Will Revising Grammar Help Me Apply for the CELTA Course?
When I applied for the CELTA course, I distinctly remember being told that I was a weak applicant on account of my language awareness. I was a little surprised to be honest, I’d always considered myself to be fairly solid when it came to English.
What I hadn’t understood was this: it's one thing to be articulate and a good communicator in English and quite another to determine how bits of language hang together, how meaning is made and how to communicate that effectively to a learner.
I had the typical experience of learning grammar or a foreign language at school that included translations, little meaningful use of the target language and incredibly boring and easily forgettable grammar lessons. What is exciting about the CELTA course is seeing just how meaningful, creative, enjoyable and effective language teaching can be, when done well.
Grammar knowledge and wider language awareness
A very important thing to understand right from the beginning when you think about teaching English to speakers of other languages is that grammar is just one area of language you’ll be teaching, not the whole thing. It’s like taking one species out of an ecosystem and trying to make analyse it alone without its habitat.
What should I be thinking about as I go into CELTA training? What are tutors looking for as I do my pre-CELTA tasks?
Below is a video from our ELTCampus Grammar Refresher Course that looks at the areas we consider when we look at language and what needs to be taught t our students.
Test Your Knowledge
A good understanding of core grammar is one of the building blocks of teaching. Later on, you can start looking at teaching methods and approaches where grammar takes a back seat, but in order to do that, you need to have a clear understanding of the fundamentals as well as ideas for clear, simple (and possibly visual) ways to help students understand what bits of language mean.
The ELTCampus Grammar Refresher is focused on exactly what you need to be aware of going into the CELTA. No more no less. The aim is not for you to be an expert, but to have solid entry-level understanding. Expertise develops over time and through teaching practice itself. This is the best and most memorable way of gaining in-depth grammar knowledge and language awareness.
Try out this typical pre-CELTA task question:
Can you answer these questions confidently? These are taken from a Pre CELTA task that forms part of the CELTA Application.
1. Look at the sentence below and label the 15 parts of speech using the parts of speech given. You will need to use some of them more than once.
Sentence: A really good teacher thinks hard about likely errors and then he/she plans the lesson carefully.
Parts of speech: noun (n.) verb (v.) adjective (adj.) adverb (adv.) pronoun (pron.) article (art.) conjunction (conj.) preposition (prep.)
How did you go? Could you identify them?
2. Look at the sentences below and make notes about the meaning/use and form of the language, including any terminology that you already know. You can use your own existing knowledge, as well as an appropriate language reference resource.
a) When we arrived, Pronoun was jumping into the river.
b) When we arrived, Pronoun had jumped into the river.
c) When we arrived, Pronoun jumped into the river.
Now check out this video from the ELTCampus Grammar Refresher Course and see if you would change anything about how you explain these time structures.
Improve Your CELTA Course Work
The very important thing to realise when applying for the CELTA is that you’re not expected to know everything! The tasks are designed to make you think about important features of language and teaching, so if they’re new to you, that’s all part of the learning process. But if you want to do some research for the tasks, that’s great – it’s not cheating! Any preparation you can do, e.g. to make yourself more comfortable with grammar, will be very useful.
The major challenge of the CELTA as a course, is the amount of new information and concepts you are expected to absorb and incorporate into your thinking, planning and teaching in a short period of time. Preparation is key. The Grammar Refresher from ELTCampus forms part of a super Pre-CELTA Preparation Bundle that covers what you need to know. When you come to do your CELTA course, you’ll hit the ground running.