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.

The most powerful of these impressions was the relentless time pressure that course participants are under, the physical and mental attrition that they have to endure, and the immense flood of stimulus to which they are subjected.

You need to remember this and feel it in your bones as a trainer, because it is all too easy to become short-tempered and intolerant of trainee questions after the first couple of days on a course. “I’ve told you that before”. Yes, and believe me, by the end of a course you will have told that same person that same thing umpteen times. It isn’t entirely their fault. It’s simply overwhelming. Try juggling when someone keeps throwing new balls at you to juggle. While telling you how to juggle. Because you don’t know how to juggle yet. Being on a Celta for the average candidate is a bit like that.

While we are on the subject of time, let’s talk about time commitments for you, the prospective trainer in training, and the centre.

This is what Cambridge reminds training supervisors about prior to commencing training:

The following comments apply to all centres.

An experienced CELTA trainer from the centre must supervise the trainer-in-training. The training supervisor may or may not be involved in the course on which training is being undertaken. If the training supervisor is not involved, the tutors on the course must be appropriately experienced and should be aware that there may be an additional time commitment. As a general rule there should be an hour a day discussion/feedback time with a course tutor and/or the training supervisor. On full-time courses, the supervisor should allow adequate time before, during and after the course for this role. In the case of part-time courses, the time allocated for supervision during the course will need to be pro-rated.

All training supervisors should be given a copy of the Trainer- training and Induction Handbook.

Time allocation for training

The trainer-in-training will need to be allocated time to complete the tasks set, for example:

  • 8 – 10 hours on pre-course tasks
  • observation of 80% of the course with the remainder of course time spent on completing associated tasks
  • 8 – 10 hours on post-course tasks, including work on the portfolio.

Supervising tutors must provide guidance, support and feedback during the programme. Liaison with other course tutors is important to ensure consistency of advice given.

“80% of the course” on a full-time intensive course equals 96 hours over 4 weeks. Which is 24 hours per week.

Let’s be clear. This is just observation. To this we need to add “completing associated tasks”, which will include writing up observation notes, preparing for meetings with your training supervisor, creating input sessions for assessment, running input sessions for observation, completing TP feedback for standardisation, preparing for giving TP feedback, and receiving feedback from your training supervisor (or other responsible colleague) on any and all of the above.

In short: you’ll be busy.

But what does a training plan look like? Well, that depends on how long your training period is, but in any case it will need to prepare you to deal with the following basic areas and – along the way – prepare you for the associated challenges:

  • Familiarise you with the general rules, regulations, syllabus and administration of the Celta
  • Acquaint you with the standards expected in terms of TP performance and Written Assignment (WA) quality
  • Introduce you to a range of methods for delivering Input sessions which meet the requirements of the Syllabus
  • Provide you with opportunities to practise designing Input and writing TP feedback
  • Provide you with opportunities to deliver input that you have designed and that has been assigned to you
  • Provide you with opportunities to deliver TP feedback on lessons you have observed and assessed
  • Provide you with opportunities to observe the application, interview, tutorial, assessment visit and final grading processes
  • Provide you with ongoing opportunities to reflect on these aspects of training both in writing and in discussion with your supervisor and colleagues.

How precisely this is achieved will vary from centre to centre. However, in the TinT Handbook there are quite clear guidelines and example programmes that centres can follow. Here is the first one they provide, which outlines the general progression of a training programme over a one-month period:

Intensive one course training programme

Pre-Course Work

  • Review candidate profiles and applications. Fill in candidate profile grid
  • Review pre-course task.

Course Work

Week 1

  • Observe Input. Take notes on input sessions observed
  • Observe TP and TP feedback with Training Supervisor and complete TP feedback sheets for lessons observed in TP
  • Discuss standard of lessons with Training Supervisor.

Week 2

  • Observe input. Take notes on input sessions observed
  • Plan, prepare and deliver 1 input session to be observed by Training Supervisor
  • Observe TP and TP feedback on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. Complete TP feedback sheets
  • Thursday and Friday: Observe TP, complete TP feedback sheets and conduct TP feedback sessions under the supervision of Training Supervisor
  • Mark the written assignments (Assignment 1) of the five trainees observed in TP in week one.

Week 3

  • Observe input. Take notes on input sessions observed
  • Plan, prepare and deliver 1 input session
  • Observe tutorials and complete CELTA 5 Tutorial record for candidates observed in weeks one and two
  • Observe TP, complete TP feedback sheets and conduct TP feedback sessions under the supervision of Training Supervisor and Support Tutor
  • Mark the written assignments (Assignment 2) of the trainees observed in TP.

Week 4

  • Observe input. Take notes on input sessions observed
  • Plan, prepare and deliver 1 input session to be observed by the course assessor
  • Observe TP, complete TP feedback sheets and conduct TP feedback sessions under the supervision of Training Supervisor and Support Tutor
  • Conduct TP feedback observed by the assessor
  • Mark the written assignments (Assignments 3 and 4) of the five trainees observed in TP this week
  • Prepare portfolio for inspection by the assessor
  • Take part in the meeting on candidates’ progress and grades prior to the assessor’s visit
  • Attend grading meeting and discussion with the assessor
  • Attend end of course meeting and assist in writing end of course reports.

So as I’ve said before, you’ll be busy. Clear your schedule. If you don’t, don’t come crying to me.

In the next post, let’s look at the work you will be expected to complete before the course starts.

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