CELTA Techniques – For Teachers



hi everyone my name is seal I just finished the celtic course here in the United States and I want to tell you about some of the techniques that we learn that maybe you can use in your classroom so one of the first ones or most important ones I think is m PF right m PF this is a technique you can use you could also use MFP but MP f stands for meaning pronunciation form you can use it when you teach grammar or vocabulary first you give a meaning then you practice the pronunciation of the target language and then you talk about the form like the part of speech or the syllable stress things like that so let's talk about an example maybe I'm teaching vocabulary and I want to teach the word match you know like you light a match there are many different ways to do this but using MPF I want to start by using meaning first I have to give a context I have to give meaning to the word you can't just pull the word match out of thin air and teach it you have to give a story hold up a match raelia or something so I'm going to tell a story to give meaning to this word first maybe you tell the students to close their eyes and you say something like imagine it's a dark and stormy night it's raining there's a lot of thunder and lightning suddenly your electricity goes out there's no power there are no lights however it's okay because you have a candle and you have something you can use to light the candle this thing can start a fire it's a very thin little stick it comes in a small box with many other little sticks does anyone know what it is so I gave context and then I asked do you know what it is I'm trying to elicit from maybe one of the strong students who already knows the word so you try to elicit it if no one knows the word then you just tell them okay this word is match everyone listen match match and then you have them repeat right you do drilling you say everyone match match match match they repeat and then you could give pronunciation in the context of a sentence you can use a match to light a candle everyone you can use a match to light a candle so they say it within the context of a full sentence so we did meaning then we did pronunciation and then we can talk about form right now you can actually write the letter so they they get meaning and they hear it first and now you can actually write it on the board you can write you know match and you can ask them what part of speech is this you know try to elicit that of course it's a noun and you could ask where is the stress which syllable has the stress now this word just has one syllable so you know match that's all and then you can talk about any problem sounds you can ask the students you know what does this sound like and they'll say ah right you can use little phonemic transcription symbols to clarify the pronunciation some students don't know these insulted they do talk about them a lot and it's a very common you know thing in ESL but a lot of the some students will know them like this is a right match if you want to write out the full word you know I think it is math hey or this you know I don't know if I made that correctly but match right hmm the CH just kind of like anyway and that's it so if you're teaching grammar or vocabulary you know you can use the MPF sequence give a meaning drill pronunciation and then look at the form you might ask why use that sequence well you know I don't know my my ideas are that and what they told us is it's largely because of English spelling you know if students see a word written before they say it it's likely to distort their pronunciation you know English spelling is often so different from the way it's pronounced that if they see it first they will try to pronounce it that way and that's it and also you can kind of make the argument that the MPF sequence kind of mimics how we naturally learn language like as children you know first you hear a word and you say it how you hear it maybe you hear your parents use it and then you say it and then later at more advanced levels you read it and then you write it okay so that's an MPF another CELTA technique and it's called well it's not just a Celtic technique I mean any of these are used by different people and things but this is called a CC to CC q that means concept check question so generally speaking it's actually not a good idea to ask students like okay so does everyone understand you shouldn't ask if everyone understands because the students will always say yes they will always not they don't want to single themselves out and you know embarrass themselves or whatever so they're always going to say they understand so you need visible evidence that they understand you cannot just take their word for it and they wouldn't tell you anyway so you need evidence you get evidence through a ccq concept check question and a concept check question is like a short question that gets a short answer and it provides you with observable evidence that they really get it you know usually a concept check question is like a yes/no question and you can ask maybe like three of them and that will give you a good sense they really understand for example in the last video I taught the vocabulary word match like like you light a match so first I teach the word match we talk about the meaning the pronunciation the form and now I need to concept check this so I will ask some CC cues right I'll see okay so everyone our match is big they should say no can matches start a fire they should say yes is it a good idea for children to play with matches no so and you can ask a couple more maybe three is enough but anyway ask a series of these short questions so are they big so can we start a fire so can I eat matches you know they would say no you can ask whatever kind of questions you want but that is it concept check questions don't always have to be done with a question like in a lesson on fruit you could actually hold up pictures of fruit and if students can say can identify the picture with the correct word well the new kind of concept checked right so actually there are lots of ways to concept check but one of the most common ways is with one of these questions ccq concept check question okay let's talk about something else I want to talk about the difference between systems and skills systems and skills so let's write some things down you know in English or with any language you have vocabulary probably the most important thing I guess you could dispute that but vocabulary also grammar also when we think about learning a language we think about we think about reading and listening speaking and writing now I'd actually like to divide these things into two groups right these two are called systems vocabulary and grammar are systems now there are more systems like pronunciation or discourse things like that but these are the main two systems these are things that you need to do these things right you need vocabulary and grammar to do the others and vocabulary and grammar are a little more finite or concrete you could actually in one lesson learn very concrete grammar and walk away with knowledge of five new words or you could learn a grammar structure in one day something concrete finite you can walk away from a lesson knowing something specific however with these these are called skills and you cannot learn these in a day right these are things you must practice or develop over time right you know when you write a lesson plan and you write your aims for the lesson the language you can use in a in a systems lesson is maybe clarify write your aim is for students to or your aim is to clarify and for students to