Sheffield Teacher Training Symposium

We’ve just had Day 1 of this Cambridge English Teaching Awards weekend event and the overall feeling is that it’s great compared to others because it’s just for us – trainers.

Here are the best bits and key themes from today:

1. digital tools:

  • mentioned by CETA’s David Charnaud’s update on their awards, as it’s going to be included on the CELTA Syllabus
  • identified as the key area for trainers’ CPD in Clare Booth’s session.  We should catch up with our trainees when it comes to tech in the classroom, and one way is to involve tablets/phones in language analysis sessions, directing trainees to and
  • will be to the fore when e-portfolios for CELTA will be introduced in the new year

2. NS and NNS teachers:

  • David Charnaud announced that, partly in response to Centre feedback that CELTA doesn’t prepare trainees for monolingual classes, added to 5.3 of the syllabus will be ‘use of L1 where appropriate’.  This prompted a question ‘What if the TP tutor then can’t understand parts of a lesson?’.  Mmmm.
  • related to another idea shared by David Charnaud, that of a standardised pre-course LA module for CELTA trainees, I had the chance to discuss with Helen Rose the idea of differentiating this,  NS directed to grammar and NNS to lexis
  • an idea from Judith Hudson’s session on CELTA Course Design: pairing NS and NNS trainees to play to their respective strengths: NS help with lexis, proofreading, pronunciation and NNS with grammar and the phonemic chart

3. Assessing CELTA:

  • Alastair Douglas’ session prompted a very useful discussion as 2 joint chief assessors were in the audience to clarify stuff, as below, along with Helen Rose
  • we can speed up work on portfolios by looking at key lesson papers rather than all TP plans e.g. choose a language and a skills/most recent/a NS lesson/a level change
  • do take care writing your reports as they are read by Cambridge, specifically by the Joint Chief Assessors
  • in the Panel Discussion that ended the day, a passionate appeal from Centres and assessors for Cambridge to reconsider its plans to downgrade external CELTA assessment requirements.  The plan is not to assess every course as currently happens, but only certain courses in Centres that have experienced tutors running them back to back.  The arguments in the room were that tutors, experienced they may be, want and need the rigour that comes from  telling trainees ‘our course is externally assessed’ and the support of the assessor on the day.

…and a wonderful analogy from Jo Gakonga in Judith’s sesh on being in a new training context and being able to design her own course ‘it’s like going from renting and then buying a house and I can paint the walls exactly the way I want.’

More to follow about Sunday’s sessions…



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