Review: The TKT Course Training Activities CD-ROMA resource CD with photocopiable activity worksheets for the Cambridge ESOL Teaching Knowledge Test, making it easier to use “The TKT Course” textbook with groups.
First a little background on the teaching qualification that this CD-ROM is intended to supplement. Unlike the better-known CELTA qualification, the Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) is intended for both pre- and in-service teachers and does not aim at teachers who specialise in a specific age group or teach in a particular context. There are no entry requirements, no compulsory taught course and no observations of lessons, although an intermediate level of English (equivalent to CEFR B1) is recommended and there is an optional practical module. Introduced in 2005, the aim was to create a test any teacher or prospective teacher can take to certify their level of theoretical knowledge, split into three stand-alone multiple choice exams which are marked in bands 1 to 4, and with no failing grade.
Each exam module deals with an aspect of teaching knowledge and the CD-ROM follows this organization. The first module looks at how to describe language (grammar, lexis, phonology, functions, and skills); the basics of second language acquisition (motivation, focus on form, errors, L1 vs L2 learning, learner characteristics and needs); and an introduction to presenting language, practice activities and assessment. The second module looks at planning and materials, while the third module deals with classroom language and management.
I came across the TKT exam while planning a second-year research seminar for a group of university English majors who were undecided on their future careers. As a short introduction to language and language learning for intermediate students, Module 1 of the TKT seemed to be a good option. The course fell through, but here is my impression of the CD-ROM based on the course that I was planning.
The TKT course textbook itself (Spratt, Pulverness & Williams, 2005) is clearly intended for individual self-study. There are follow-up activities to reinforce the input, but nothing a trainer with a group course would find especially useable. The CD-ROM addresses this problem. It is essentially a photocopiable resource book but supplied in CD-ROM form as indexed PDFs, containing 30 teacher training activities for pairs and groups. Examples include homophone bingo, subskills snakes and ladders, learning styles card matching, lesson planning crossword, supplementary materials group quiz, teaching-aid pictionary and teacher-role posters.
These activities are a tested, ready-to go, well presented and well supported version of what you would end up having to write yourself to give a TKT teacher training course. Indeed many trainers have already had to design such activities, and currently there are more than 60 such activities available for free online at the official TKT site. For your money the CD gives a generally better presentation, coverage of all units, a focus on group usage and more variety of activities.
This variety is important. “Subskills Snakes and Ladders” does not just practice target TKT terms, it shows how a board game can be adapted for language learning. While the introduction mentions the possibility of such transfer, some specific follow-up suggestions in the teacher notes would have been useful.
In summary, this is a good resource of ready-to-go activities for trainers preparing a group class for the TKT.
July 2010 | Filed under Teacher Training
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