L For Learning

L for LearningMy first CELTA evening class went very well last night. An enthusiastic, if slightly overwhelmed group of ten students, we were expertly corralled by our tutors, Emma and Stef, through the course introduction, grand tour and Receptive Skills overview. Roughly five hours of paperwork, listening, learning and above all, fun.

Being immersed into a classroom environment, learning new skills, preparing for a completely new career, is really rather exciting. New terms, new ideas, new jargon an mnemonics, it’s like learning a new language. Ironic in a way, as teaching a new language is what we are being taught to do.

I just love learning now. Why did I never feel this way back in school? Was it me, was it the teachers, was it simply because I had to sit there and suffer in silence? I imagine it was a bit of all three put together. There were certainly teachers I liked, some I hated, and a very few I absolutely loved, Mrs Winfield being maybe the most memorable.

I am really enjoying the part-time teaching I am doing. I think the students enjoy the classes. I really try to mix it up each lesson, so they are engaged and not bored by the same style each time. CELTA is a tough course, but if I get half way to being as good a teacher as Mrs Winfield, I’ll be chuffed to bits.

Certified Fun

I Can Sing A RainbowAnother wonderful day of certified teacher training fun. Just full on learning, does it get any better than this? Despite the long day yesterday, and the rather challenging homework on verb tenses, everyone was in excellent spirits and raring to go.

We organised ourselves into new groups and moved to new places in the classroom, just to change things up a bit, and then carried on with the training. The morning started with grammar. Do you know your future simple from your past perfect? I do, well now I do. That was followed by teaching techniques for speaking and reading, writing and listening.

Who would have thought that there were so many interesting ways to introduce language concepts? All the topics covered, from both days, were leading us towards designing, planning and finally presenting a lesson on a topic of our choice. So after a quick stroll into town to buy provisions, we all settled down for a working lunch.

Our team task was to design a ten minute lesson to teach children, at the elementary learning stage, the colours of the rainbow, as listed in the popular song. We created posters for the names of the colours and put them up around the classroom. We sorted ‘tiddly wink’ style counters into groups, so each colour was represented.

Each member of the team had to be involved in a teaching role at some point, so we organised the task into sub-tasks and set about learning our part. Although we had more than two hours to complete the lesson plan, it is amazing how quickly time passes when you are enjoying yourself. So in no time we had to stop designing and start teaching.

Despite the similarity of the tasks, it was fascinating to see how each team had slightly, even vastly, different ways of approaching them. Some people used the flip chart and had pictures, others used the projector and PowerPoint slides, one team even used a chair as a prop.

All the lessons were excellent, lots of fun, and would have met the requirement nicely. Ian and Ashling’s lesson on Prepositions, on, behind, beside, under etc. deserves particular mention, simply because they used Ian and a chair to demonstrate the words. There was much hilarity at the sight of Ian, and subsequently Ashling and others trying to get under the chair.

Standing in front of a group of people and talking, or in our case singing, for ten minutes might be daunting for some people, but everyone either enjoyed the challenge, or put on a very brave face. The one thing that struck every team, was just how quickly the time went. I’m not sure anyone actually completed all the tasks that they had designed into the lesson. But that was just another aspect of our training, don’t try to fit a quart into a pint pot.

All too quickly the day was over. We all gave and received feedback on the weekend as a whole and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to be delighted to hear that I had passed and will receive my practical training certificate in the post.

Apart from being immersed in a completely difference world, that of teaching rather than IT, and learning a whole new set of methods, tricks and tools, I also met a great bunch of people, with whom I shall be conversing via Facebook and email over the next few months or years, about our shared goals and ambitions in our new careers. How exciting is that? !!!

A Day Of Laughter And Learning

A Day Of Laughter And LearningThe first day of my TEFL teacher training course today was great fun. Although it meant an early start and a late finish, the time really flew by.

The teacher is great, the topics are bringing back lessons from school days and the other students are a really good bunch of local people.

My partner for the day, who also comes from the Bournemouth area, is a Nichiren Buddhist, so apart from the English, we had plenty to talk about. The work was pretty relentless, one topic flowing seamlessly into another, though we did manage to take a stroll, en mass, in the lunchtime fresh air and sunshine.

I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but I love being immersed in the world of learning. With a bit of homework to complete before tomorrow’s second installment, it has been a long day, but I am looking forward to a whole lot more of the same tomorrow.

This is the perfect example of making causes for the effects I want to see, and I promise to let you know how it goes.

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