CELTA: Observations and Feedback

Photo Credit: @Doug88888 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: @Doug88888 via Compfight cc

The idea of observations and feedback is to target the areas you and your peers need to improve on so that you can teach better lessons as the course progresses.

What happens when I’m observing?
You observe your peers’ lessons and hopefully you’ll be able to pick up on things the students really enjoy so you use them in your own lessons. It does get boring at times but you can tune out for the tedious moments. Make sure you look like you’re paying attention, though. Nod your head every now and then – that should do the trick.

What happens when it’s my turn?
While you’re up there playing teacher, your peers and your trainer watch and take notes. Your trainer also reads through your plan and evaluates your performance. It’s odd to look back and have 6 pairs of beady eyes staring at your every move in silence, but once you get past your third lesson, you won’t even notice them anymore. Don’t panic (like I did), focus on your lesson and most of all, focus on your students’ reactions and respond to them naturally.

When you’re done, you’ll write a short statement about your performance. Then, your trainer writes their comments alongside yours, but doesn’t show it to you until after feedback, where the group goes over what went well with your lesson and the areas that could be improved i.e. what you screwed up. Dealing with criticism is difficult no matter how constructive it is. Try not to take it personally, but look at it as a way to ace your next lesson. Dwelling on the negative will only set you back, and there’s very little time to waste on this course.

Here are a few things you’ll be evaluated on:

  • Classroom management – How do you deal with troublemakers? How do you group your students? How do you stage fluency activities to maximise student participation?
  • Rapport – Do your students seem comfortable with you and do you get along with them well?
  • Teacher talk – Do you ramble on unnecessarily? Can you give great instructions? Can you grade your language to suit your students’ level?
  • Teacher voice – Do you speak audibly and clearly?
  • Effectiveness of activities – Do your activities help your students learn the target language?
  • Learner engagement – Are your students engrossed in your activities or are they bored and waiting for your lesson to end?
  • Conveying and checking meaning– How do you present new language? Do you ask good CCQs?
  • Modelling – Are you good at demonstrating intonation and pronunciation?
  • Correcting learner language – Do you correct on-the-spot or do you wait until the end of the lesson to bring it up?

In your day-to-day TEFL life, you’ll only be observed sporadically and the feedback you receive may not be as thorough as it is on the CELTA so make the most of it while you can!


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