CELTA: The Teaching Practices

What’s the point?
The aim of the teaching practices, or TPs, is to apply what you’ve learnt in the input sessions. You’ll teach 7-8 lessons, racking up a total of 6 hours of observed and assessed teaching, which seems like a lot, but it really does fly by.

What will I teach?
All of our lessons were based on a dull coursebook. Luckily, we were allowed to deviate from it as much as we pleased. We just had to keep the focus of the lesson (grammar or vocabulary) the same as that in the book. The sequence of exercises and what you did or didn’t do were up to you.

What’s team-teaching?
From day one, you’re split up into groups of 6 and further subdivided into groups of 3. In these groups, you split a 2-hour lesson into three 40-minute parts. When you build up to your 1-hour lesson, you’ll be put into pairs.  On my course, most of my lessons were team collaborations. It’s important to speak up, share your ideas and communicate well with your group. If you don’t, the overall lesson could turn into a disaster and will be confusing to your students. If all goes according to plan, the lessons should a flow seamlessly into each other. Remember to plan and rehearse your transitions together to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

But Esther, I’m still terrified about TPs. Do you have any tips to help me?

Sure I do! Here they are: 

  • Make the most of your preparation time. On my course, I had 2-3 days between each of my lessons. I used my time to analyze the target language with grammar books, adapt and develop materials for activities, anticipate potential problems and their solutions, and to ask for guidance from my tutors and peers.
  • Listen to and observe your students. You’ll learn a lot from them and be able to figure out what activities they like and dislike. Use this information for your next lesson so you don’t bore them to death.
  • Stick to the time limit. When your time’s up, wipe the board, pack your things and make room for the next teacher.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of a sentence and you haven’t finished your lesson. Get out of there! 
  • Arrive early. Set up the room and chat with early students. Ask them what they did on the weekend or which football team they support. It helps if you’re interested in the answers, but even if you’re not, it’s a good chance for your students to talk to you as a normal person, and not as the English teacher.

Overall, keep focused, find out what’s expected of you, and with a little hard work, you’ll manage to pass all your lessons, like I did. Although, I did start off on the wrong foot…