Real Estate | How To
How to Evict a Tenant in 7 Steps (+ Free Quit Notices)
Published November 3, 2023
Published Nov 3, 2023
REVIEWED BY: Gina Baker
WRITTEN BY: Jealie Dacanay
1. Learn Your State Landlord-Tenant Laws Related to Tenant Eviction
- 2. Refer to Lease Agreement & Decide on Grounds for Eviction
- 3. Speak to & Reason With Tenants
4. Consult an Attorney
5. give a written eviction notice with cause.
- 6. Prepare Documents & Attend Court Hearing
7. Evict the Tenant
Tips to protect yourself against bad tenants, frequently asked questions (faqs), bottom line.
Learning how to evict a tenant requires extensive research and understanding of the eviction process and laws. Landlords must follow the proper steps on how to evict someone from their property and have legal grounds to conduct eviction, such as tenants failing to pay rent or causing property damage. If landlords do not act quickly to evict a bad tenant, their property value may suffer due to lost rental income and damage caused by the tenant.
We’ll take an in-depth look at the proper steps on how to evict a tenant, how eviction works, and the fastest way to evict a tenant. Also, we provide tips on how you can protect yourself against bad tenants and tenant scams.
An eviction is a legal action to remove a tenant from a rental property. Landlord-tenant laws differ by state , regulating the process. Thus, landlords must go through the legal eviction process before evicting renters. Each state has its rules, but most require the tenant to be given a termination notice before filing an eviction lawsuit. If the landlord attempts to evict the tenant without a court order, the tenant may sue the landlord for damages.
For instance, landlords have the authority in New York to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent. After any applicable grace period, a landlord may give a tenant a 14-day notice to pay. In contrast, landlords in California must give the tenant three days’ pay or quit notice before beginning eviction proceedings to evict a tenant.
2. Refer to Lease Agreement & Decide on Grounds for Eviction
To proceed with eviction, you must have a valid reason to evict your tenant. This is an excellent time to review the tenant’s signed rental lease agreement and look for apparent violations. Some common grounds for eviction include the following:
- Failure to pay rent
- Consistent late payment of rent
- Staying after the lease has expired
- Property damage
- Disrupting other tenants
- Using the property for illegal activity
- Subletting without authorization
- The unit is being taken off the market
- Owner move-in
- Refusal to pay the legal rent increase
Document potential grounds for eviction. (Source: liveabout.com )
Make sure to record any violations with supporting documentation. Being as thorough as possible with this documentation is essential because you will need to use it as evidence in court. These records include images of the damages, printouts of email or text messages exchanged with the tenant, bank statements, or returned checks. Without evidence, it will be very difficult to prove your case and might prolong the eviction process.
3. Speak to & Reason With Tenants
Before sending a basic eviction notice, contact your tenants to discuss the current circumstances. Inform the tenant that the eviction process can be costly and may harm their credit if you sue for past rent or wage garnishment in small claims court. By doing this, they might be willing to vacate on their own accord without a contract, or they might be able to make up any past-due rent.
Explore alternatives, such as cash for keys agreement, to expedite the eviction process. (Source: Talkov Law )
However, if your tenants refuse to comply and you want the fastest way to evict someone without going through the long eviction process, consider offering them cash for keys. Cash for keys is an agreement entered into voluntarily by a landlord and tenant to exchange a set amount of money for the keys to a currently occupied property. If your tenants agree, create a lease termination agreement that they must sign and date. Also, ensure they fulfill their obligations under the contract and inspect the unit before handing over cash.
Check out our in-depth guide on Cash for Keys: How to Get Bad Tenants Out in 7 Steps (+ Quiz) to understand how this can be a better alternative to a time-consuming and expensive tenant eviction process.
Once the legal system is involved, you must proceed with caution. Tenants have rights and protections that, if violated by you or any representatives acting on your behalf, could result in a serious lawsuit. There are also some complex evictions in which landlords will need the assistance of an attorney. These circumstances include when the tenant has a lawyer and is fighting the eviction, the tenant files for bankruptcy, the tenant is a member of a state-sponsored housing program, and when the tenant is also your employee.
Having an experienced landlord eviction attorney on your side will ensure that every action you take is within the bounds of the law. Furthermore, an attorney can assist and simplify the eviction process, prevent the recurrence of similar situations, and mediate talks with your tenants.
Rocket Lawyer’s eviction legal documents, advice, and guide (Source: Rocket Lawyer )
As you learn how to evict a tenant, check out Rocket Lawyer for its customizable legal documents and unlimited electronic signatures with RocketSign. Aside from reviewing the documents, lawyers from Rocket Lawyer can also offer a 30-minute phone call for consultations.
Visit Rocket Lawyer
The next step in the process is to make and send an eviction notice to the tenant. An eviction notice is a written request issued by a landlord to a tenant to vacate their rental property. Most eviction notices, like the pay or quit notice, give the tenant a chance to “cure” the situation by paying the overdue rent or stopping the lease violation. Otherwise, they will be subject to a formal eviction lawsuit.
But when the time on the eviction notice expires—from three to 30 days, depending on the state and the type of eviction notice—you can file a formal eviction with the housing court. After you win the eviction case, some states give the tenant up to 10 days to move. If the tenant refuses to leave, a sheriff may remove them and store their belongings at your expense.
Here are three types of eviction notices you can use and download, depending on the applicable jurisdiction of your case. Before using the documents below, check your local and state regulations to ensure you comply with the law on how to evict a tenant quickly.