use these means if you're teaching a skills lesson you wouldn't say clarify you could say practice or develop right we clarify and use these practice and develop these so that's that and you could divide the skills into different groups you know reading and listening are called receptive skills right receptive skills kind of receiving information it's more passive you know you're not making or producing anything you are taking in information through a text yeah through it you know a text something you're reading or listening these skills you would call productive because you are actually making or creating language right with information you're saying something you're writing something it's coming out of you it's more active not passive so we have a distinction here between systems and skills now if we know about this distinction we can then talk about frameworks we can use to plan our lessons okay so we talked about MPF we talked about CC Q's we talked about the difference between systems and skills now it's kind of put it all together let's talk about frameworks frameworks are kind of well the frameworks you can use to sequence your lesson now when you teach a lesson on grandma or vocabulary reading writing speaking listening what sequence should you use what should you teach first what should you teach second what kind of activities should you use well you know we can use these frameworks these kind of default templates to practice whatever the target language or skill set is so let's start with systems let's do a systems framework remember systems are grammar vocabulary and some other things but we'll talk grammar and vocabulary okay so let's look at this if you're going to teach grammar or vocabulary you could use this framework this is a kind of classic framework that's called PPP some people take issue with this there are other ways to teach it you could do TTT test teach test there are other things but it's a kind of you know classic thing to do PPP the first P is presentation right the teacher kind of presents the target language next is practice right the students practice it and then finally they produce they speak or write using the language so first we have presentation we begin with a lead-in are you get the students attention then you MPF the target language you have to give a meaning or context you know and then you kind of try to elicit the form or if you can't just tell them the form practice the pronunciation talk about the different parts of the verb or the pronunciation or spelling or anything like that next you do some very mechanical practice yeah it's very controlled then you do semi controlled so there's a little bit of structure a little bit of they have just a just a little bit of freedom but generally they're pretty restricted and then the last one is free personalized practice they use the target language to talk about themselves in their lives and things that are meaningful for them and their writing or their speaking so let's just go through a kind of example the example that I want to use is must have must have for speculating about the past you know when you make a kind of guess about what's what's almost certainly true in the past you're 95% sure you can say well he must have done this or they must have gone there or must have past participle that's my target language its grammar it's a system let's use a systems framework of course we'll start with presentation lead-in this is just some way to get their attention I usually I think it's good to get their attention on some kind of picture so here's what I could use I could use this picture of someone hey you could ask the class where's this guy and of course they'll say a party and you said that's right it's a party in fact that's me this is your teacher at a party and that's the lead-in then you can move into the MPF let's do meaning first and you can say things like okay that's right party your teacher went to a party you know last Saturday night I went to a party and all my friends were there and my friend Maria was there too we all had a great time but you know later that night I wanted to tell Maria something but I couldn't find her so I asked everyone hey where's Maria no one knew we looked in every room of the house but we couldn't find her we looked outside for her car well it was dark but you know we we didn't really see her car and someone said well she went blank blank home and you could ride on the board you know she blink-blink-blink home and then you could try to elicit the answer from a student there may be one strong student who knows the answer and if they say it yes that's right must have gone if they if no one knows just tell them okay the answers must have gone she must have gone home okay that's meaning now you do MPF the P is pronunciation so okay everyone listen she must have gone home she must have gone home everyone she must have gone home and they repeat she must have gone home and they repeat again now you can talk about the f right MPF the form so then you can actually write on the board well let's write it here finally after they have to given them meaning and context and everything finally we can write it she must've gone home right form they see it written and you can say more about the form right you can say this is the verb now how many parts are there oh there are three what's the first part must what's the second part have what's the last part it's a past participle okay so this is form also you could do more pronunciation you know a native speaker at talking at normal speeds would probably say must've right must have okay class everyone must have must've insulted does emphasize using very natural speech if you say she must have gone home they don't really like that insulted because it's not authentic people don't really talk like that so she must have gone home that's it of course you could use your little phonemic transcriptions if you want many students don't know this I'm sure many teachers think it's a bad idea but insulted they do recommend you could say you know I guess it would be must've that's supposed to be a schwa must've must've but you know a lot of teachers will say the students don't know this and it's a waste of time whatever it's up to you also you should do some CC Q's right concept check questions to make sure that they understand so for this example sentence she must have gone home you can ask questions like is this about the past present or future so look past okay they understand do we think Maria went home yes okay they understand are we totally sure or almost totally sure are we 100% sure 95% sure they should say almost right 95 okay there are our concept check questions so so there we did we did the MPF meaning pronunciation and form now we're ready to continue let's do some practice right controlled semi controlled you know if you do how would you God okay here it is if you do a controlled practice it could look like this this is a kind of controlled practice thing right he blinked blink blink two bit and maybe you should have a conversation to give more context to it person a person B but notice how it's very mechanical they're just kind of you know maybe conjugating verbs or something there's no freedom here you have to say must have gone it's the only possible answer then you go on you do semi-controlled practice maybe like this how does he speak French so well well he notice there are a few things they could say here he must have taken some French classes he must have lived in France you know so there's some freedom but it's still a little bit restricted and then at the very end finally you do production