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CELTA Lessons from the Classroom Assignment
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Usually the final assignment, the lessons from the classroom assignment is considered by many to be the easiest assignment. This is because you don’t really need to do any background reading, but to write your own thoughts and reflections from the course.
While it may be easier in some respects, this assignment is still an important part of the CELTA, as it ties together what you have learnt over the past few weeks and how you will continue to develop afterwards.
What do you have to do?
For this assignment you need to reflect on your performance over the course including what you have learnt, what you still need to improve on, and how you will continue to develop as a teacher. The CELTA doesn’t aim to produce perfect teachers in one month, but teachers who are capable of reflecting on their strengths and weaknesses and planning to address these weaknesses.
Being able to identify your strengths and weaknesses, articulating these and working on them will help you throughout your teaching career. Not only will it help you to know what to continue working on, but it will also help you to explain to potential employers what you do well, what you have worked on and what you intend to work on in the future.
You are required to write between 750 and 1000 words for this assignment.
Observations of Other Teachers
The assignment rubric can vary between CELTA providers. It may start with the observations you made of other teachers which includes your tutors, your fellow trainees and other professional teachers that you will likely have watched on video.
You should try to identify specific things you have learnt from each of these sources. Don’t only focus on what you learnt from your tutors. I won’t lie, I do enjoy reading what my trainees say about my demonstration lesson, but don’t think that flattery alone will get you through this assignment. Your tutor will want to see that you made accurate observations about their demonstration and the other lessons you observed on the course.
When it comes to your fellow trainees, you may have learnt some things “not to do” as well as positive points. This is fine, but as a general rule (as you would for student feedback) make negative comments anonymous e.g. “one of my fellow trainees…” and name your colleague in positive comments e.g. “Michelle …”
Try to be specific about what you learnt too. Point to examples from the lessons that demonstrate this point, don’t simply say “I learnt that pair work is important” and move on. If this was something you learnt, when did you see pair work and how did it impact the lesson?
At this point in the course, you should have a fairly good idea of what your strengths are. If not, you need to go back through your feedback from the tutor.
It is possible to end up at this point with a kind of tunnel vision for your shortcomings over the past few weeks. In this case, you may find it difficult to write about what you did well. If this is the case, it is well worth talking to your peers. They may have written about you in their assignment or remember things they thought you did well in your lessons.
The other thing you can do to avoid this problem is to keep a diary through the course and note what you feel went well.
Areas for Development
Teacher trainers don’t tend to like the word “weakness” as it implies something that is fixed and unchangeable. Instead we say areas for development to remind people that with effort and hard work, these areas can be worked on and maybe they could even be strengths one day!
In any event, these are the opposites to the strengths you have shown on the course. As with strengths, at this point of the course you should know what you are still working on. If not, you really need to go back through your tutor’s feedback on the lesson plans and in the stage 2 and 3 tutorials.
Not only do you need to say what these areas are, but you also need to identify ways you can work on these. Again, being specific about what you will do is helpful here. Don’t just say that you will work on these issues, but how. For example, if an issue is giving instructions, you can say that you will continue to script these for lessons.
Further Development After CELTA
The final section of this assignment tends to be on what you will do to continue your development after CELTA. There are a huge number of things you could do, but once more the key is to be specific. If you say you will read something, what will you read? If you say that you will observe other teachers, what would you like to get from that experience? If you want to do a course like Delta, how do you think this will help you and do you think you need to do anything before you start Delta?
Some of the ways you could continue to develop after CELTA include:
- reading books, articles, EFL publications
- observing experienced teachers
- getting a Delta or Trinity DipTESOL
- getting experience with different types of students
- attending conferences, watching webinars, etc.
- following blogs, podcasts, youtube channels, etc.
- building your professional network including staying in touch with you fellow trainees
Hopefully, you have now completed your four CELTA assignments. You may still have a lesson left to teach, but you should be close to finishing your CELTA. Congratulations!