We got in touch with recent LTTC Japan CELT-S graduate Naoya and asked for his feedback on his experience. Naoya was part of the first ever CELT-S course to be held in Japan. CELT-S is a new course from Cambridge English designed for junior high and high school teachers of English. It focuses on the four skills approach to English language teaching and is helping teachers in Japan and all over the world improve the English skills of their students.
Here is what Naoya had to say:
Thanks to this CELT-S course, which started to be implemented in Japan in 2017, I was able to deepen my theoretical perspectives of English language learning and teaching and enhance my teaching approach. I enjoyed all the modules in this course; however, as I had longed for opportunities to consider and practise grammar teaching from the theoretical viewpoint, I especially valued the two modules focusing on grammar instruction.
In the portfolio tasks for those chapters, I had many occasions to refer to grammar reference books, including treatises on this realm suggested on the course, in order to be able to articulate the target grammar points, which helped me to acquire more knowledge of English grammar. More importantly, Focus on Form approach has prevailed progressively more in secondary educational contexts in Japan in order to increase communicative activities. However, I think these two modules on grammar instruction of the CELT-S course provided me with opportunities to reconsider ways to compensate shortcomings of this approach, such as lack of explicit pronunciation instruction using International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
Moreover, language teacher trainers provided me with much feedback on my portfolios and clarified both advantages and disadvantages of my teaching plans and practices. Their comments in each category were valuable to revise my future teaching plans and adjust the difficulty of the proposed tasks for the learners.
Regarding the usefulness and accessibility of the online activities, although teacher trainees need to develop their autonomous and maintain their zest for English language teaching, they can review the lessons recursively, with which face-to-face classes cannot efficiently provide the students. In my case, for example, I needed to watch videos and listened to dialogues about grammar teaching repeatedly insomuch as I had usually taken care of reading or essay writing lessons through content-based instruction integrating four language modalities, but had little experience in grammar instructions. Accordingly, I always valued the opportunities to take online classes.
Numerous secondary school teachers in Japan need to take care of many students in one class and help them to enhance their communicative competence through interactive activities and communicative drillings. Notwithstanding, most of them, especially those who did not major in English language pedagogy at their universities, have little knowledge of ways to conduct such language classes practically and successfully. As the CELT-S course is established for such instructors in such contexts, I firmly suggest many teachers should take this course if they hope to develop their teaching skills and create better learning environments for the learners.
If you are interested in finding out more about CELT-S you can read more about the course and sign up for the free information sessions in Kobe and Tokyo here:
In Japanese: http://lexisenglish.co.jp/celt-stokyo/