Wednesday, 9 January 2019

#CELTAchat Monday 7 January 2019 What elements make a PASS lesson from TP6 onwards?

Looking for a volunteer summary writer for Monday 7 January #CELTAchat: What elements make a PASS lesson from TP6 onwards?

Could it be you? 

- would be much appreciated!

Let us know on Twitter or our Facebook Page or post a comment below.

Transcript here

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Friday, 30 November 2018

#CELTAchat Monday 5 November Do we ask them to do more than we should?

Many thanks to Cathy Bowden @Cathyofnusle  for volunteering to write this month's summary.
   #CELTAchat Summary
   Monday 5thNovember 2018
   Lesson Planning: Do we ask them (candidates) to do more than they

        Darren Bell @belllinguist
        Angelos Bollas @angelos_bollas
        Fiona Price @fionaljp
        Giovanni Licata @GioLic1976
        Cathy Bowden @Cathyofnusle
        MarisaConstantinides @Marisa_C
        Breana Sproul @SproulBreana
        MariaConca @MConca16

After some chitchat, Darren Bell kicked off by saying that he might have scared his CELTA candidates on day 1 by having them watch a DVD and then giving them the plan, which he felt was overly detailed. Some agreement that if one’s giving out a full plan of an observed lesson in week 1, it should be made clear that this is not the amount of detail we expect at that stage, but it could be a goal to aim towards. Or if you’re writing a plan as a sample, try to pare it down to the minimum. 
Angelos Bollas suggested that we might be being ‘pedantic’ when the candidates write a plan that works for them and the tutor asks for ‘enough detail so that another teacher would be able to use the plan’. 
There was some agreement that we should have some tolerance of different ways of writing a plan, Giovanni mentioned he’d had an extreme case where 12 trainees on one course seemed each to have their own way of completing the LP template.  Also later, that tutors could be tolerant of non-standard terminology as it’s often getting terminology right in the plan that stresses candidates. 
Overall: “we ask a lot but justifiably so” (Marisa C.) was agreed to be a good summary of how we feel about planning.
Specific points: 
Anticipated Problems and Solutions

Angelos had had a trainee say that they didn’t think this was a reasonable expectation for trainees without experience. Cathy Bowden said she told trainees to “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” and to anticipate as much as possible. Some centres put a column in the lesson procedure page for Aps & Ss, so that the candidates can think about potential issues for specific stages and they find that helpful. 
Should candidates be asked for a plan for TP1?
It was mentioned that one course only asks for a plan from TP2, but general reaction was that the earlier the candidates start attempting a plan the better. In some centres the first 2 plans are the procedure sheet only and are commented on but not graded.
Is the level of detail in a plan a criterion for a Pass B or A?
General agreement that thoroughness of language analysis was needed for a higher grade but otherwise the difference is more in the level of independence. Indeed, some candidates could go overboard and give too much detail in the procedure, thinking this will help get a higher grade and produce a plan that is hard to follow. 
Course time spent on planning vs input sessions
Fiona Price asked if more time should be given to lesson planning issues and less on input sessions. However, some felt that as there’s not that much time for input anyway, it would be difficult to do. Cathy and Darren suggested that dealing with planning issues may be dealt with best in TP feedback, in the context of an actual lesson. So ensuring there’s enough time to address these issues in TP feedback sessions is important.
Does a full-lesson plan prepare candidates for post-CELTA teaching with a minimal plan?
The response was that having to write down a full plan develop the skill of thinking through the plan, so that they can manage without it written down afterwards. 
Have candidates rewrite lesson plans?
Marissa mentioned that on a previous non-CELTA courses, they had candidates teach 4 lessons and rewrite the plans after the lessons. Cautiously welcoming reaction – the issue, as ever!, being the difficulty of finding time for it in the course, and potential extra workload for the candidates. Also if it’s to be marked by the tutors, that’s more work for them, though Marisa suggested for a couple of lessons having the trainees submit only draft plans before the lesson, and amend them afterwards, with the final version being marked.
Centres grading plan separately from the lesson
Darren mentioned that he’d heard some centres do this, some thought it was potentially confusing. Cathy said that they do it, with it being stated separately if the plan and lesson meet the standard, as well as an overall grade for the TP. 