right PPP the last ones production free personalized practice with the target language here you could ask them to write some you know think of some mysteries that about things in your own life that you don't know for sure but you can guess what probably happened you know speculating about the past or write a paragraph and you must use must have must've past participle once or twice or maybe give them discussion questions about like people in the class know maybe well you know Steve came in yesterday and he looked like this so what must have happened to him and then they have to discuss and they have to use the target language anything could be done here but so that's just an OK let's talk about the last thing let's talk about a framework for skills skills reading writing speaking listening now two of the skills are productive skills speaking and writing now actually those skills are so vast and so flexible that they could be anything there's not really a universal framework or template or anything that I can tell you about because you know notice what are they speaking about how long what are they writing about it writing sentences essays there's there's not really a great you know framework for productive skills you'll have to be kind of creative with that for receptive skills reading or listening there is a kind of very basic framework that you can use so let's talk about that this is the receptive skills framework right here so this is reading and listening reading and listening so if we're reading and listening you can use this kind of staging pretext text post text now here actually the word text it does not necessarily mean a written in text it can also be for listening text is just the passage or the information that's being read or listened to anyway so before they read or listen there needs to be some kind of lead-in you know get their attention next you should pre-teach blocking vocabulary use the MPF technique to teach them any words that might prevent them from understanding the meaning of the text how many words should you pre teach probably just five at the most I try to limit it to about five yes so you know you have to set the meaning try to elicit the word drill the pronunciation write the form on the board you know you'll have to do it kind of quickly probably to save time but pre teach blocking vocabulary then you will actually read the text right you will give them a focus question and set them on task one which is probably skimming for gist getting some kind of big picture idea and then they will kind of pair check and do feedback with the teacher and then you'll set them on task to reading it again probably a little more intensely with some more difficult questions at the end right and then after that post text you will have them discuss or write about what they have read or listened to right so let's see I'll kind of walk you through it I'd actually don't have like a lot of props or examples or things but let's just talk about it again quickly so first right pretext you would do some kind of lead-in to get their attention maybe I want to have them read something about a man who goes on vacation and he had a terrible vacation right it was so bad everything went wrong well first maybe I just go to the board and I draw a picture of some guy on the beach right I'm just drawing a picture and then I turn to the students and say what's going on here and I say oh beach she's on vacation or something and that's it you're like your vacation you know today we're going to read something about a man who went on vacation and then you'll say but before we read it we need to learn some vocabulary words that will help us understand what we will read right so then you launch into the MPF thing right if you have a word now this is something that the dot you elicited practice pronunciation form okay so did lead in pre teach blocking vocabulary next what we do is we we have to show them what they're going to read you have to show them before you give it to them so you actually have to hold up what they will read and you will say I'm going to give you this story right I'm going to give you the story I want you to read it and while you are reading it I want you to answer this question and then on the board you write a focus question this focus question is task number one the focus question that you write on the board is task one the focus question should probably be something very general something very big picture for my story I might write did the man have a good or bad vacation you know it's a very general question and so they have that focus question and then then you would distribute the reading exercise and they would read it and look for the answer to that focus question that's it it's very important insult it's very important that you you have to show them what they will read give them the focus question then distribute the actual passage if you just distribute the passage first they're looking at it and they're not listening to anything that you're saying also you must give them a focus question in Salta or anywhere not just salta but it's considered very bad and to just say read this in real life we don't just read things there's always a purpose for reading them so you must give them a purpose that's why you give them a focus question and task one the focus question I mean it's sorry right here it's probably you know the skill being used the sub skill is probably like skimming skimming for gist getting a big-picture general idea of what it's about okay so they read it they have an answer to the focus question in their head then you should have them pair a check right you should always have them pair check with the person next to you I want you to talk about what you think is the answer to this focus question so they talk to each other and then you can do whole class feedback right when they finish talking to each other ask them okay so what do you think did he have a positive or negative experience and then okay why and maybe they tell you all the negative words they saw in there in the passage okay yes good he had a very bad experience now let's read it again let's try to read it a little more closely this time and then we will look at some some more questions so that's it you have them read it again and then you might distribute some more difficult questions with a different sub focused on a different sub skill not skimming for gist maybe scanning for detail maybe inference maybe something like that that's it read again distribute the questions they try to answer them and then of course pair check right after they complete their answers they check or compare with each other and they kind of work things out and discover things and then you do a whole class feedback you talk about the answers or maybe just talk about the the answers that you've heard being a problem when you're monitoring you know as they work together you can monitor to see which numbers are kind of confusing people and just discuss those that's it test two finished and then you would do some kind of post text task which is productive so then you know you might put them into groups with discussion questions like have you ever had a bad vacation you know what happened or maybe what is what would be your nightmare vacation like imagine the worst possible things that could happen on vacation you know and discuss or maybe write a paragraph about a bad experience they had or could have something but it has to be productive it must be speaking or it must be writing and it's a little bit more reflective so that's it that's a framework that you can use for receptive skills

