If you say so…

8 Aug

I love new teachers-in-training. The enthusiasm, the motivation, the energy, the willingness to actually listen to me – it’s all good. And although I sometimes despair, I also love their creative use of ELT terminology.

With that in mind, I thought I would share a few of my favourite quotations from CELTA courses over the last four years, from lesson plans, self-evaluations, assignments, etc. This is in no way intended to be disparaging, but is a celebration of creative ELT language. If other trainers have any more hidden gems to add, please leave a comment.

From written assignments

• Here I give you the greatest opening sentence for a CELTA written assignment ever produced:

To begin, a special thanks to the learning style of adults.

Yeah! Give it up to our individual learning differences! Kinaesthesia rocks!

• And from an assignment analyzing the learners:

Mistakes are committed when using their receptive skills.

I tried imagining this then gave up.

From lesson plans

• After seeing an endless parade of personal aims focused on ‘giving clear instructions’ or ‘reducing TTT’, this following aim was like a breath of fresh air. A convoluted, incomprehensible breath of fresh air:

Have an overall plan to make an initial starting point for all other facets attached for teaching delivery system. Having trouble keeping up to get finished in time enough to deal with what I have created.

• Some of my all time favourite collocations come from the trainees stage aims and procedure. Here are just a few classics:

Drill the concept
Repeat after me ‘The present simple is used for routine actions’, ‘The present simple is used for routine actions’

Drill for fluency
I suppose they could have meant drilling language chunks in order to increase automaticity thereby leading to greater fluency – but I somehow doubt it…

Setting the concept

The little past continuous was walking along, when suddenly the big bad past simple pounced!

Discuss for accuracy
I really wish I could do this in Spanish.

Identify meaning through sound

Listen in pairs
Hey, what did I say about listening alone? This is an interactive class!

Vigorous mouth postures
No comment.


• I love a crazy task check, and these are just a few of my favourites:

Will you read alone?

While holding up an article: Are you going to listen to the text?

• There have been some classic CCQ’s as well but my all-time favourite had to be this check for the word ‘exhausted’:

Is she happy?

I couldn’t help but giggle when a student quipped that it depends on why she’s exhausted.

And finally…

Something off of a self-evaluation that I think we can all relate to:

This lesson was like an out of body experience watching myself suck.

Could you have said it any better?


5 Responses to “If you say so…”

  1. anaxili August 9, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Love it! I think my favorite answer from a trainee was when she told me the four skills were: Intention, Connection, Meditation and Concentration.

    • Ben Naismith August 9, 2011 at 8:58 am #

      I think I could use more meditation on my own courses!

  2. Chris Ożóg February 20, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    And of course, let’s not forget the instant classic CELTA day 9 question “is English the Target Language?”. Well, one would ultimately hope so…

  3. Jamie King July 1, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    My all time favourite CCQs (in reverse order):

    4) Can can change its form? (Moulin Rouge anyone??)
    3) Is a swimming pool full of coffee? (checking god knows what!)
    2) Is it a bicycle? (checking “pet”!!)
    1) Was I all wet when he tried to get hold of me? (checking “I was having a shower when the phone rang.” !!!)

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