Day 11 of CELTA experience was, perhaps, the most crucial one. Apart from learning about Task Based Teachin (TBT) and what it can do for learners, which we studied with Chia, I learned a very vital lesson about my own teaching.
To start with, I want to share with you some points regarding TBT. Needless to say, it is of such a nature that learners will definitely benefit from it as long as it is administered effectively.
To do that teachers need to give clear instructions as students cannot be expected to act as desired unless they make sure of what to do. Secondly, it is highly necessary to keep positive and see students as partners to learn from through sharing. No task-based lesson can be taught without showing to the class that their creativity and participation are valued. Thirdly, there is a lot of use in challenging students instead of underestimating their skills and knowledge. Moreover, there may be moments when things may be going better or worse than expected. In such cases, it is teachers’ flexibility to adjust the task to the need. For example, if students are really enjoying, and there is a lot of communication, and it seems like it is not a good idea to stop them, teachers should find a way to spare some time to bring things together and give proper feedback to their students. However, if the task is not producing the result wanted, teachers need not be afraid of interfering with it and thinking of another way of doing it. Another key point about TBT is that teachers involve a combination of skills to practice for students. Lastly and most importantly, the approach should not be given up if things do not go the way planned for the first time. It is in teachers’ best interest to reflect on what went wrong and devise new ways of dealing with the problem. That is to say, teachers get better as they learn from their mistakes.
As for my own teaching, I learned that I should not be over-confident. I had a TP to do at 4 o’clock and I thought I would pull it off easily because I believed I had prepared for it well enough. However, I almost failed my TP.
As it turned out, there were serious problems with my teaching for that particular lesson. I was told by the observer that I had done almost nothing about MFP and my board work had been far from effective. I must admit that I felt rather bad when I heard the criticism, for I had never ever expected such a thing to happen.
When I listened to the details and the feedback, I came to realize that I should have done more for internalizing what we had been taught and that studying for CELTA was no walk in the park no matter how long could be one’s experience.
For the next TP, which was the following day, I had to revise everything I had taken notes about, and I, honestly speaking, spent about four hours for the plan. I admitted I needed to deal with language presentation more professionally and be systematic with clarification plus feedback. Thankfully, the following day was a day of relief. I was able to prove to the observer that I had learned from my mistakes and done better to build on my strengths. It was also a proof to myself that I was there to get better, so I made my mind to take things more seriously.
Since that day, I have had another TP, and I put a lot of work into it while preparing. Thank God, I managed to get a pass from that, too. Now there remains one more TP, so I must prove again that I am on the right track and I really deserve CELTA. Most importantly, I must ensure myself that I will always get better as I learn and teach more.