25 thoughts on “CELTA Techniques – For Teachers”

  1. Really liked your descriptions of the various CELTA techniques. On my last week of the course and it is a nice, succinct summary of the masses of material one has to plough through in just four weeks. I hope you went on to become a trainer as you seem to know your stuff.

  2. I think you are one of the best guy who teach us clearly, creatively and with innovative ideas and concepts…….. thanks THEO

  3. I disagree that we should not first show the word on the board or screen before teaching the pronunciation. Showing the word first helps students grasp the proper pronunciation. To say the reverse technique — speaking the word before showing the word — is more akin to how we learn words as children, is somewhat specious. That is, sure we learned a lot of words as children before we saw the word spelled out, but many words we have learned were presented in written form first throughout our lives. To attempt to mimic the process of a native speaker, in which language is acquired naturally when we are children, has limited value, since our TEFL students are not native English speakers, and therefore won't respond in the same communicative-need dynamic which framed our early language learning experiences. I say, show the word before you ask them so speak it, as listening is not as accurate a tool as reading, in terms of grasping new vocabulary. Accents play into this too, as British and American dialects present different phonic outcomes from the same spelling. Further, I doubt that any student was impeded in their vocabulary acquisition because the word was shown prior to spoken.

  4. well, teachers would've spent a lifetime spelling out terms like candle, thunder, storm and sticks before they could present what a 'match' is, or could've put it more simply by showing a picture of the object it while looking at the actual spelling and repeating it aloud.

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