Turning CELTees into Successful NQTs

29 04 2012

Image With the second IH Teachers Online Conference approaching rapidly (Friday May 25th), as well as trying to arrange all the sessions and get the speakers up to speed,  I’ve been mulling over what to talk about myself on the day.  Since we’re celebrating 50 years of teacher training around the IH World (the first four-week course was held in June 1962) and as I’m an almost full-time CELTA trainer, I think what I’d like to discuss is how CELTA trainees can transition from the intensity of the course to a full-time teaching position, maintaining all the good habits they’ve formed on the course, while continuing to develop into more rounded teachers.

Which is where you come in!  Thinking back to your early days as an NQT (Newyl-Qualified Teacher), what helped you most to get to grips with a full timetable, a wider variety of coursebooks, completely different types of students, the need to inspire and motivate your learners, not to mention the paperwork this all entails?  And what would you change looking back over your first years of teaching.  What did you need that you didn’t have?  What would you like to take back and do over again?

I’d love to hear from you about your experiences and also what advice you’d give to today’s NQTs coming off CELTA courses and starting off in the wide world of ELT.  And as a little incentive, all contributors will receive an invite to the session on May 25th, so get commenting!

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A Short Guide to Guided Discovery

26 04 2012

The other week I was reading Adam Beale’s fab blog ‘Five against one‘ rather than doing what I was supposed to be doing and yet again I found myself chastising myself for not going to #eltchat anymore (it’s actually the fault of doing CELTA at the times that the chat is held rather than of my own choosing), since Adam had blogged a summary of the latest chat, that just happened to be on one of my pet topics and favourite ways of teaching – guided discovery.

And so I was rather surprised with Adam’s concluding paragraph and this post is my own humble attempt at helping Adam address the balance.  Here’s what he had to say:

ELTchat may not have answered my question or provided me with the plethora of examples I was hoping for, but it certainly highlighted the need for some further hands on research and investigation. Now, I may be looking in the wrong places or typing the wrong words into my search engine. So please tell me if you know of any great resources. I know that there must be research papers out there, but for teachers what we really need is examples and people writing or talking about their experiences with it. So if you do use Guided Discovery and have some ideas get them out there, blog them or put it out on twitter. 

And so my response is to share my latest foray into Guided Discovery world on Wednesday morning.  I was teaching the CELTA TP students and being watched by my CELTA candidates – having to put my money where my mouth was since we’d had a session on conditionals the afternoon before where I had espoused Guided Discovery worksheets – time to show them the power of student-centred text-based step-by-step language clarification (i.e. Guided Discovery).

K had taken the students above-standardly through the text (Global Intermediate Page 95), so I simply started with the worksheet, which you can download here:

Unreal Past Conditions Guided Discovery Worksheet

The students anwered the questions about meaning alone, checked them with a partner and then we fed back on them.  The main sticking point was the question ‘Is this staement real or unreal’, since they mostly saw it as real.  I think I need to rephrase this question to something like ‘Is the speaker describing a situation in the real world or imagining an unreal situation in their head?’, although that seems too wordy to me.

A little bit of elicitation and refining the context by asking this question helped me convince them the statement was unreal.  And this elicitation of the fact that we’re talking about the past and we¡re talking about an unreal situation made eliciting the name of the structure to the top of the handout easy peasy – Unreal Past Conditions.

Then we drilled the statement aplenty.  First lots of choral drilling of each clause, backchaining the phrases ‘If he hadn’t noticed’ and ‘this wouldn’t have been’, and they had quite a bit of trouble at first reproducing /w@d@n@bIn/ (the @ are supposed to be schwas but I can’t get them to come out) but they got there after lots of laughs and backchains:

/bIn/

/n@bIn/

/d@n@bIn/

/w@d@n@bIn/

Then they completed the pronunciation section by themselves, in pairs and we fed back to the whiteboard.

Unreal past conditions pronunciation

Unreal Past Result Pronunciation

I did a bit more drilling to consolidate it with the written phonemes, which seemed to help them a bit and then they headed on to completing the form section by themselves which they found pretty straightforward.

Unreal Past Condition Form

Unreal Past Result Form

What really pleased me is they were able to come up with different possible modals for the result clause, they weren’t limited by the ‘third conditional’ misnomer to would, they quickly proferred could and might and may and must and should as well, although lots of credit must also go to K here who had brought out this point when guided discovering Unreal Present conditions on Monday.

So they had been guided and they had discovered.  Time to practice.  Turn over the worksheet and consider the other inventions mentioned in the global text and discovered by accident.  What would have happened if their accidents hadn’t happened.  Off the students went to try and complete their own conditional sentences.  It was a very challenging exercise since they had to go back to the text to remind themselves of the accidents that had led to the discoveries.  But they were able to have a good go at it, although there were plenty of forms errors in their work.  Have was being missed out regularly, one or two weren’t using past participles and one was using the past simple and so talking about the present.  But with a few points back at my boardwork and the odd return to my CCQs – are we in the past? – they were able to self correct or at least peer correct when they got together to confirm answers.  By the time they got to the group feedback they had the correct structures between them and I elicited them to the board (after some more focused drilling) to consolidate the structure for these very visual learners.

Unreal Past Conditions Controlled Practice

Unreal Past Results Controlled Practice

Unfortunately the 40minute lesson was drawing to a close, so there was just time for a quick discussion of the inventions in Practice 2 and how things would have changed if they hadn’t been invented.  Not surprisingly, some of them had unreal present results rather than past ones, but this was a good thing as they were able to form them correctly on the back of K’s Monday lesson and they were all happy to accept these as correct answers.  No time for discussing the difference or for personalisation, but the practice activities will live to fight another day.

If I’d had more time, I’d’ve done more personalisation. 

We’d’ve discussed real and unreal results of unreal past conditions, if the lesson had been longer.  

They’d’ve practised more freely and probably have made even more mistakes if we’d gone any further. 

But they wouldn’t have felt such a sense of achievement if they hadn’t discovered the rules for themselves. 

There was no accident about their discoveries.

Hope that helps Adam and any other Guided Discovery newbies out there.  Let us know how you get on if you try using the worksheet yourself or adapting it to another piece of language.  Go discover!





50 Top Tips for Teachers – IH Teachers Online Conference

24 04 2012

On May 25th International House World will hold its second online teachers conference as part of the ongoing celebrations for 50 years of IH Teacher Training.

As part of the celebrations we intend to make aspects of the conference open to all, so watch out for details of that. We’d also like to have a running theme throughout the day based on the number 50.

Following this theme, we will be sharing 50 Tips with teachers and teacher trainers and this is where we need your help.

It doesn’t matter if you work for an IH school or not, teach in a state school or a private language school, whether you love dogme or a coursebook  – what we need are your ideas!

To make it easier we have come up with five categories for suggestions

Tips for new teachers

Best tips for classroom management

Tips for CPD

Things that make a special teacher

Materials-free, student-centred tasks

Between now and the week of the conference we are hoping to have hundreds of your suggestions pouring in by the sack-load! We’ll then look over the suggestions and choose 10 for each category. These tips will then be presented to you at the online conference.

After the conference we’ll share them all on a blog and in the IH Journal. We may even have a vote to decide the best tip of all.

So do you have a few minutes to spare? Please go to this link and enter a suggestion. You don’t have to give a suggestion for every category and you are more than welcome to go back again and again to add more suggestions – the more the merrier!

Thanks for giving us your time. Tune in to the social media channels and conference on May 25th to find out what was suggested.

Take me to the suggestion form

 

Article retrieved from http://ihteachers.com/?p=283 on 24/4/12