Last week, I did done CELTA assessments on consecutive days, in different centres and want to share the thoughts that came from them:
Day 1 – during the grading meeting, as usual the tutors and I went systematically through the eleven trainees’ profiles, one by one. The tutors have expanded on the thumbnail sketch they’ve provided me with, and including for a candidate whose provisional grade is effectively their final grade, i.e. Jane’s a Pass and won’t be any more or less by the end of the course. On reflection that evening, I wondered about the value of discussing the progress of those trainees a. whose portfolios I hadn’t looked at and b. whose provisional grades weren’t open, e.g. Pass B/Pass. My thoughts were that during every assessment I’ve done, I’ve found myself taking the tutors’ word for it regarding such candidates. I have nothing to contribute to the discussion because I have neither seen them teach nor reviewed their portfolio.
Day 2 – so I made a decision to ask at the grading meeting when at the second centre the next day, if the tutors would be happy to skip those and focus our attention on the others. This made sense to them, and the discussion seemed more purposeful. I’ll do it again. The other new development at that second assessment was that I saw Slack in operation for the first time. This is a platform I mentioned in my New Year message and which I would like to use in teaching practice to allow chat between tutors and the trainees while they’re observing lessons. What I noticed was the insight the trainees showed while watching their peers, their comments showed awareness. Interestingly, in another TP room, the tutor successfully instigated a lo tech version of this with post it notes, saying that he didn’t want to use Slack as he can’t look at a screen for long. I take from this that a. with both the hi and the lo tech, trainees are able to respond in the moment to what’s happening compared to an observation sheet which is usually prescriptive and that b. with Slack we are allowing trainees, often in their 20s and 30s, to operate where their lives are outside the course i.e. on screen. Will our books of observation tasks be superseded, then?