Cathy Bowden @Cathyofnusle  summarising

Thursday, 29 November 2018

#CELTAchat Monday 3 September 2018 Coaching from the sidelines

CELTA Chat 3rdSeptember 2018: Coaching from the Sidelines: Tutor intervention in Teaching Practice (TP)

Participants: Cathy Bowden @Cathyofnusle, @ellenservinis, Fiona Price @fionaljp, Katy M @kokahoke, Amy Blanchard @admiralwamy, Jenni Fogg @jennifoggteach, Adi Rajan @adi_rajan
Summary written by Amy Blanchard.


Do you intervene?

The first question posed to the chatters was a simple one about their own experience when observing trainees in TP: Do they intervene? Fiona gave the example of alerting trainees to spelling mistakes on the board, which others said they had also done. Many trainers also frequently used a signal/gesture for pairwork. Cathy recommended agreeing these signals with trainees first, which is a good idea to avoid confusion! She also mentioned that if she can see a problem coming up, she would call the trainee over to tell them while the students were working. Adi said he uses signals a lot for trainees with abysmal time management, but he hadn’t considered that as ‘coaching from the sidelines’ before. I gave examples of some of the issues I had (successfully) addressed on the spot: getting trainees to rephrase instructions; stopping them handing materials out before they've given instructions; asking them to stand where everyone can see them; encouraging them to speed up/slow down/repeat an audio track/move on to the next activity etc.

Cathy asks her trainees if they would prefer her to intervene or not and reported that most said not. Katy, a newer trainer, said she hadn’t had the chance to yet but that she had observed other trainers doing it, but who had told her not to! There seemed to be a sense from some people that trainers shouldn’t intervene, but there’s nothing in the handbook about this.  

Benefits of intervention?

This brought me to my next question, and the reason I chose the topic: Could intervention be beneficial for trainees? Can parallels be drawn to the way we view (emergent) language input; giving them information at the point of need? As trainers we need to strike a balance between training and testing, and I believe that certainly at the start of the course they need more support and training. Perhaps this coaching within TP could provide that. Ellen agreed that if someone is struggling, it’s not helpful to just watch them flounder. 

Fiona raised the point that it’s important to let trainees make mistakes; letting the trainees ‘find their way through the experience and find out why’. I tried to equate it with the idea of on the spot vs delayed correction, and argued that they will definitely make (and see!) lots of ‘mistakes’ on the course, and lots of good examples too.  

Matthew believes that conditions (v. high cognitive & affective filters, etc of TP andFB in group) are such that delayed-only FB on TP can often be ineffective. Salience goes WAY down vs. situated, immediate, at the point of need prompt with clear repair opportunity. He then suggested that there’s a good case to be made to try this first in a micro-teaching context (for time’s sake, CPs could practice a particular stage in micro-teaching, with sideline coaching - which here can include prompts to/thoughts from coursemates as well). Sadly there’s not much time on a 4 week course! 


Although I had had experience of trainees thanking me for intervening, Cathy said some of them had commented to her “I wish you hadn’t!” Comments from previous trainees have showed that they felt more supported; that they’re not alone up there and can look for the trainer in the room as support, not just a judge. I recounted a specific example from a recent TP:

·      Cathy said she thought it was hard for trainees to take anything in on the spot, and she was also worried that it could take away the students’ faith in the trainee. However, Fiona and I countered that the students do know that the teachers are only training, and often look thankful for the intervention! ·      Fiona worried that anything complex could add more stress to an already stressful situation.·      As Jenni pointed out above, some trainees may feel embarrassed at being corrected in front of their students and peers. However, she also said that if she knew in advance that it was a possibility, this wouldn’t be so bad. ·      Adi pointed out that in some contexts, trainees are career teachers and wouldn’t want to suffer a loss of face/credibility if they are corrected in front of their students. ·      I worry that interventions could be a little too prescriptive: trainers shouldn’t force their way of doing things on the trainees. 

Correcting language

Cathy asked what trainers do if trainees give students incorrect information about language. I stated that it’s important to correct as it could have a negative impact on the other trainees’ lessons. We then discussed the best way of doing it. I have previously made eye contact and shaken my head (hoping trainees would correct themselves). Cathy said she had done the same but with mixed results! Fiona pointed out that this only works if trainees have the knowledge to fix it on the spot. If they don’t, I just tell them – often it’s small and incidental language. Anything major to the lesson/target language will usually have been checked before as on the majority of courses I’ve worked on, the trainees hand in their plans and language analyses before the lesson. Adi said that he has sometimes waited until the end of TP and done a mini lesson to the students to address the problems – this can benefit the trainees as well. 

