In-Classroom Experience – How do you teach English?

teach English

WHAT KIND OF TEACHER DO YOU WANT TO BE?

How do you teach English? Read the two case studies below and reflect on how essential the CELTA in-classroom teaching component really is:

SCENARIO 1:

Your job is to teach English. But your first day teaching at a private school does not seem to augur well for your teaching career: your nervousness ahead of meeting your new students seems to be exacerbated by noticeable self-doubt and ignorance as to what you are actually supposed to be doing in class.

You are familiar neither with the coursebook given to you by the Director of Studies nor with the level it indicates: Upper-Intermediate. Does this mean the new students can tell you how they spent their holidays? You don’t even have an action plan or a lesson plan! You did try to compile a list of activities to do in class, but now you are not sure they are going to be suitable for your students or if they are going to help you cover your 90-min encounter with the students!

You NEED to teach English. You secretly start to hope your students won’t notice how hesitant your actions are or how imprecise your instructions are. And you are well aware that there is one thing that will definitely cause you to panic: grammar questions! You have never really understood the specific terms or how to answer these questions in such a way that the students understand.

As the students come into the classroom, you see their enthusiasm and inquisitive looks and you suddenly feel guilty knowing you won’t be able to offer them a truly valuable learning experience!

SCENARIO 2:

Your first day teaching at a private school fills you with optimism and positive energy! You have every reason to feel enthusiastic and self-confident. You are there to teach English, and you have just completed your CELTA course and this intense training has taught you how to choose your words wisely, how to move around the classroom and organise students’ activities effectively, how to choose appropriate materials for your classes, how to successfully guide your students to analyse and use language.

As your students come into the classroom, they see a very calm and self-assured teacher that warmly welcomes each of them, they see the action points to be covered in today’s lesson neatly written on the board, the handouts to be used tidily arranged on the teacher’s desk and they acknowledge the fact that this is a professional, well-organised and resourceful teacher that will provide them with real value for the money they have paid for the course.

This is your first day as a well-paid ESL teacher, but it is certainly not your first day in the classroom, and this is visible in your confident posture, your minimal and highly effective instructions, your deeply clarifying Concept-Check Questions that offer your students the satisfaction of exploring language in a most skilful way.

As everybody is getting ready for the course that is about to start, you feel the vibrant energy coming from your students and you are delighted to be able to respond with high quality teaching. You are ready to teach English!

It is patently obvious that every teacher would like to be in the situation presented in the second Scenario. We cannot but admire the self-confident teaching style and the extremely useful habits of organising the teaching activity of the second teacher. All this is the direct product of the CELTA training programme, more precisely of the teaching component. This gives you vital practical skills and knowledge to be put into practice when you teach English in the real classroom and is therefore considered to be the most important developmental part of the CELTA syllabus.

SO, WHAT DOES THE IN-CLASSROOM TEACHING COMPONENT INVOLVE? HOW DOES IT HELP YOU TO TEACH ENGLISH?

It benefits you in many significant ways:

  • Teaching real students with real needs. Students belonging to the local community enrol for free classes at Shakespeare School and their timetable coincides with your teaching practice timetable. The students are given the chance of improving their level of English by attending free, quality classes, while you are offered the opportunity to teach English, to gain practical experience in the real classroom since you will be teaching real students. You will be planning real lessons that need to take into consideration the students’ needs, you will discover the students’ problems with grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, speaking, writing, etc. and you will develop a wide range of teaching skills in order to help the students improve their weak areas.
  • Quality feedback. All the lessons that you teach will be carefully observed by qualified CELTA trainers who will thoroughly write down the strengths of your teaching style and the areas you need to improve. If you want to teach English, this detailed, immediate feedback, both written and verbal, is the most significant ingredient to an ESL teacher’s professional development.
  • Peer observation. For your teaching practice you will be working in a group that will never consist of more than 5 other trainees, which will create a safe, relaxed working atmosphere that will be conducive to cooperation, experimentation, and professional development. You are all there to learn how to teach English efficiently. You will be working together on your lesson plans, exchanging ideas and improving activities. When you are not teaching yourself, you will be observing the other trainees in action and this will increase your awareness as to which methods work well in class and which don’t, you will get to know your students’ learning styles better and you will have the opportunity of learning from the feedback that your tutors give to your fellow trainees.

All this for you to teach English! By the time you graduate, you will have familiarized yourself with a wide range of different students, different levels, different lesson types, different teaching techniques and, thanks to the extensive feedback received, you will have become aware of the strong points of your teaching style and of what needs to be done to improve it. You will feel comfortable in any teaching environment because you will feel prepared to deal with any unexpected changes that may occur in real classes. The Cambridge CELTA course will give you thorough training, as well as a sound foundation for future growth!

Are you ready to teach English? We offer you our full support! Find out if you are qualified for the CELTA?