Beth Melia-Leigh

    Hi Nanees, John and Nosheen,

    As you all read the same article, I have taken the liberty of replying to you all together – I hope you don’t mind.

    Thank you for your summaries of the blog post, which, essentially, suggests that initial teacher training courses (ITTCs) (e.g. CELTA or Cert TESOL) should be differentiated in order to take trainees’ backgrounds, goals, strengths, weaknesses, etc. into account. The author suggests several ways in which this can be done, many of which the three of you have outlined in your responses. For anyone who hasn’t read this blog post, I would strongly recommend doing so for further information about some of the practicalities and logistics that may be required in order to implement such an approach as well as some practical suggestions for how to do so  (e.g. taking a flipped approach, Q&A slots and specific pre-course tasks to name but a few).

    I remember when trainers first started talking about this idea a few years ago (I believe Karin Krummenacher – the author of this post – was one of the first in her talk at IATEFL in 2018), it was seen as a really radical suggestion. However, since then, it is certainly something that I have seen being implemented on more and more CELTA courses, including those we run at the ELTC. These don’t have to be huge changes, but rather smaller tweaks that can be made in order to cater more appropriately to the exceedingly diverse needs of cohorts – indeed, many of the suggestions that we make in the ‘Working with varied cohorts’ topic in this unit can be applied to ITTCs.

    John raises the questions of course syllabuses (syllabi!) and the role of syllabus writers. Certainly with CELTA (I’m afraid I have limited experience of Trinity), the overall syllabus/course aims are sufficiently broad to allow for a certain amount of in-built flexibility (even more so with Trinity from my understanding). Courses are designed by individual centres using the syllabus and course aims and are required to adhere to certain requirements (e.g. having at least 120 contact hours and including 6 hours of teaching practice, 6 hours of observation of experienced teachers, input, peer observation, supervised lesson planning, etc.). Every course that is run worldwide is externally moderated by a Cambridge-approved assessor to ensure all the requirements are being met and to maintain quality assurance. I am attaching the CELTA syllabus for your reference in case you’re interested in finding out more about this and getting your head around how this might work in practice.