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CELTA Syllabus
Topic 4: Planning and resources for different teaching contexts


This area of the CELTA syllabus

It is the role of the institution where you are taking a CELTA course to make resources available to you.  What resources are available to you and what kinds of students you are teaching will determine how and what you select.  This guide will cover the basics of making sensible decisions about what to use and for what purposes.
Click on any of the areas to go to that section or just follow the guide from here.  (Click on top to return.)

planning and resources


Principles of planning

Most CELTA centres have also devised a system for their candidates to write lesson plans, often based on a template.  If that is the case for you, you should be following the centre's advice (of course).  However, good practice in this area will always contain common aspects and ideas.

Here's the picture:


think write Task: Can you work out:
Where you start the process?
What each stage of the planning process actually involves?
Click here when you have some thoughts.



Lesson planning

There are three guides you should now follow, all in the initial plus training area of the site.
When you complete each one, close the guide to return to this list.

Go to the guide to planning.  Make sure you do both the embedded tests in that guide to check that you understand the principles and how they tie in to practice.  That's important.
Use the guide to examples of plans.  It will give you step-by-step support in planning both a systems lesson and a skills lesson.  You can download (and use if you like) examples of plans from that guide.
Go to the guide to structuring lessons.  This guide focuses on two main types of lesson called PPP (Present–Practise–Produce) and TTT (Test–Teach–Test).



Evaluating your plan: time for some reflection

OK.  So you made the plan, taught the lesson and then took time out to recover.  Now you need to reflect.  To do that, ask yourself some questions and try to be honest in your responses.
Most teaching happens behind closed doors so teachers have to be their own critics most of the time.

Answer the questions and then click on the eye open to see some comments.

Did you teach the plan?
eye open
There are three possible answers:
  1. Yes all of it as planned.
    That's good but did you miss any opportunities to follow up on the unexpected or to take into account where the learners were?
  2. No.
    That's not too good. If you find yourself wandering off track and not doing what you set out to do, you may be delivering an interesting lesson but did the learners get anything new out of it?
  3. Most of it.
    That's the most common answer. When you did depart from the plan, was it for a good reason (i.e., picking up on language to develop) or did you go chasing a red herring and lose focus?
Did you achieve the aims?
eye open
Three possible answers:
  1. Yes all of them as planned.
    That's very good.
    How do you know?
    When did the checking take place?
    If you can answer those questions, that's fine.  Well done.
  2. No.
    That's not good.  Why not?
    Were the aims too ambitious?
    Did the materials not do what you wanted?
    Was it your fault or the students' fault?
  3. Most of them.
    That's the most common answer.  When you don't achieve all the aims you need to ask some supplementary questions:
    Were there too many aims?
    Did you manage the time well enough?
Did the materials work?
eye open
It depends what you understand by 'work'.
If they contributed to achieving the aims, then they worked.  If they engaged the learners, then that's a good thing, too, but if they only engaged and didn't contribute to learning, you should be more critical.
What went wrong?
eye open
Something usually does.
You need to distinguish carefully between snags (such as a projector giving trouble, or a handout being left in the teachers' room) with real problems (such as too low or too high challenge, mistakes in handouts or failure to explain or instruct properly).
Are what you identify as things that went wrong problems or just snags?
Focus on the problems.
Were the students engaged and motivated?
eye open
The usual answer is "Most of them, most of the time" and that's OK (but not ideal).
If they weren't, can you identify why not?  The usual reasons include:
Too much or too little challenge.
Monotony of activity types and/or grouping.
Topics beyond the learners' experience or outside their interests.
Slow pace.
Pace too fast.
Poor instructions and explanations.
Which do you pick?  More importantly, what are you going to do about it for next time?
What would you change?
eye open
This is the critical question and the answer is determined by the answers you gave above.
One of the reasons for making plans, as you have discovered, is to keep a record for future lessons.
One of the principles of planning, however, is to amend what you plan in the light of honest and perceptive reflection on your own teaching and planning.




There are a number of guides on this site concerned with materials.  Some are straightforward, others less so.  The CELTA syllabus was amended in 2018 to include explicit reference to digital resources (such as this one), by the way.

They are:

Evaluating a coursebook
this is a complex guide but the principles of evaluation apply to all materials, not just coursebooks.
Making your own material
a practical guide to what to consider
Authentic materials
a guide to using materials not designed for teaching
Ten types of resources
this guide covers using: boards, data projectors, libraries, smart phones, audio and video recording, realia, the web, virtual learning environments and learning centres



Knowledge of materials

In this area, you need to rely on your own resources and research.  If you are taking CELTA in a good centre, there will be a very good range of classroom materials and reference books etc. for you to peruse.

Here's a checklist to use while you are reviewing materials:

  1. What is it for?
    1. Revision?
    2. Fun and games?
    3. Presentation of new language?
    4. Development of a skill: reading, writing, listening, speaking?
    5. Learning new words?
    6. Self-study for learners?
    7. Reference for learners?
    8. Reference for teachers?
  2. How appealing to my learners is it?
    1. Level?
    2. Colourful?
    3. Age range?
    4. Topics?
    5. Task types?
  3. Can I use it?
    1. Is there a good teacher's guide?
    2. Does it tell me what to do with it?
    3. Do I understand it?
  4. How practical is it?
    1. Do I need to make multiple copies?
    2. Does the audio material work?
    3. Do I need a video player / DVD player?
    4. How much preparation will I have to do?


The links below will lead you to guides to the other areas of the syllabus and to an overview unpacking what the syllabus means and how it is assessed.

Topic 1 Topic 2 Topic 3 Topic 4 Topic 5 Unpacking The CELTA Index
Learners and teachers, and the teaching and learning context Language analysis and awareness Language skills Planning and resources for different teaching contexts Developing teaching skills and professionalism Unpacking the syllabus and assessment The index of all the CELTA guides