Things to consider before intervening in TP:

·      Expectations: of the trainees (do they know you might intervene? Are they happy for that to happen? Will suit some personality types more than others. Also consider the expectations of the students. ·      Agree signals for boardwork, pairwork, position etc. to avoid confusion.·      Discuss the interventions in oral feedback: make sure they know why you intervened, the effect on the learners/lesson etc.·      If instructions were good only after an intervention, they should go as an action point in the written feedback.  

Saturday, 20 October 2018

#CELTAchat Monday 1 October 2018 Differentiation on Initial Teacher Training Courses

Differentiation on initial teacher training courses - summary by @bellinguist

Monday 1 October #CELTAchat topic suggestion came from @bellinguist based on an article summarising a talk at this year’s IATEFL conference in Brighton. The talk was given by Karin Krummenacher, who advocates introducing differentiation on initial teacher training courses. The participants were @bellinguist @fionaljp @GioLic1976 @Cathyofnusle @angelos_bollas @CELTALeeds @adi_rajan @sandymillin

Comments on how differentiation is/can be implemented on initial teacher training courses

@Cathyofnusle Comments on trainees’ lessons are tailored based on their level of development. Trainers also differentiate on criteria and are required to grade trainees’ performance accordingly. Support is given to trainees who require it and stronger trainees are asked to produce more. It is also possible to mix strong and weak trainees so that the former can provide peer support. Trainees are asked to vote on what they want to cover in review sessions.
@angelos_bollas Differentiating input from one course to another is possible based on the trainees’ profiles, i.e. having materials for sessions for a stronger group as well as a weaker one. Differentiation is also possible when reviewing input later on in a course 
@fionaljp It is good to give trainees choices based on their profile and their developmental needs.
@bellinguist Input sessions can be adapted to both challenge and support and extension tasks can be devised for fast finishers. It might be worth actually having an input session on differentiation to raise awareness as this will no doubt reflect the reality of trainees’ future teaching experiences. One way of supporting trainees is to have a VLE so that they can access materials pre and/or post session, e.g. Moodle, Edmodo.
@GioLic1976 Differentiation usually happens during lesson planning, with extra guidance given if required. There are some input sessions that work well as far as differentiation is concerned, e.g. using a work station format in a mop up session on language analysis/MFP in which trainees choose the area(s) they feel less comfortable in and work on tasks to develop in those areas. 
@CELTALeeds One example of a differentiated input session is receptive skills, in which the trainees observe a lesson and are given different tasks. The strongest trainees work together and identify the stages and the stage aims, slightly less confident trainees are given the stages and write the aims, and the least confident trainees have both the stages and the aims, match them and put them in order.
@adi_rajan Having two versions of input sessions based on the level of the trainees
@sandymillin Having mini reviews in TP feedback based on the trainees’ needs and the gaps in their knowledge. 

Comments made about pitfalls/problems/concerns regarding differentiation on initial teacher training courses

@GioLic1976 said differentiation could be seen as being unfair, especially during feedback and a trainer may make the wrong assumptions. @angleos_bollas is concerned about giving different tasks to trainees. Instead he feels the same tasks should be given but with more practice/input if necessary @Cathyofnusle says it is unrealistic for there to be different input sessions, i.e. stronger and weaker trainees receive different input as this would result in an increase in costs for centres. @bellinguist admitted that devising differentiated input sessions required more work and time
In response to Karin’s suggestion about having a diagnostic test and devising a tailor-made timetable for each trainee, it was thought that centres would not welcome this as there would be financial implications and perhaps there could also be resistance from trainees. @adi_rajan mentioned that trainers would also not be paid for the extra time they would spend on redesigning materials to offer such differentiation

And finally, thanks to @sandymillin who posted a link to a summary of an IATEFL talk on she attended last year, in which Alistair Douglas talks about differentiation: IATEFL Glasgow 2017: Teacher Training.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

#CELTAchat Monday 6 August 2018: Supporting the New Trainer

Supporting the New Trainer - summary by @fionaljp

Monday 6 August #CELTAchat topic suggestion came from @Benjami81199852 and the participants were: @bellinguist @GioLic1976 @kokahokey @fionaljp

Participants suggested a range of support for new trainers that I have summarised into eight specific areas:

  • Cambridge
  • Centres
  • TP Feedback
  • Input
  • Peers (Teacher Trainers)
  • Books
  • Websites, blogs, online resources
  • Conferences
See the Padlet below for details of suggestions in each of the areas above:

Made with Padlet

If you have any more ideas for supporting the new trainer, please let us know by clicking on the comment option below.

See the full Wakelet transcript of the August #CELTAchat here.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018