CELTA timetables – what’s in yours?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I’m sure we can all agree on the essential ingredients of a CELTA timetable: sessions on classroom management, a  bit about the learner, plenty of language analysis slots, enough focus on lesson planning,  and all the compulsory ‘beyond the course’ week 4 sessions.  However, deciding how to timetable these sessions is trickier as there are so many different ways to structure the content.  That’s why a few of us thought it would be useful to compare different approaches on the DIY development site.

In my experience, the hardest part is deciding what to include in week 1 of your timetable.  Everything seems important, and yet you don’t want to overload your trainees with information so that they are exhausted by the first weekend.  In contrast, you don’t want to appear to be holding any secrets back, and some trainees don’t appreciate being drip fed information.  I’ve redesigned my week 1 several times and am still working on it.  Looking at other people’s timetables has certainly helped to shape my week 1 and inform my decisions.  I’ve also been encouraged to experiment with a more ‘whole-to-part’ approach.  Working with different teams of tutors has been a great way to gain a better understanding of the timetabling options available to us as trainers.  I hope we can share ideas and explore some of these options in this section of the site.

Reflective task

Some trainers have recorded themselves giving a brief overview of their timetable.  Before you listen, think about the content of your own CELTA timetable.  What are your answers to the questions below?

1) Do you do all the CELTA admin on the first day?
2) Do you do a foreign language lesson?
3) Do you give trainees a demo of a whole lesson at the beginning of the course?
4) Do you use the term ‘lesson shapes’?
6) When do you start analysing language with the trainees?  Do you look at grammar or vocabulary first?
7) When is your first session on phonology?
8 )When do trainees have to submit their first plan?  How much help are they given with lesson planning in input?
9) When do you set up each of the four assignments?  Do your input sessions refer to the assignments?
10) Do you have any ‘to be confirmed’ slots on your timetable?

Recordings of different timetables

Now you can see what these trainers think about the content and structure of their CELTA timetables.  Do their views match your own?  They have recorded themselves using an online tool called a Jing.  Jings allow you to capture an image of your computer screen at the same time as recording a voiceover, so you will be able to see the timetables in front of you as you listen. Please let me know if you would like to ‘do a Jing’ of your own timetable.  It would be great to collect a few more examples.

Richard:  http://screencast.com/t/NnFu0884

Catriona:  http://screencast.com/t/e6V5uczMVg

Melissa (weeks one and two):  http://screencast.com/t/y78oAIsomCGA

Nick W:  http://screencast.com/t/TbRaVAYCYiRq

Andy: http://screencast.com/t/xrGOhN1D1Lc4

After you’ve listened to the Jings, think about the advantages and /or disadvantages of the following elements of a CELTA timetable:

  • A foreign language lesson
  • A ‘whole to part’ approach
  • Demo lessons
  • Workshops
  • Lesson shapes (PPP / Test-based presentation / TTT)
  • Language analysis sessions in week 1
  • Model lesson plans
  • ‘To be confirmed’ input sessions

We thought it would be more fun and interactive if we provided you with a survey to answer, which is very easy to complete as it only requires 8 clicks of your mouse! Based on your own experience, as a trainer or trainee, tell us how important you think the following elements of a CELTA timetable are:

<a href=”http://www.zoomerang.com/”>Online Surveys</a>If you would like to write comments on any of the above then you can contribute to our wiki by clicking on the link below.  You may have strong views on foreign language lessons, questions about how to implement a ‘whole-part’ approach or just general doubts about the usefulness of prescriptive lesson shapes.  Whatever you’re thinking, we’d love to hear from you.  A wiki is like a graffiti board and your contributions can be anonymous if you want! Just go to the page, click ‘Edit’ and type your comment into the appropriate box. Please don’t delete previous comments, just add yours. Make sure you click ‘Save’ before navigating away!


We have already looked at the pros and cons of using demo lessons on CELTA courses during Richard’s very useful TD session Death by Demo? (thank you Richard!) but we can continue to explore how to make demos as effective as possible on this site.  After the TD session, I used my dictaphone to record some reactions to the discussion on demos.  If you’d like to hear what people had to say then just click on the links below.  The debate about whether bad model lessons are constructive or confusing for trainees seemed to provoke a range of responses.  If anyone else would like to be a roving reporter after the next Teacher Training TD session, then please let me know and I can lend you my dictaphone.  We are planning to explore other modes of delivery that can be used in CELTA input sessions, for example workshops and interactive lectures.


Danny         Martin         Paul          Ri        Jess A        Chris      Richard



One Comment

  1. Annie says:

    What a great idea to share week 1. Jing’s are really useful. Mel I’m totally inspired by your topic, text, task approach and have been wanting to organise my next course around it. My only question is about leaving language till week 2. Please could i have a chat to u about when i get back? Annie

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