(If you haven’t read the EnglishDroid Rinvolucri interview, read that instead of this!)
Final week of another CELTA course, and not surprisingly, the ol’ mental acuity might be slipping a bit. Time for an inner-grammatical biscuit!
If you’ve ever seen a trainee after they finish their final observed lesson, you might be surprised to find out that they aren’t quite as keen to soak up detailed oral feedback from their peers or tutors as in previous lessons. To combat this pandemic, some tutors get creative with the observation tasks, a common one being for the peers observing to draw a picture representing the lesson: a happy meal, something abstract, a train wreck, etc. (thanks Jamie King, Brigid Nugent).
But is this going far enough? Last year, a timid Russian candidate decided that she wasn’t into drawing and instead created her own observation task – selecting what kind of dog breed best represented each candidate’s lesson and why. We had a poodle, a German shepherd, and I think a Labrador – Inspired!
So for the last couple of courses, for the final day’s lessons, I’ve let trainees create their own equally random observation tasks. To date:
– Blank verse poetry
– Feedback set to Russian lullabies and military marches
– A map
– A flow chart (exciting!)
– Deciding the type of animal the lesson represented
– Deciding the type of food the lesson represented
– Drawing the type of dinosaur the lesson represented
– Drawing the type of crime the lesson represented
Not a massive list, but it’s produced some great feedback. Although, some of it’s been more funny than helpful, there has also been some really aware and insightful justifications for the choices. Granted, the drawing of New Brunswick flooded by a sea of blood and pigs was a bit arbitrary, but never mind. Proof once again that specific tasks and parameters can get the creative juices flowing.
If anyone else out there is dealing with peer observations, let me know if you have any equally random or trainee generated tasks (or conversely if you just think this is a massive waste of time)! I’ll try to start scanning and uploading some of my favourites too to add to the collection.
 Should be pointed out, they still get detailed written feedback which I’m sure they cherish and savour later.