Celta Assignment 3 Authentic Materials

I think the language skills topic on the CELTA is incredibly useful. As someone who rarely uses textbooks, I’m always searching for authentic reading and listening materials to use in class. Topic 3 on the CELTA gave me a solid overview of how to plan a receptive skills lesson, and the basics I learnt from this module still underpin my practice.

I’ve written an overview of the assignment and a few tips below. Here is a copy of my assignment, and here is a link to the authentic text on the BBC website.

What do I have to do?

Basically this, as the CELTA syllabus states:

That’s a snippet from the CELTA handbook. It only mentions the criteria for reading lessons, but there’s a breakdown for the other skills too. You’ll find this on page 8, and further info on page 17.

So, you have to prove you can do all of the above in a written assignment. This means designing your own lesson based on an authentic text (reading or listening). You must include opportunities in your lesson for students to also practise their productive skills (speaking or writing).

The assignment outline I was given was something like this:

Total words: 1000

Task:Choose one authentic text from the options your tutor will give you

  • Consider your students needs, ability, etc.
  • Don’t adapt or grade the text – if you do then it’s not authentic

Part 1: justify your choice of text (150 words)

  • Why is it suitable for your learners? Reference your background reading (Harmer, Scrivener, etc.)

Part 2:Receptive skill task design (550 words)

  • Talk about how you will introduce the text topic
  • Design an initial reading task for the students (e.g. a gist task)
  • Talk about any vocabulary that you need to pre-teach
  • Design a task where students read for specific detail
  • Explain what the tasks achieve and why they are suitable/useful. Mention background reading when you do this

Part 3: Productive skill task design (300 words)

  • Think of a follow-up task based on the text. This should be either a speaking or a writing activity
  • Write a little rationale on why you’ve chosen this task, how it exploits the text, why is it good for your learners, etc.

That’s an abridged version of the assignment, you’ll no doubt get more detailed info from your tutor, but that is pretty much it.

Tips for task design

My lesson was for upper-intermediate learners.

Part 2: for a lead-in, get the students to talk about the topic. My text was about crazy things that people do while they are sleepwalking. What better way to get students interested in the text than having them discuss that very thing?

What crazy things might people do while they sleepwalk?

I got their ideas up on the board

If you do something like this then you have the basis of your first task.

You have 2 minutes to read the text. Does the text mention any of your ideas on the board?

Students scan the text for relevant information, but also they read for general meaning (gist) as the topics above may appear in the text but worded differently.

I find this is a great initial task for reading/listening texts. Using student ideas gives them a bit of investment in the text too. I use this all the time:

(Another CELTA lesson based on a listening text about New Zealand)

Lead-in: what do you know about New Zealand? (elicit and board responses)

Orientate students to text

Gist Task: Are any of your ideas mentioned in the text?

(A lesson I made last year on a listening text about biscuits injuring people)

Lead-in: what injuries might you get from biscuits (elicit and board responses)

Orientate students to text

Gist Task: Are any of your ideas mentioned in the text?

You can find another example in my lesson about Boudica

Detail task:

True or False questions are generally a good idea for a detail task. I won’t go into much detail here as you’ll get plenty of input about this on your course, but what I would say is this. T/F questions don’t always need a clear answer– you can manipulate your questions in such a way that will provoke discussion among students. By making the answer to a question slightly ambiguous, students may express their opinions, and in doing so they

a) might show a deeper understanding of the text

b) engage more in the text and topic

c) practise more English!

etc.

You can see an example of this in my assignment. Another idea is to include a question which may involve your pre-taught vocabulary. This is a good way to check that they really did understand it!

Part 3: On reflection, I think my productive skills task was a bit rubbish to be honest. You could do better I’m sure. However, whether it’s good or not, you can still get a good mark if you justify WHY you chose that task. My task involved creativity, my students were very creative, so…

a) it was relevant to the learners

b) it showed I learnt a bit about my learners in previous classes

c) it showed that I used what I learnt to inform my practice

So, I guess my main tip for this assignment is to justify everything you do. Think carefully about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Mention your learners throughout the assignment – think about what they gain from the tasks you’ve set. Get a few quotes in the assignment from experts but don’t go overboard – 1000 words isn’t much. Finally, remember what you do in this assignment as it’s extremely useful when you’re starting out!

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Posted in CELTA tips and tagged CELTA, efl, elt, IH Budapest, language skills, language skills assignment, reading for gist, receptive skills lesson, teacher training, tefl on by Peter Pun. 12 Comments
 

1

CELTA

 Assignment 3: Language Skills

I chose

reading

as a receptive skill for this assignment and

writing

as aproductive skill.

 “Reading texts also provide good models for English writing” (

from 

How to Teach English

,

Jeremy Harmer

).It took me a while to find an

 „

authentictext

‟ 

which will motivate my students to read.

‟ They give exposure to „real‟ Englishand can be very motivating for learners.” (

Extract from 

Learning to TeachEnglish

 A practical introduction for new teachers,

Peter Watkins)

The learners are mainly from Easter European countries whose motive for learningEnglish is quite varied. The other is the age factor of the student which means theyhave different needs, competence and cognitive skills. The students in this grouphave from basic to average competence. The majority of students are Romaniansand tend to sit together and help each other. The problem however, is the use of their mother tongue which provokes errors and confusion. (L1 interference )

The authentic text I chose is from a British Health Foundation magazine „HeartMatters‟ issue 41. The text is about the top UK railway walk 

s. I believe that this textwill interest learners because it gives information to explore UK in an inexpensiveway and gives them an opportunity to get together and have a real exposure topractice their English.Most of the text has proper names of places which will help students identifyCapitalization of Proper Nouns.

Students will find that there aren‟t

many new words in the texts which will motivatereading and easy understanding.

Receptive Skills

Reading skills include the sub-skills

reading for gist

reading for specific information

reading for detailed comprehension (intensive reading task)

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