Teaching Vocabulary: CELTA Demo Lesson #1

I went totally crazy when I was offered to teach a set of two demo lessons for a group of 8 Upper-Intermediate students at the upcoming CELTA course in August in St Petersburg. Like really, just a year ago I was a trainee myself observing experienced teachers giving demo lessons and being determined to stand in their place as soon as possible. And now, a year after, I did it. Last Friday, I was there, teaching lessons I had spent a week planning and preparing for and holding a Q&A session afterwards.

The requirements for the demo lessons were easy: 2 lessons 1 hour each, one on systems and one on skills of your choice. It didn’t take long to decide that I wanted to teach lessons on vocabulary and reading, my ultimate favourites.

I love teaching vocabulary. The reason behind this is simple: without words, how can you communicate? When deciding on what words to teach, I always start with the topic.

What are some topics we often talk about? What are some topics my learners will most likely discuss outside the classroom? These are two important questions to ask yourself when you decide on vocabulary topic. Emotions seemed a perfect choice since we evaluate everything happening in our lives emotionally. We constantly feel something: anger, stress, frustration, or joy, happiness, and satisfaction. So I’ve chosen 10 adjectives, 5 negative and 5 positive (some of them were taken from English Vocabulary in Use):

  • apprehensive                                                     ecstatic
  • anxious                                                               thrilled
  • frustrated                                                           stirred
  • miserable                                                            content
  • fed-up                                                                  relieved

My favourite structure for teaching vocabulary is:

1) match & test yourself -> 2) analyze & learn -> 3) memorize & recall -> 4) use & be happy 🙂

Let’s see how it works…

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Systems Presentation: Deep End

I heard this term for the first time during CELTA when we had an input session on TBL (Task-Based Learning). To be honest, I didn’t really understand what it was and how to use it (neither of us did, really). Next time I heard about ‘Deep End’ was during training at my current workplace. It sounded somewhat familiar. I went through an imaginary CELTA folder in my head trying to get a tiny bit of information but failed. It didn’t really ring a bell. The only thing I could remember was the observation video of Jane Comyns-Carr teaching a lesson on Past Perfect using TBL approach, and there was something about ‘Weak End’ and ‘Deep End’, too.

So what is ‘Deep End’?!

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Systems Presentation: Guided Discovery

As promised, today’s entry is about Guided Discovery (GD).

So what is GD?

For me, that’s the most exciting way to present TL! Technically, you just have to provide a good example of TL and help your students to find the rules themselves, without you teaching a single tiny thing. Easy to say, yep. Difficult to do? Not really!

First, let’s look at some pros and cons.

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Systems Presentation: Test-Teach-Test

I decided to continue with publishing a small series of posts focusing on Presentation stage.I know some teachers who consider presentation being a bit – well, how should I put it..? – boring. And it can be boring – if you deliver it in a teacher-centred way (like you do it with Presentation-Practice-Production approach). However, there’re some exciting ways to present FL/vocabulary/grammar point, and in this entry, I’ll tell you about one of them: TTT.

What is TTT?

TTT stands for Test-Teach-Test. This approach works for any level and is as simple as a pie. Consider though that you can only implement this approach with students who already have some previous learning experience since it requires them to use their passive knowledge!

So let’s say you want to teach prepositions. How would you do it using TTT?

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