Category: Training Philosophy

posts exploring why we choose to work the way we do.

a question of trust

There is a basic relationship of trust that needs to be in place for a student to learn from a teacher, and for a teacher to teach a student. 

The student must trust that the teacher offers useful suggestions in good faith, and this trust is expressed in the student making an effort to do what the teacher suggests.  Teacher and student can then see what happens and move on from there. 

Questioning and debating what the teacher offers may be good and may be necessary, but the student needs to accept the offer and play with it for teaching and learning to proceed. 

This is because although trust is earned, it cannot start to accrue without an initial act of faith on the part of the student.

If the student rejects what the teacher offers before trying to do what the teacher suggests, they are free to do so, but then the teacher cannot teach that student and that student cannot learn from that teacher. 

If the student says yes to what the teacher offers, but then in practice does what they originally planned to do, they are free to do so, but that student cannot learn from that teacher and that teacher cannot teach that student. 

Only when the student says yes to what the teacher offers and then goes on at least to try to do this in practice to the best of their ability, can the teacher then teach the student and the student can then learn from the teacher. 

If the student does not trust the teacher to do their job of teaching, the teacher cannot trust the student to do their job of learning.

Or is this wrong?

So you want to be a Celta Tutor? Part 4: Set…

image of Cambridge Assessment Celta Trainer in training Handbook cover

This is a series of posts on the ins and outs of becoming a Celta trainer.  You can find the previous posts here: part one, part two, part three.

Pre-course?

The purpose of the pre-course training phase is to familiarise you with the bulk of administrative and regulatory documentation produced by Cambridge Assessment and your training centre.  You need to be familiar with these documents to a very high degree, and you also need to become aware of any changes to these documents in a timely fashion.

This will involve a lot of desk study of handbooks, timetables, rotas, application forms and other paperwork.  The tasks your centre asks you to complete while inspecting these documents should get you to appraise them critically as well as relate them to each other.

Having said that, bear in mind that you are the novice in this relationship and it is generally better to ask for the reasons why something is arranged the way it is if this is not apparent to you, than it is to assume that the arrangement could be improved; there may be restraints of which you may not yet be fully aware.

In the TinT Handbook, Cambridge outlines 9 areas of study for the pre-course phase, each of which is linked to a task.  I won’t repeat completely what you will find in the handbook here, but instead make a few comments and give some tips of my own in relation to them.  Your own training supervisor may have other advice and if this is the case, follow their lead and see where it takes you.

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So you want to be a Celta trainer? Part 3: Ready…?

image of Cambridge Assessment Celta Trainer in training Handbook coverThis is part three of a series of posts on the ins and outs of training to be a Celta trainer. You can find part one and part two by clicking on those blue links you have just read past. Go ahead and catch up; we’ll wait for you.

The training plan?

So, you have found a Celta centre who wants to train you, and your application to start training has been approved by Cambridge Assessment: what next?

Basically, you embark on a training programme. How long this takes varies, but here are some variations:

  • You shadow a complete course (full-time or part-time) and towards the end start to do some of the work of a tutor under supervision
  • You shadow a complete course and then start to do some of the work of a tutor under supervision on a subsequent course
  • You do the above over a longer set of courses

When I trained up, I did it over one intensive course. I started by sitting in on everything – I basically attended and participated in a Celta course as if I were a trainee. I joined in discussions at times, and at others I sat apart and took notes. Sometimes my colleague in charge of the session would ask for my opinion as a trainee, sometimes as a peer, and sometimes as an observer. This happened mostly during input sessions but also during Teaching Practice (TP) guidance and feedback sessions. So I gained a very powerful sense of the course as it unfolded for a candidate.

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So you want to be a Celta trainer? Part 2: getting your feet in the starting blocks…

image of Cambridge Assessment Celta Trainer in training Handbook coverThis is part two in a series of posts describing and giving advice on the process of training to become a Celta trainer.  You can catch up with Part 1 here.

The training process?

How you are trained will be the same whichever centre you train at.  There will be a difference in how this training is assessed and how your work during the training process is moderated depending on at which centre you complete it.

Cambridge Assessment allows training that is either internally or externally moderated.

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So you want to be a Celta trainer? Part 1: getting to the starting line

image of Cambridge Assessment Celta Trainer in training Handbook coverWho says so?

You do.  You have been asking for help and advice on social media about the ins and outs of getting trained up as a Celta trainer.  This gave me the impetus to collect what I know and what I think about this area in a series of blog posts.  This is for you.

Why listen to me?

I have been a Celta trainer for 13 years and a Celta assessor for 10 years.  In that time, I have acted as a training supervisor and trained Trainers in Training (TinTs) in my capacity as a Celta trainer, and I have conducted external moderation of TinTs as a Celta assessor.  I have been through this process as a trainee, trainer, and assessor, in other words.  I think I know what I’m talking about.  I think I have something useful to say.  Take the following information, opinion, and advice for what it’s worth.

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Shaving and Innovation in Education

cutthroat

Note to the reader: this post originally appeared on the IATEFL Teacher Development SIG website. As a year has gone by and I like having stuff in one place, I’m republishing it here.

I recently started shaving with a straight razor.  No, this isn’t going to be a post about how manly I am.

It’s going to be about how I decided to make this change, and what this has to do with my becoming increasingly mistrustful of innovation as a force for positive educational change.

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Celta hamburg podcast episode 3 – practice made pointless

I took a few minutes to record some thoughts about the past week on my current Celta course for my trainees, focusing on the question of what makes good controlled practice.

I focus mainly on the problem of making controlled practice more than a mechanical exercise, and how to make it easier to check whether students really understand what they are doing.

It’s under 8 minutes long, audio only, so make yourself a cup of tea and let it run in the background.

If you find this useful, give it a thumbs up, and feel free to leave a comment.  Or just do the old fashioned thing and talk to me about it on Monday!

Celta Hamburg Podcast Episode 2

I just made a short podcast for my current Celta trainees up here in Hamburg, where I talk a bit about our general approach to training, teacher talk, language grading, task-setting, work management (less generally interesting unless you are on the course) and tips for passing the Focus on the Learner assignment (these tips may be generally useful for anyone).  It was recorded for a very select audience (you eight people know who you are!), but perhaps it’s interesting for anyone who likes reading my posts.

Shortcuts:
00:00 – introduction
01:27 – Using problems to drive learning
05:25 – teacher talk, keeping instructions simple, and task before text
11:50 – workload management and tips for passing the FoL first time
14:23 – closing

I’d be interested to hear what you think if you give this a listen (especially about whether you would like an audio version to accompany any future blogposts), so drop me a line if you do!

Mr. Gaughan goes to (IH) London

Back in September, I was honoured to be invited by Varinder Unlu to give a short talk for her colleagues at International House London about unplugging teacher training.

IH London record these sessions and so – thanks to their efforts and the magic of the internet – I can share this with you all!

Huge thanks to Varinder and all of her colleagues who showed up, took part and made me feel welcome.

You can also find the video and a short synopsis over at the IH London Blog.

 

Anthony talking about Celta