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!

A Room Al Fresco

A Room Al Fresco

For other rooms, have a look at this week’s Photo Challenge.  

CELTA: The Students

Student 1: Teacher, teacher! Where you go to school?
Me:  Wales!  Does anyone know the capital of Wales?
Student 2: DOLPHIN!



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Split-Second Story: Venturing Into The Danger Zone

Split-Second Story: Venturing Into The Danger Zone

For other split-second stories, have a look at this week’s Photo Challenge.   

8 Ways to Be Happy on a Long-Haul Flight

flight clouds

Peering out the window at 33,000 feet…

Over the years, I’ve grown to hate tolerate long-haul flights. Between 2003 and 2012, I travelled home for almost all Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. International flights became a regular part of my life. I’m fortunate to have been able to make these journeys, however, I’d be lying if I said the experience was always a relaxing one. I’ve put together a list things you should think about to make sure you’ll feel as comfortable as possible in economy class.

It all comes down to the seat. I usually go for a window seat. Partly for the view, and partly because it’s nice to have something to lean against when you’re sleepy. Also, unlike some passengers I’ve had the misfortune of sitting next to, I don’t tend to get up 50+ times to go to the bathroom. If you’ve got a dodgy bladder, do us all a favor and opt for an aisle seat.

Next, I look at the location of the seat. Try and pick a seat far from the lavatory. I was once stuck in a seat nearby, and the smell was awful for the entire flight – never again! Unless you want to sit up stiffly for the entire flight, avoid the last row of the cabin – they have limited seat recline. Seats in the exit rows have the advantage of providing that extra bit of leg room but they do come with a level of responsibility. If something goes wrong, you’ll have to step up and help the crew. If you’re anything like this guy,* then avoid these seats, too. Continue reading

My First 20-Minute Lesson

Disaster. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. I wish I could say it went swimmingly and my trainers and peers praised me until the cows came home. But no, I’m afraid disaster does sum it up nicely.

So what exactly went wrong? Continue reading

9 Things To Do in Ecuador Besides the Galapagos

Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it’s jam-packed with things to see and do. What with the highlands, the coast, the avenue of volcanos, and the jungle – you’re spoiled for choice! Here are my top 9:

Explore the Amazon jungle. Learn about the Quechua traditions, make chocolate from scratch, see exotic wildlife, dig for gold, go canyoning, and swim in the Rio Napo.

Rio Napo in the Amazon

Rio Napo in the Amazon

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The Day I Jumped Out Of A Plane


It was January 1st, 2013 and I decided to tackle an item on my life list.I made a reservation with a skydiving company in San Diego, CA.

When I got there, I filled out some paperwork stating that if I died, they weren’t responsible. Fair enough. I was introduced to my instructor, who showed me what positions I should take for jumping, free-falling and landing. I paid extra for a video so I could share the experience with my friends and family and boy, was it worth it!

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CELTA: The Application

A typical application starts with questions on your personal and contact details, your education history and recent professional experience. Then, you’re asked to write a statement about your motivations and what you intend to do with your certification.

Next, is where the real fun starts – the application task itself.

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