One Important Point // CLT is a highly specialised and difficult skill
It is very important to realise that becoming conversant and skilled in CLT methodology takes years and years of dedicated effort. Just because of teacher studied CLT does not mean he or she will be good. There can be lazy teachers, corrupt teachers, and teachers with bad attitudes. To do it well, every lesson takes preparation, effort, and careful thinking. Following the CLT principles needs constant attention to detail, self-discipline, and self-control. Teachers need to constantly strive to get better, and it takes work if everything is going to fit together like the above picture!
As a teacher trainer (for five years at Monash University), I had to fail many people who tried to become teachers. They just didn’t have the open-mindedness and mental flexibility to handle it. They lacked the people skills and confidence. They were too traditional, and wanted to ‘teach’ in the traditional way (= explain endlessly about grammar to silent, still, and bored students).
My job as a teacher trainer was to begin to instill the necessary skills and awareness of the CLT principles. However, let me also say that most people passed the course, but that was also because there was an initial interview before the course where we checked that the candidate was an intelligent, open-minded, and decent individual. Close-minded, unintelligent, and self-serving individuals do not make good teachers; if they got into a CELTA course, they usually dropped out fairly quickly. Here, I could give a few stories of people like that – but that’s quite negative.
However, I will say that, interestingly, the candidates who always had the most trouble passing the CELTA courses were teachers and lecturers of other university subjects. We had one candidate who taught philosophy (at our university), and he constantly struggled to change his thinking.
Remember, these sorts of people have spent their whole career teaching ‘traditionally’. This is fine when teaching philosophy (in English) to English-speaking people – but it is a disaster when teaching English to a group of Indonesians, Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese students from abroad. The good news is that this teacher passed the course (although with great effort), and was thus set on the path to becoming an EFL teacher. He eventually went to China.
And when I did the CELTA in 1993, I passed, and first went to Thailand, where I began taking it very very seriously as I realised how powerful it could be in helping students REALLY learn.
Now, check that you know the meaning of the underlined vocabulary (also repeated below).
- to be conversant (adj)
- self discipline (n)
- to strive (v)
- mental (adj)
- initial (adj)
- a disaster (n)
The next post will give a personal story which will make all this clearer.
If you want to find out more about me, go to aisielts.com .