CELTA Diaries-Day 7

Last Tuesday was the seventh day on the CELTA course. Needless to say, there was a lot to learn and practice then as well, but the best of the day for me was the reading lesson Ri Willoughby modeled for us.

She first got our attention by having us talk about the food pictures she had previously hung on the classroom walls. We shared our opinions about the different kind of food displayed. Next, she elicited answers from us, and she was very good at involving everybody in the open class discussion by expanding each answer.

Afterwards, Ri handed out an original menu from an English restaurant. The language on the menu was specific, so I began to wonder how it could be used with even upper-intermediate students. However, my worries dispersed as Ri also gave us questions to facilitate reading.

The questions were about the type of the restaurant, the cheapest vs most expensive items as well as the number of choices available in each course and if we’d like to eat there. They were so well written that each question required a different reading strategy to answer. The first one could easily be sorted out as some English food was identified without difficulty. The next two questions required practicing skimming and scanning strategies while the last question was intended to let students personalize the task.

It was good to see that even a complicated text prepared originally for proficient speakers of English could be exploited to suit the level and needs of students by asking the right questions. We grew aware once more that students should understand they do not have to read everything in the text because it was enough to focus on the answers of the questions and possible to get the gist of it along with some deeper comprehension.

The follow-up activity was for students to come in groups together with their friends and prepare a menu for an imaginary restaurant. The goal at that stage was clearly to get students to use the language they had just studied and do it in co-operation with their peers still maintaining their confidence.

So what was there for a class of CELTA trainees to take home? It was, by no means, the message that you can do anything with even a piece of realia that might at first seem challenging to students.

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6 responses to “CELTA Diaries-Day 7

  1. Hi Guven!

    Thank you so much for yet another great instalment of your CELTA course : )

    Great tips and ideas there – Ri sounds like an excellent instructor! I also agree that taking a complex text and giving it to lower-level students by asking the right questions can work wonders. It goes to show that they do not need to understand every single detail in order to produce great language!

    Thank you so much,
    Vicky

  2. Vicky!
    It is a matter of immense pleasure for me that you spare time to comment on my post. Ri is san amazing instructor indeed, and I learn more than I can imagine from sessions with her.
    Thank you very much,

    Güven.

  3. Dear Guven,
    You can`t imagine how happy I am when I see in my inbox a notification email announcing a new post on your blog! The closer I get to my leaving to London (this September) for the CELTA course, the bigger the butterflies from my stomach become 🙂 But the opportunity of reading about your learning and teaching experience help me calm down a little. Despite the fact that I`ve been teaching for some years (almost 6), I`ve never been in front of a multilingual class..and that`s the thing that scares me (well, beside the fact that I`ll be watched during the TPs), but I believe we all have some “stage fear” at the beginning and I hope I`ll manage to quickly pass over this moment :).
    So, thank you very much for your time!!
    Camelia

    • Hello Camelia,
      It is great to know that my posts are of use to you 🙂 You should feel assured that there really is nothing to worry about CELTA. It is just a matter of adaptation, that’s all. The tutors here are so professional that they never let you feel under pressure during the TPs, and they always give constructive feedback according to what you need. I believe everything will be good for you when you come here 🙂
      Best wishes,
      Güven

  4. Hi Güven,
    I am always anxious to read your posts and they are so useful ,full of precious tips .Is it possible to have this menu scanned ?I would like to try it with my students but it’s so difficult to get authentic material when you live in a non -english speaking country,anyway, if it’s not possible ,don’t worry ,I’ll try to find one on the internet .Thank you for helping teachers around the world !

    • Hello Christine,
      I’m very happy with your kind and sincere remarks. I hope I’ll do better with each post and be of better help to teachers interested. As for the menu, I’ll ask Ri about it, and have it scanned for you if I can 🙂 I’ll let you know about it.
      Best wishes,
      Güven

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