If you liked D of a NCT, you’ll like…

…my new blog:¬†http://muddlesintomaxims.com/!

I know it’s been a while, but I thought I’d just post this here in case anyone who hasn’t seen my new blog might like to follow me over.

Followed this? Go over and follow that! ūüôā




Posted in Diary Entries Newbieness | Leave a comment

Questions about Running Feedback Sessions

A fantastic post by Zhenya!

Wednesday Seminars


I recently worked on an intensive two-week course for teacher trainers. 33 teachers from Lebanon were learning (about) trainer skills, qualities and thinking. Each of them in turns experienced leading one group feedback session with a group of peers. After two or three lessons followed by a feedback sessions we (trainers of trainers) were facilitating reflection on a so-called ‚Äėfeedback on feedback‚Äô session where we reflected on the process, content, strengths, challenges, solutions, doubts, questions, and many more exciting things related to the art of giving and receiving feedback.

The post below is based on one of the last ‚Äėfeedback on feedback‚Äô sessions where each participant (trainer being trained) received one question card and had to ask two other peers (ideally, with different points of view) about their own answers. During the session, we never had time to discuss the results in-depth, so I hope that this post below‚Ķ

View original post 1,657 more words

Posted in Diary Entries Newbieness | 2 Comments

5 Brief ‘Bottom-Up’ ITT Notions

(ITT = initial teacher training, CP = course participant, T = trainer, S = teaching practice class student)

Below are five simple alternative imaginings, each followed by how it’s generally done on the CELTA I work on (btw, this is *not* a critique of the/our standard CELTA, just reflections…a thought experiment).

1. ‘Moving into being the teacher’:¬†

CPs meet + interact w/ Ss first–> CPs watch T’s demo¬†–> CPs peer-teach w/ T –> CPs peer-teach w/ each other –> CPs teach their TP1 (of 9).

…on CELTA: CPs watch T’s demo class¬†–> CPs meet + interact w/ Ss –> ¬†CPs teach their TP1 (of 9).

2. ‘Sources of the lessons taught for training’:¬†

CPs are given lesson source materials, have some time to process how they ‘work’ (and don’t) –> CPs construct lesson plans w/ scaffolds and guidance.

…on CELTA: CPs are given TP Points + Materials at once –> practice teaching with incrementally lessened TP point & tutor guidance, but lessons still pre-chosen (until TP 8/9).

3. ‘Who gives feedback?’:¬†

Use of a system of collecting and analyzing Ss feedback on TP classes, not just T and peer feedback.

…on CELTA: at least on the courses I’m involved with, no such system and only occasional (by me) prompts for CPs to retrieve direct FB from Ss.

4. ‘Here now, gone in 40 minutes’:¬†

Full class recordings for analysis, reflection, and feedback. On the job the opportunity to produce things like this may become rare/unsupported.

…on CELTA: at leat on the courses I’m involved with, no classroom recordings are part of the program (though I’ve encouraged interested CPs to do it).

5. ‘When it’s over, it’s over’:¬†

Follow-up webinars etc.?

…on CELTA: no private CELTA-specific follow-up webinars for graduates, but plenty of heads-up re: post-CELTA online continuing professional development especially through¬†trainers who are aware and engaged in it themselves.

What all five of the above imaginings share, I think, is a bit more of a ‘bottom-up’ sensibility than what is typical of the CELTA course¬†I currently help deliver.

Do any of these things on a TT course? What ones are meaningful to you? Have a #6 that would seem to vibrate on the same wavelength?

Posted in Diary Entries Newbieness | 1 Comment

‘3XP’ is a great idea/reminder…

Click to access guzik-3xp.pdf

That’s all for now ;P

Posted in Diary Entries Newbieness | Leave a comment

CELTA grads & Local ESOL Jobs

I post open positions in local ESOL programs¬†to the ‘Boston ESOL Job Shouts’ page of this blog semi-regularly. I announce and link to these posts on our private online network for current and former CELTA trainees hoping to spark interest and facilitate connections.

We very occasionally get trainees with experience and/or interest in teaching immigrants in ESOL programs. Most trainees, however, are only vaguely aware that such things even exist. I’m hoping to establish more of a connection between the teacher training done here and the local ESOL community. I also think that our CELTA training is quite good training for teachers in these environments.

Here’s an example of a local ESOL position of the sort that I like to share with our graduates and encourage those interested to apply for:

The Cambridge Community Learning Center is looking for part-time ESOL instructor for a high intermediate morning class on T/TH from 9-12 from October-June. The position is 10 hours per week for each 1.5 hours classroom time, 1 hour paid preparation time.


Necessary Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of methods and materials used in ESOL instruction
  • Sensitivity to the needs of the adult learner population
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

Experience and/or Education

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • Minimum of one year of experience teaching ESOL, preferably to adults
  • Experience teaching English using computer-based programs preferred
  • BEST Plus and/or TABE CLAS-E certification highly desirable
  • Experience with the needs of adult learners in a community-based setting

RATE: $25.19 per hour

Most of these are part-time “patchwork”-type positions. That said, they can offer excellent experience-building opportunities for newer language teachers not yet ready to go abroad or workable positions for people who aren’t looking for full-time situations.

Finally, in my experience these programs often lack teaching staff with the type of training the CELTA offers. Learners in these programs are well-served by life skills-oriented syllabi though sometimes to the detriment of achievement of real, practical language learning outcomes. This is why¬†CELTA trained teachers can be great in these environments, and why I always include the types of standardized tests used in Adult Basic Education/ESOL programs in our ‘testing’ input session and highlight¬†teaching in adult literacy programs in our ‘literacy & beginners’ input session. So that they have something extra to bring to the table if and when they do apply.

OMG, ELT. It’s not all about EFL, but also ESOL. CU. BRB. ūüėČ

Posted in Diary Entries Newbieness | 1 Comment

‘Fly High Pecha Kucha’ Redux: What Makes Me Me in ELT

I threw together a recast/redux/rebirth of my online Pecha Kucha from the iTDi MOOC on WizIQ last month. It’s Pecha Kucha presentation as VoiceThread! Feel free to comment if you’re on VT. I made it as a ‘first thought, best thought’ exercise not really entirely remembering what my ‘script’ was the first time around.

Find it here: https://voicethread.com/new/share/6020685/

pecha vtI

Still working on making a MyBrainShark presentation out of my iTDi MOOC webinar…its production keeps getting buried under the weight of other things. I have did this to get myself back in touch with where my head was last month and get inspired to clear the path to getting that done!

Anyway, enjoy. And if you’ve never seen/used VoiceThread…check it out just for that. It’s fantastic.

Posted in Diary Entries Newbieness | Leave a comment

The silent class

A tale of teaching with a message about sensitivity, adaptability, and persistence.


Week after week and class after class, they sit silent.
When they are called on, they sit silent.
When they don’t understand something, they sit silent.
When they understand perfectly, they sit silent.
When they have no specific task, they sit silent.
When they want to say something to their friend, they whisper in the friend’s ear.

What on earth is going on with them? I wondered. I was tottering between frustration and anger. I asked their classmates in another class who are more talkative.

Ahh, they said. Jung-i byeong.

Jung-i byeong. It‚Äôs a thing. It‚Äôs ‚Äúsecond grade of middle school disease.‚ÄĚ Also known as puberty.

I try everything from easier tasks to pep talks. They sit silent.
They will read. They will write. They will listen. But they will not speak.

Is it the topics?

Okay guys, here’s a scrap of paper. Write down the topics you…

View original post 526 more words

Posted in Diary Entries Newbieness | Leave a comment