August 24th 2012 was the final day of the CELTA course, and there was jubilation all around. It was commonly admitted that the whole experience had been a challenge, and that we had all managed to overcome it by learning new ways of approaching English Language Teaching.
When I looked back on my own process on the final day, I could see that I had changed visibly. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to make some notes about how I had got to be different as a result of the study, and this post is intended to share those points I am currently stronger about, and I still need to work on.
One of the areas in which I feel strong as a result of the CELTA course is that I can design and teach lessons that are more student-centered than before. When I remember my first TP, I see progress in this respect. For that specific practice, I was the one doing most of the talking. Although I had students work in pairs for interaction, I could not avoid being the central figure in the classroom. However, the tutor observing my third TP said that I had built on the weakness and I had evolved into Güven, the facilitator, from Güven, the presenter.
The second point I believe I am strong in is that I am able to adapt texts and other materials for my lessons more effectively. At the beginning, I tried to use what was in the course book and had no idea of how I could make it more interesting even if I did not think it might not attract students’ attention at all. Nevertheless, I learned that it was always possible to adapt the materials and texts according to what students needed and began to work on that aspect. I must say that my work paid off, and students got to be more responsive to the activities, thus allowing me to facilitate their learning further. The first signal of this case was again revealed by my third TP for which I had to do a lot of research to create my own material because the course book offered almost none regarding the topic of the lesson.
One area I still need to improve in is clarifying meaning, form, and pronunciation (MFP) more effectively. It is not that I have not made progress on this specific aspect, yet it will be much better and professional if I can run that stage of my lessons in a snappier manner because I may lose time as I do that, and this may cause me to have to spare less time for freer practice. In my seventh TP, I was more systematic in MFP, but it took about 5 minutes longer than I had planned, and the result was that I could give delayed feedback to students for only 3 minutes. Ri, who observed me for that practice, also point out that I needed to design the concept checking questions (CCQs) focusing more on the core meaning of the language studied so that students could be more aware of the distinctions.
Another area in which I need more practice is instructions. Although I can now give my instructions clearly by modeling and providing examples, I should be working on the time I spend on the issue. The thing is I tend to keep the examples longer than normal, and this causes a loss of time, which results in about an extra minute apart from the span of time set for any activity. Ri brought up this point after my seventh TP, and I admit I should follow her suggestions, thus structuring my examples taking time into consideration.
The third area, which still requires more work on, is the use of more material to visualize my lessons in order to help visual learners understand better. I should make it a habit at least to draw time-lines on the board while dealing with grammar. Also, I need to take the issue of creativity into consideration more so that my lessons will be more appealing and effective.
I can never deny that the CELTA experience has been most useful for me as I have discovered more about my teaching and grown aware of new perspectives regarding E.L.T. Therefore, it would not be wrong to state that I have come to understand that teaching is more an art than theory because no theory or approach could produce good results unless teachers develop their own ways of dealing with the process.
My goal for the days to come is to practice everything I have got from the CELTA course by designing my lessons within the framework of my new understanding. Also, I will be doing more than my best to share CELTA principles with all my colleagues back in Turkey and everyone else who are kind enough to follow my blog.
Moreover, I am most determined to continue learning from the experiences of every teacher I will have a chance to converse with or observe as well as going one step beyond CELTA by pursuing DELTA. I should point out very sincerely that I am planning to earn all the qualifications required to be a teacher trainer and help those interested in E.L.T to realize their potential and make great teachers.
In summary, I will forever keep myself on the track of learning, sharing, and teaching the best I ever can. At this very point, I realize the significance of reflecting and co-operating, so I hope to reveal the progress I will be making as a teacher through the posts that I will be writing as well.