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Language Skills Related Tasks - help with CELTA Assignment 3

Language Skills Related Tasks Assignment

Language Skills Related Tasks is often set around the mid-point of a CELTA course. Like all CELTA written assignments, it is 750 to 1000 words long, and like all CELTA assignments, it's based on the course content and doesn't require a lot of background reading. However, unlike other CELTA assignments, it does explicitly require you to reference at least some background reading. This doesn't mean you need a library full of books. It does mean that you'll need a methodology book to consult, preferably one that has a chapter on receptive skills and one on productive skills. Any of the titles that your CELTA tutors recommended at the beginning of your course is fine. If you're wondering which book might suit you, here are some of our recommendations.

In the assignment, you'll be asked to design a skills lesson (or a set of skills tasks). These might be based on a text your tutors have given you or they might be based on a text you have chosen yourself. If your tutors ask you to select a text, you need to choose carefully. Think about how long the text is, how difficult it is and how culturally appropriate it is. You'll also need to think if it works for your students - is it something you can imagine they'd actually be interested in? You don't need to pick a very simple text, but it does need to be achievable for the students.

The key part of the assignment is task design. You'll be asked to design some receptive skills tasks. These should practise different sub-skills. Typically, these might include a gist task and a detailed comprehension task. You need to be very careful here. In my experience, it's most often in the design of receptive skills tasks that CELTA trainees trip up. Do the tasks yourself. Do students really need to understand the text in order to complete the tasks? Are the tasks doable by students at the level you're teaching? And do the tasks match the sub-skill you identified? It's important to make sure that a gist task actually does check if students have got the gist of a text. It's also important that a detailed comprehension task tests if students have got a detailed understanding of the text. You'll also be asked to design productive skills tasks.

As mentioned above, this is often the only assignment when you'll be asked to explicitly quote from your background reading. Make sure that you choose relevant quotations that show that you understand why students should practise whatever you're looking at in that section of the assignment, whether it's gist reading tasks or longer writing tasks.

Overall, this tends to be one of the more straightforward CELTA written assignments. So long as you can show an understanding of how receptive and productive skills lessons work, it's likely that you will have a good chance of success. It's not as "bitty" as the Focus on the Learner or Language assignments and so this can mean it doesn't take as long to write either - which is a relief!

Dr Connor O'Donoghue hails from Ireland and he started teaching English as a foreign language in Poland in 2003 and he became a CELTA trainer in 2008. He has taught and trained in Ireland, the UK, France, Italy, Slovenia, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. Connor also holds a Masters and a PhD in Education from Trinity College in Dublin. He has previously managed large teacher training centres in Vietnam and in London before founding DC Teacher Training.

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