Botagoz Koilybayeva has just completed our blended Trinity DipTESOL course. Originally from Kazakhstan, she has been teaching English since 2013 and now plans to do an MA in TESOL. In this blog post she tells you more about her journey and offers her top ten tips for those thinking about taking the Trinity DipTESOL.
Three years ago I could not have ever thought that I would teach a class of Czechs and Slovaks in the centre of Prague. My TEFL journey started three years ago when I graduated from a university having obtained Bachelor of Education degree in teaching English. I was living in my small world in the middle of Central Asia (and I’m still living there!). A desire of learning has always pushed me towards new learning experience. Like for most of teachers CELT (or CELTA, or Trinity CertTESOL) was my first step on the land of ELT books, lessons plans, and observations. After taking CELT I realized how much I needed to learn. One day browsing the web, I came across an advertisement which announced a competition for a scholarship for the diploma. Taking part in it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
I can ramble a lot about my excitement of winning it yet I am intending to share my experience about the course. Trinity DipTESOL is an intense and demanding program yet it is absolutely worth it. First of all, I have never studied online. The bulk of the course (6 months) was spent by hanging out on the Moodle, reading articles, participating in the discussions and doing assignments every week. It does sound intense, doesn’t it? The tutors, Nicola, Sinead, Mark, to name just a few, supported us, the dippers, along the way providing feedback and giving access to lots of useful information.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the course was the face to face part which combined three main sections of the course. I opted for the beautiful city of Prague and the language school was just in the heart of the city centre! So there I took a written exam, had three weeks of teaching practice teaching both assessed and unobserved lessons. Dan, Duncan and David were extra supportive and provided insightful feedback and encouraged us to deliver good quality lessons by guiding through course books, suggesting ideas for improvement, alterations and most importantly, asking right questions which encouraged deep reflection. As teachers, most of the time we are torn between our classes and various commitments so we sometimes do not reflect on the lessons or when we do, we do it briefly. The ability to reflect on your lesson, to notice all the things that went well as well to suggest reasonable alterations was a crucial part in assessment of teaching practice.
Last but not least bit of the course, icing on the cake, was 30 minutes phonology interview. Phonological focus is something that differentiates Trinity from other similar courses I believe. Once I started the course, I tried to integrate phonology into my lessons which was of a great help since at the interview candidates are asked about their experience of teaching phonology, particular problems their students have and the way they are dealing with them.
Overall, it has been a fascinating journey for me. I learnt from great tutors, had amazing students, wasted lots of paper, and now I have a better idea of myself as a teacher. I have become more aware of things I am interested in, the areas I am good at AND things I still need to work on and explore. My present/future-wise, I have an offer to run a language school in Astana; share experience with my peers; attend international conferences in order to further engage myself into the ELT world; as I gain more experience, I would love to try myself in teacher training and move to another country at some point in order to challenge myself and apply my skills there.
Finally, my top 10 tips for those about to take the Trinity DipTESOL course:
- Do spend time on the moodle because it prepares you for the face to face part of the course
- Read all the articles your tutors provide and make notes
- Participate in forum discussions. You can learn a lot from your fellow dippers
- Do all the assignments
- Be organized and learn how moodle operates in order to find things quickly
- Upgrade your grammar (bless Parrot’s grammar book)
- Integrate phonology in your lessons as earlier as possible (start with Kelly’s book)
- Reflect on your lessons
- Make communicative activities the heart of your lesson
- Don’t get stressed, everything will be okay as long as you know what you are doing.
Taking course like this is a lifetime opportunity which allows you to get an insight into the TEFL world, to become a part of teaching network and to gain experience along the way. Make the most of it!
If you would like to further your career in ELT and develop your skills, you could consider taking the Trinity DipTESOL course. Courses start in January, April and October. For more information, visit the course page here or get in touch.