Last May CELT was ‘taken over’ by a group of trainees from Iran – they captivated all at CELT, tutors and colleagues alike and we all loved the great mix of Greek and Iranian candidates with a couple of other nationalities thrown in !!!
Sometimes it’s hard for us to imagine the teaching conditions in a country and setting other than our own. One of the great benefits of training on a CELTA course is meeting so many people from other countries, other mindsets and, sometimes, completely different education cultures. The sharing and learning that takes place is that much more enhanced as well by watching teachers with different teaching styles and who come from such diverse backgrounds.
The learning is not just by the trainees but by the tutors as well and this group was a prime example of a great learning group for all parties concerned.
Iman Vahdati Dovom
Iman is 29 years old and hisw home town is Tehran. He came to Athens with 5 years’ teaching experience under his belt and an MA in TEFL.
So this was no novice to ELT, nor a teacher who was unaware of the principles or practices in current English Language teaching, so it was interesting for us to find out why he opted to do the CELTA course AFTER his M.A.!!!!
1. What made you decide to follow a CELTA course?
I was familiar with different pedagogical theories prior to the course. To me, many of these theories were too obscure to put into practice; so, I decided to do the CELTA since I considered it to be a change for the better.
Snapping out of the traditional teaching mode and getting the inspiration from candidates from other parts of the world added to my overall motivation.
So, at the suggestion of my boss, I took the course without hesitation.
2. What were your expectations of the course? Were they met?
Receiving loads of support, illuminating grey areas in ELT, providing blanket solutions to practical problems, careful assessment, reflecting on what I did before, during, and after lessons, were my expectations to name but a few.
Another expectation was that hoping to ‘see’ what factors may prevent learning from taking place. Basically, I needed to learn how to break the vicious circle of teacher-fronted lessons.
Many of those expectations were met and I consider the course as a stepping stone to success.
3. In your experience, what is the most demanding aspect of the course and why?
The most backbreaking part of the course was its intense nature. I could not sleep for many nights in a row and that affected my performance on the course quite a lot.
4. What tips would you give prospective CELTA candidates concerning the course?
Get ready for sleepless nights and rough days; brace yourselves for stressful situations! And remember: there is no rough and ready rule to overcome this.
Pay attention to the academic aspect of the course as well. What should be borne in mind is that the course might have a deep-seated influence; especially, for those who do their best and want a change; it is worth the pain and pressure!
5. It is widely believed that what candidates learn on the course cannot be put into practice in the ‘real world’ (sic). In your experience, how true do you think that might be?
I should say I agree to some extent since many of those ideas are not culturally easy to adopt in every country of the world or with every age group.
Another issue is that the different personalities of the students are not taken into account either; so, much of what we learnt on the course was a basis of general rules and tasks which are not tailored for different learners.
It’s also true that I have not been able to plan in such meticulous detail! I have to teach many classes everyday and this kind of preparation is really time-consuming.
But knowing these techniques, aside from having learnt how to do a needs analysis for my learners, is vitally important to me now. I feel much more confident using them!
I believe that putting what we learnt into practice depends very much on each individual’s creativity and imagination.
Thanks to the CELTA course, I have learned some new ways of building bridges between my theoretical knowledge to the actual teaching.
The CELTA course taught me to reflect on what I do – this is another area that I was introduced to on the course and I have been mainly focusing on it since then to keep developing and improving myself as an ELT teacher.
Iman Vahdatti Dovom
Many thanks to Iman for his candid comments. Despite his belief that his performance was affected by the sleepless nights, he managed to leave the course with the highest of grades. On completing his course, Iman returned to his job as an ELT teacher at Hermes Institute in Teheran.
Our next interview will be of a teacher from the US who also completed her course in 2014 at CELT.
(Images by Marisa Constantinides & Angelos Bollas)
A couple of comments about Iman in the social media – quiet people make less noise but leave lasting impressions 🙂