Learning How to Write CELTA Assignments
Hello once more! The latest question is from a reader who hasn’t studied in a long time and she’s worried about how to write CELTA assignments.
The main points to think about here are:
- the instructions for the assignments
- the writing style for these
- how to cover all of the necessary points
Some of the above will overlap, but let’s start with the instructions for your CELTA assignments!
Instructions for your CELTA assignments
First, you’re going to have a clear the word count.
Now, the word count is very strict, as it is in all English language institutions – follow it very closely!
You have to be aware that you’ve got a strict word limit for the CELTA assignments. Here’s the exact wording from the official CELTA syllabus PDF:
“[Each CELTA] centre is responsible for designing the written assignments, which should each be between 750 and 1,000 words.”
So please take note of this and do not go over it. If you ask your tutors, they might give you a 10% above or below maximum/minimum limit, but do not take a chance by going over that.
Tip: To make sure you cover all main points evenly, you can break up the assignment into appropriate sections with even word counts for each part before you start. If you feel some sections will need more words than others, then adjust these accordingly.
In short, make sure you are definitely within the word limit when writing your CELTA assignments!
Using Instructions Properly
If the assignment instructions, or rubric, ask for references, as they will in some assignments, make sure to check whether they count for the word limit – they shouldn’t for most referencing styles, but some CELTA centres might say that they do, so ask your tutors first!
To clarify, I specifically mean the reference list/bibliography at the end. Any references in your assignment text (i.e. in-text citations) will normally be included in the word count.
Also for referencing, you should check what referencing style you need when it comes to how to write CELTA assignments.
Common referencing styles include:
- APA 6th Edition
- Any many more!
Most likely, your CELTA centre will use either the APA or Harvard referencing style. If you find this out in advance, it is another thing you can learn before you start the course!
For the Focus on the Learner Assignment – you have to show understanding of theory and background knowledge through referencing relevant books.
You don’t have to add many references, but you are expected to use a few, perhaps 3-5 throughout the whole assignment (see this post for examples of real CELTA assignments to get an idea).
The assignments don’t require many citations/references, but when you do need to include them, you can get help from free websites like citethisforme.com, or you can use my guide on 10 Tech Tips for writing CELTA Assignments for a bit more detail on tools for referencing.
But referencing shouldn’t be a major problem! You can get free apps and websites to do it for you, as I mentioned, so you don’t need to stress over it.
To sum up, remember to check the style of referencing that your CELTA centre wants and follow that consistently and it won’t be a problem for you. This is because referencing doesn’t feature heavily in the assignemtns, although you do need to use it.
Covering All the Points You Are Given
Another thing to focus on is covering all of the relevant points that you are given in your assignment instructions.
Make sure you make a list of these and check each one off once done, and that’s all you have to do to make sure each point is covered.
You’ll be asked to cover lots of different parts of your learning and reflecting on what you’ve done, but if you’re not ticking off every box on a list, it will be harder to know if you have done everything asked of you.
No need to worry, though – it’s mostly quite formulaic and you don’t have to be an outstanding writer to pass, you just have to write clearly and concisely to get through it.
Make sure you’re following or ticking off everything on the list, and be thorough.
A lot of people because they rush in forget to check or they think it’s not worth checking, because they need to move on to the next thing.
Just remember to draw up a list that covers everything you’ve been told to include and go through it.
Using a Table to Help You Cover All Points in Your CELTA Assignments
You could start by making your assignment a table in a Word document, with each point to go through.
Let’s say if you have two columns, and the first column has the points to cover, and the second column is blank for you to write in, you can just simply fill those boxes with ticks when done to make sure they have been covered.
You can see the document embedded above here if you’d like to take a copy. At least, that’s how I do my Masters assignments!
Whether you choose to do the above, or not, you really need make sure you’re following the instructions closely, that’s the biggest thing I can say as I’ve probably stressed in this answer!
Don’t worry if you’re coming back after a long time without doing any formal writing.
If you’re on the CELTA course it’s because they think you have a high enough level. Don’t be afraid of the written assignments for this reason!
How to Write CELTA Assignments: Writing Style
Also, the other thing that we should really talk about is the writing style for your CELTA assignments.
This is one thing I do a lot of teaching about at the moment (teaching English for Academic Purposes, or EAP). Something we’re always stressing is that students should try to use an impersonal style and don’t use things like “I” or “we”etc.
However, in your CELTA assignments, there’s a lot of reflective writing and you will need to use a somewhat informal style.
This is because they ask you direclty to reflect on your learning. For example, the final assignment – lessons from the classroom, will ask you to reflect on what you’ve learnt during your course.
You can only really complete the assignment by saying “I”.
You’ll also need to talk about both yourself and students directly in the Focus on the Learner assignment.
In short, don’t worry about using what seems like a slightly informal style, because a lot of the assignment writing is actually reflection.
CELTA Assignment Tasks
The other point is then, in some of the assignments, you will be given language tasks and exercises.
Assignments which require direct answers to questions/exercises/tasks and less flowing writing (prose) are:
- Language Related Tasks
- Language Skills Related Tasks
There will be many different tasks within these assignments, so you won’t actually be writing paragraphs for much of them.
Instead, you’ll be writing answers to specific short questions, so you don’t need to worry much about style here. That said, as always, clearn and concise English language is always important!
I hope that has clarified some points for you about how to write the CELTA assignments and that I haven’t scared you (too much!).
If you have any questions, just please let me know and get in touch via:
Thank you for reading/listening!