Sunday, 23 July 2017

July 3 #CELTAchat summary

Many thanks to Annie Thomson @anniethomson78 for volunteering to write the summary for our 3 July #CELTAchat on the following topic: 

July 3rd A #CELTAchat summary by Annie Thomson

It was a select gathering J of Tweeters @fionaljp, @bellinguist, @GioLic1976, @admiralwamy and @anniethomson78 sharing thoughts about whether TP points for trainees are always coursebook-based and if so, is this best practice?

Teaching Practice (TP) points whether written or oral are in some ways one of the most challenging parts of running a CELTA course. What can we use to meet both student and trainee needs?

The reality
It seems like a lot of us do use coursebook-based TP points. This may be because these are provided by the institutions where the CELTA is running and tutors are expected to use them.
The question quickly moved on to whether this was useful or not, especially when these coursebooks can be very dated (I love the Cutting Edge series but can’t believe I still have to work with the text about the ‘young’ Olsen twins!). Of course, we can get trainees to rewrite and update texts where appropriate, but that’s a lot of work, and for some trainees that may be asking too much, especially early on in the course.

Most of us try to pick and choose the most interesting/appropriate parts of the coursebook for TP points, but this is not always possible with restrictions on how much coursebook is available per course. There was some agreement though, that it is good to mix these with non coursebook-based points where possible. For example, the last trainee of the TP may extend the topic/text/language point beyond the coursebook.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using coursebooks for TP points?


-Trainees will need to be able to use and exploit the coursebook in future so this is a useful skill to learn

-Trainees will also be able to see how tutors use coursebooks to plan lessons

-Coursebooks have Teacher Books and Resource Books to give more support to trainees, e.g. with guidance and extra ideas.

-Students can have a sense of progress and see some coherence over the course

-It’s a time saver for tutors, especially with large groups of trainees. To some extent, these can be written/sketched out beforehand.

- Trainees benefit from seeing tutors planning without the coursebook.

- Relevance of coursebooks to students’ and trainees’ lives and contexts (a real example I have had recently:  trainees from the USA doing CELTA in Ecuador using a UK-based coursebook!)

So a coursebook isn’t used as the basis for TP points, then what is?  

As well as heaps of authentic listening and reading material, there were a number of good ideas of sources and materials to use.

Just because you’re not using the coursebook, doesn’t mean there is no support!
It was noted in the chat that this sort of approach would really depend on both/all tutors being committed to this type of TP point and there may well be trainees who are less willing to be creative, so as with anything, it may not be best in all cases.

Input and assignments
The discussion naturally led on to discussing how to make the link between TP points, input and assignments stronger and more useful for trainees. A lot of people were in favour of setting Language Skills Assignment as the first one of the course so that trainees gain confidence in designing their own lessons and using authentic materials early on in the course. In addition, input sessions on authentic materials will often double as a way to revisist and further explore receptive skills work.

So there seemed to be some acknowledgement that TP points are usually coursebook-based and there are some clear reasons for doing this, namely to enable trainees to work with and exploit coursebooks in their future teaching. However, there was a strong feeling that TP points should not be exclusively coursebook-based, with the internet there are more than enough sources of lesson ideas as well as authentic materials.
Here is the link to the Storify in case I missed anything.
A big thank you to everyone who participated and especially to Fiona @fionaljp , @bellinguist, and  @GioLic1976 for moderating 😊
Annie Thomson