Thursday, February 06, 2020

ELT Training by Jo Gakonga Youtube Series

(Review of a Youtube Series)

After completing the Delta Module 2, I was brought into a teacher training program at my company.  It wasn't quite a CELTA, but it was a CELTA equivalent, and I was working side-by-side with experienced CELTA tutors.  They knew everything backwards and forwards, and I was struggling to catch up.
I didn't know how to effectively convey the basic information to new trainees.  To the extent I had absorbed any good teaching techniques myself, I was struggling with the Curse of Knowledge--I struggled to remember the difficulties a new teacher has with teaching grammar.
And, to be honest, I also felt like I could use some shoring-up on some of the fundamentals myself.  How exactly do you make good concept checking questions again?

I don't remember how I first stumbled upon Jo Gakonga's videos.  (Was it just a random act of the Youtube algorithm?  Or was I actively searching for key words?)  But once I discovered them, I realized that these were exactly what I was looking for.

The videos on her channel do vary slightly in terms of intended audience.  Some of them are pitched at experienced teachers, and some of them are pitched at teacher trainers.  But the vast majority of them are pitched at new teachers, and the intent is to convey the basics of the CELTA methodology in video format.
Jo Gakonga herself has worked for years as a CELTA trainer and CELTA assessor.  The intended purpose of many of these videos (explicitly stated in some of them, implied in others) is for teacher trainees to study these videos at home when they are on a CELTA course, in a flipped classroom sort of way.
(Or better yet, watch these videos before they start the CELTA.  Once the CELTA starts, they'll be so busy with lesson preparation that they won't have much extra time to watch these videos.)

As part of my training, I had to shadow the experienced CELTA tutors do the input sessions, and it was noticeable to me how much of what Jo Gakonga said was exactly the same as what the experienced CELTA tutors said in their input sessions.  Sometimes even the example sentences were exactly the same.  (Do they also watch her videos?  Or perhaps some of these example sentences are just really common with CELTA tutors.) 

I found Jo Gakonga's videos useful both for my own education, but also as a good way to remind me of all the things I needed to make explicit to new trainee teachers.  These particular videos I would watch intensively before I had to do the input sessions myself (i.e. giving the videos my full attention, and taking notes while I was watching.)
For the rest of the videos, I put them together into a playlist, and just had them on in the background while I was working on the computer and puttering around the apartment.
As always with these things, I wouldn't say that every minute of this playlist was immediately useful to me.  (There are a couple long videos early on about making a class website, which is not going to be immediately useful to my situation.)  But by having these videos constantly play in the background, I did pick up tons of useful ideas, activities, and information over all.

For a few of these videos, the volume is not great, and so some of these are better watched with headphones on.

Also, some of these videos are advertisements for Jo Gakonga's online course, which you need to pay extra for.  (ELT Training is apparently both the name of Jo Gakonga's Youtube channel, and also her private online course.)  I never paid money for the course, but I found all the material that Jo Gakonga has freely available on Youtube to be plenty useful.

Video Review
Video review HERE and embedded below:

My Complete ELT Training Playlist HERE  (I've given into my usual completest tendencies, and tried to include everything I could find from Jo Gakonga, including some videos from her older channel, and her interview with TEFLology.)

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