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CELTA written assignment: focus on language skill


The purpose of the assignment

The CELTA handbook explains that this assignment allows you to demonstrate that you can:

  • correctly use terminology that relates to language skills and subskills
  • relate task design to language skills development
  • find, select and reference information from one or more sources using written language that is clear, accurate and appropriate to the task

That's a lot to cover in 1000 words so you need to be concise and stay focused.  This is not the place to discuss generalities.


The structure of the assignment

Your centre will probably give you a set of instructions for your assignments.  You'd be foolish to ignore these.
What follows is generic advice.

Some centres give you a choice of skills to write about, some may oblige you to focus on two specific ones and some may even give you a free hand.

This assignment is quite broadly based because the regulations require you to focus on both receptive and productive skills in relation to a piece of material or text (and for our purposes, the term 'text' applies to both written and spoken language).
Before you start, review the guide to Topic 3 of the CELTA syllabus.

This is in the genre of an Information Report and it has two parts:

  • A brief introduction stating the focus of the assignment and why you think the area is important.
    For example,
    I have chosen to focus on reading skills using the text in the appendix, specifically on reading skills needed by elementary learners (A1 and A2 level) operating in an English speaking environment because the abilities to extract the gist of what they encounter and decide on its relevance to them are crucial.
    I shall also be suggesting ways to use the text as a basis for a lesson on writing a short email to a friend.
  • Now you need to analyse the sub-skills required to access the text step by step. 
    • For example, if you are using the text to practise identifying the topic and reading for gist, you will need to suggest what sorts of activities you would use and, crucially, why.
    • Now you need to go on to outline how you would use the text as a stimulus for writing, in our example.  You need to say why the text is appropriate, what skills of writing you are targeting and what the outcomes in terms of developing the learners' writing skills are going to be.
  • If you have the space, you may like to include a brief conclusion saying why the skill(s) may cause problems for learners.  You can also include this in the discussion above, of course.
It is very important here to show that you have done the reading and research.  This site is a source but you may have to get hold of some old-fashioned books on the skills.  Your centre will advise you but here's a short list of popular resources.
  • For reading
    Grellet, F, 1999, Developing Reading Skills, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    Hudson, T, 2007, Teaching Second Language Reading, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • For listening
    Field, J, 2008, Listening in the Language Classroom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    Wilson, J, 2008, How to Teach Listening, Harlow: Pearson Longman
  • For writing
    Hedge, T, 1990, Writing, Hong Kong: Oxford University Press
    Harmer, J, 2011, How to Teach Writing, Malaysia: Pearson Education
  • For speaking
    Bygate, M, 1987, Speaking, Oxford: Oxford University Press
    Thornbury, S and Slade, D, 2006, Conversation: From Description to Pedagogy, Cambridge: Cambridge Language Teaching Library
    Thornbury, S, 2005, How to Teach Speaking, Harlow: Longman Pearson
  • For all skills
    Hedge, T, 2000, Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom, Oxford: Oxford University Press


skills structure


Investigating the skill

This site is a good place to start but you will also, presumably, have access to references of one kind or another (see the list above).
Once you have decided (or been told) which skills you are analysing, use this link to find what you want on this site (if it exists): Search the whole ELT Concourse site.

go to the CELTA index