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June 3, 2013 / ldejong4

A Passport to the World

Explain the difference between “secluded” and “isolated”. What’s the difference between an auxiliary verb and a modal verb? How does the stress differ in the words “photograph” and “photography”? These were some questions I was faced with over the last four weeks during an intense English language teaching course called CELTA at International House Dublin (Cambridge – Cert in English Language Teaching to Adults).

I never received English grammar classes before and neither had my fellow classmates, so the challenge of teaching such specific areas was certainly daunting. We were all native English speakers but had little or no experience in breaking down the language rules and trends in order to teach them to non-natives. Nevertheless, I felt at a bit of an advantage because I was already familiar with some basic terms like subject, object, indirect object, main clause, subordinate clause, verb, noun, adjective and adverb thanks to my German Leaving Certificate seven years ago! It’s really quite handy that to be semi decent at German, you just have to learn a bunch of rules that apply most of the time unlike other European languages. Funny how I can argue that their language system ironically reflects their stereotypical culture! On another side thought, it would be useful to have English grammar incorporated into the school syllabus in Ireland because it aids second language acquisition without a doubt. If only Leaving Cert. points weren’t the focal point to secondary education here…

That aside, I definitely recommend the CELTA course or any good TEFL course to anyone regardless of age, backgrounds, skills and qualifications. It’s a really handy way to try and test teaching if you’ve ever considered a career change in addition to it being a passport to the world. From the word go, you are model students observing teaching skills and frameworks. You receive very useful training on specific areas like Intonation, Timelines for Tenses, Teaching Children, Teaching with Music, How to teach for receptive and productive skills (reading, listening, speaking & writing) etc.

The best thing about the course is the inclusion of Teaching Practice. From day two I was teaching a class of 15 adults from all over the world. At first this was intimidating and my handwriting on the white board was childlike, but I eventually built a nice rapport with the students and those coloured pens. On the first day, the teaching plan is given to you and then as you progress, you design your own classes with input from your tutor. After every class you receive feedback from the tutor and your fellow trainees. Every trainee had their areas to work on, mine beginning with assertiveness and boardwork. There are also a few assignments to be handed in. They aren’t hugely challenging but take some time to write up and therefore contribute to the  overall intensity of the course especially when they are due on teaching days.

In all, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and rate it highly. It opens doors to other careers around language, communications or teaching and not just English language teaching. If you do consider it, I suggest ensuring you have no other important commitments during that time. Keep yourself organised and get plenty of rest in your free time as you’ll need to reserve your energy for the classroom. It’s possible to do it abroad but home comforts and guaranteed access to the internet helped me get through it so don’t bother spending money on a hotel near a beach you won’t see much of. Instead, you can get a teaching job somewhere warm when you finish – La Coruña, Spain here I come!

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. mahonco / Jun 3 2013 7:24 pm

    Off to teach English to unruly Spanish celts, that’ll be an interesting experience for an Irish person!

  2. Paul Rafferty / Jun 5 2013 2:58 pm

    Reblogged this on ENGLISH LANGUAGE REVIEW .

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