ending and asked them to match them to transcription and then elicit the rule in open class. After that I would make a categorizing dictation followed by checking in pairs and discussing all together.
  • Speaking would also be based on pair work like one year ago, but I would ask students to come up with follow-up questions. Another option might be to transform it into a mingling task depending on the number of students.

What is significantly different?

1. I realize that the aim of each stage is important to know in order to reach it. The same for the lesson aim. So, I plan consciously.

2. I get more out of tasks and try to make them more like natural conversation.

3. Elicitation appeared instead of teacher’s speech in front of the board.

4. I’d say the whole explaining stage is different.

5. There is often some kind of linking between stages.

Personal feelings

1. I now have a kind of sense of direction while planning. If I don’t like any tasks from a course book I don’t hesitate to change them, but also I don’t try to invent something incredibly outstanding as well as very complicated spending all my free time to see it fail at the lesson.

2. I spend less time planning though I always complain that I don’t enough time for that.

3. It’s really difficult to remember how I approached planning before CELTA)

4. I believe that without the teacher’s book I would do much worse one year ago.

 

Now my question is:

Am I obsessed with pair work beyond measure or it’s bearable still?

But seriously, do you remember your teaching and planning before substantial training? What are the most visible differences?

 

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6 thoughts on “One lesson before and after CELTA

  1. If your Ss are talkative, they enjoy each other’s company, and they do not overuse native language, pair work is always a good idea 🙂 I prefer pair work to huge group discussions, as it is a great opportunity for “shy” students to talk more 🙂 When it seems too dull you can always switch pairs after a couple of minutes 🙂 Works for me, but I am not a huge theorist, I just focus on what works best in my classroom 🙂

    And I don’t remember ANY planning before my CELTA 🙂 Sounds pitiful, but I was so young, I had no real experience. CELTA was a wake-up call and I am immensely grateful to all my tutors. After CELTA teaching life is much easier 🙂

    Great post! Thank you very much 🙂 Best wishes!

    • Thanks for expressing your opinion. I just got tired of writing the combination ‘pair work’) but I completely agree with your point.

      No planning before CELTA – that would make me hide behind my chair those days because a lesson plan made me feel secure and protected)

      And I believe that focusing on what’s best for your classroom is a great and successful strategy for a teacher.

  2. Nothing beats a good plan. On the flip side, I teach only speaking in Japan these days and really miss teaching grammar and reading skills. I’m not even sure how I would approach a grammar focused lesson anymore…

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