Browsing Tag

non-native speaker

Ready, Set, Teach: Lesson Planning Tips

With a completed CELTA program behind you, you’re ready to teach—you did it! Whether the path to a CELTA certificate was intensive or pursued part-time, there are lessons to be planned and language to be taught.

Take advantage of these classroom-tested tips from ILSC’s team of CELTA trainers and go teach some English!

MFP Prep & Target Language

First things first. If a lesson is going to teach students something new, you’ll need a good grasp of the lesson’s target language.

  • Get a good grammar book.
    Being a native-level speaker isn’t magic; go over the finer points of the target language.
  • Anticipate potential problems.
    Try to think from the students’ point of view and plan appropriate concept-checking questions.
  • Research more than you think is necessary.
    The students will inevitably come up with surprising questions.

Organization

Teaching ESL can be a whirlwind, especially overseas. So it’s important to see planning as an investment; a clear, well-planned lesson is a lesson you won’t have to plan again in the future. Stay organized and make your hard work for you.

  • Make your plan accessible.
    Lay out handouts in order, keep board plans next to the board, etc.
  • Check your tech before the lesson.
    If the lesson depends on audio or video content, make sure it’s ready to deliver.
  • Save all your materials and plans.
    Label them clearly and store them in binders or digitally (Evernote, Google Keep, etc.) for recycling and reuse.

Staying Student-centred

Students’ needs are at the centre of the CELTA teaching philosophy for a reason. Students learn better when they can engage with lesson content that connects to their lives while challenging their abilities. Your particular students should be top of mind in your lesson planning.

  • Limit teacher talk-time.
    Get the students talking instead, and avoid as much reference to open class as possible.
  • Solicit ideas/topics from students during the first class.
    This provides a bank of engaging themes the students are sure to appreciate throughout the course.
  • Support pair and group work.
    This allows students to practice the target language more and careful monitoring will help you identify problems to address during error-correction.

What’s next?

These lessons won’t plan themselves, but with skills from the CELTA program and these practical tips they’re sure to be a hit with students. Get planning and have a great class!


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

April 25, 2018

Teaching with CELTA as a Non-Native Speaker

So you want to teach English as a Second Language, in your second language? That’s admirable, brave even, but is it foolish? Not at all! In fact, teaching English as a non-native speaker with the CELTA is more common than you might expect.

Language Requirements

Every CELTA applicant must complete a comprehensive language assessment as part of the CELTA application process. Candidates’ performance on the assessment is the main criteria for acceptance into the program; no one is refused for simply being a non-native speaker!

Non-native ESL teachers aren’t all that rare and can actually make up a good portion of the faculty at language schools in English-speaking countries. A likely, although anecdotal, reason for this could be that native English speakers are attracted to TESL for the opportunities to teach abroad whereas non-native English speakers usually achieve their fluency by moving to an English-speaking country.

Advantages

Finally, there is some good news. Non-native speakers possess a few advantages over native speakers.

1. Technical Grammar Knowledge

  • Bilingual and multi-lingual candidates consistently have a fuller knowledge of English grammar than most native speakers. This, of course, is because non-native speakers have had a more technical formal education in English, whereas native speakers focus more on language arts and literature throughout their education. Often, non-native speakers have an advantage in communication skills, too.

2. Empathy

  • Non-native speakers don’t have a monopoly on empathy but they can quickly identify with the struggles and frustrations of their students because they’ve been there. Although this isn’t a formal classroom management technique, knowing when to give students a break or an extra dose of encouragement can really improve a student’s experience.

3. ESL Experience – in Reverse!

  • This one may be obvious, but if you’ve learned English as a second language then you already have experience in an ESL environment. Non-native speakers who learned English in a classroom setting are likely to have fond memories of activities or approaches they enjoyed. Even negative experiences are helpful in knowing what to avoid or thinking about how to improve approaches to difficult language concepts.

Challenges

Just because it isn’t impossible to complete the CELTA as a non-native speaker doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. These will vary from person to person but are common among advanced non-native speakers of English.

1. Accent

  • Non-native speakers will have some kind of an accent when speaking English, and that’s perfectly acceptable since many native-speakers also speak with a pronounced accent. In fact, most students are learning English in order to communicate with other non-native speakers, so being exposed to a variety of non-native accents is useful for them.

2. Confidence

  • It’s very important that students trust your ability to instruct them in the language. Native speakers are able to quickly and confidently respond to many questions because their intuitive grasp of English has been honed over a lifetime. Non-native speakers may not feel as confident, but they can prepare for lessons to build that confidence (completing the CELTA will also help). It’s also encouraging to remember that native speakers make mistakes too—especially with technical grammar!

What are you waiting for?

Teaching English as a second language (TESL) isn’t reserved for those who happen to be born in an English-speaking country. If you have an advanced command of English the CELTA program can open up the world of TESL for you, whether you’re a recent graduate, looking for a career change, or want to liven up your retirement.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

October 10, 2017