- Pay or Quit Notice
- Cure or Quit Notice
- Unconditional Quit Notice
Landlords use this eviction notice when a tenant fails to pay the rent. It states that rent is past due and gives the tenant a set amount of time—usually three to five days in most states—to pay the past due rent in full, including any late fees. If your tenant pays the rent, you may be able to avoid the eviction process entirely. Tenants in some states only have this option once. However, if they pay their rent late again in the future, you can evict them for nonpayment, even if they pay the past due rent.
Landlords use a cure or quit notice when a tenant violates a lease or rental agreement term or condition, such as having a pet in a building with a no-pet policy or hosting frequent loud parties where tenants are not permitted to host parties on the premises. The tenant will be given a few days after receiving this eviction notice to correct or “cure” the violation. If tenants don’t comply, they must vacate the property or face eviction proceedings.
Landlords use the unconditional quit notice when a tenant has repeatedly violated the lease agreement’s terms or failed to pay rent on time on multiple occasions. Landlords may also use this eviction notice as a last resort if a tenant commits a crime on the premises, creates a public nuisance, or causes severe damage to the property. In this case, the tenant is not required to pay rent or resolve any issues. The tenant is only required to leave the premises within the specified time frame—usually a 30-day eviction notice form, depending on your state.
Click here to Download Eviction Notices
6. Prepare Documents & Attend Court Hearing
Since landlords are prohibited from taking matters into their own hands and cannot physically remove a non-paying tenant from the property, your only resort is to file an eviction with the local housing court. Your attorney will handle all necessary paperwork, oversee the entire process, and defend you in court if the eviction goes to trial. If you represent yourself, you must have credible witnesses, evidence of tenant violations, and the lease agreement signed by you and the tenant.
Here are the items you’ll need to bring to housing court:
- The original lease agreement signed
- Records of payments, like a rent roll and bank statements
- Copies of your correspondence with the tenant
- Evidence of the tenant’s lease violation, such as photographs of excessive property damage or witness testimony that the tenant is causing problems to other occupants
- A copy of the eviction notice and proof of delivery
- Credible witnesses who can attest and testify to a tenant’s lease or law violations—it could be another building tenant, a superintendent or property manager, or a contractor or repair person
Prepare for court hearings with the help of your attorney. (Source: Think Realty )
Moreover, once you file the eviction, you will be assigned a court date on which your case will be heard. A court date is usually granted within 30 to 45 days of filing the eviction paperwork. It may take longer if there is a backlog or a holiday. Meanwhile, if you do not have an attorney, you should attend a few eviction proceedings in court to learn how the process works. Unless your case is heard early, you can expect to spend the entire day in court. You cannot choose where your case is assigned on the docket, so plan accordingly.
The court can rule in either the tenant’s or your favor, or you may go to mediation to come to an agreement. If the judge rules in favor of the tenant and they owe unpaid rent, the judge will issue an order giving the tenant time to pay the overdue rent or face a new eviction.
Tenants will vacate your property within one to two weeks. (Source: Template.net )
If the judge rules in your favor, the tenant should vacate your rental unit within a week or two. If the tenant does not leave voluntarily within seven to 10 days, you must serve a notice to vacate through the sheriff’s office. This notice usually gives the tenant 48 to 72 hours to leave, or they will be forcibly removed. The sheriff will not move the tenants’ belongings but will ensure they vacate the premises. You can change the door locks and reclaim your property once the tenant has left.
Because the eviction process can cost you a lot of time, money, and stress, take precautions to avoid tenant scams and evade bad tenants. While you can’t always guarantee you’ll have good tenants, there are some things you can do to help prevent bad future tenants, starting with learning your state rental laws and screening your tenants.
Follow these tips to protect yourself from bad tenants and tenant scams in the future:
- Learn state guidelines: Each state has different laws regarding property rentals, so ensure you are familiar with yours. Understanding your state’s Fair Housing Act and landlord-tenant laws will guard you from tenant scams and treat your tenants correctly.
- Keep records and documents: Make sure to keep and track tenant records and documents like rent receipts , which include the tenant’s name, contact information, property address, date of receipt, and payment period and amount. These records will help you to keep detailed records, manage taxes and rent rolls, and assist when conflict occurs.
- Record property condition: Inspect the property with your tenant at the beginning and end of their lease to record existing and new damages. In addition, landlords need to be aware of the difference between normal wear and tear and damage to their property, and must use an apartment turnover checklist. This step will make it easier to protect yourself if a problem arises, like hiding property damage when moving out.
- Screen potential tenants: Thoroughly conduct the tenant screening process to ensure you put the best tenants in your units. Assess tenants’ credit and criminal history, eviction reports, and proof of income and employment. Ask for references and ratings from current and past employers and landlords.
What are considered unlawful reasons for eviction?
Some of these unlawful reasons you cannot use to ask a renter to vacate your property are the following:
- Discrimination eviction (racial, religious, familial, disability, or otherwise)
- Retaliatory eviction in response to tenant complaints or lawsuits
- Withholding payment of rent until a health or safety problem is resolved
- Eviction of protected tenant or classes
Can I sue my landlord for wrongful eviction?
Yes, you can sue your landlord if you were unfairly evicted and served with an illegal eviction notice. But remember that you must prove your claims in a court of law. This means that you must have evidence of your landlord’s misconduct. Here are some of the things you can sue your landlord for, but are not limited to:
- Wrongful eviction
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Can I remove a tenant by calling the police?
No, landlords cannot ask police officers to evict a renter on their behalf. Landlords still have to go through the eviction process to evict a tenant legally. The tenant is given time to leave the property after a court determines in favor of the landlord. The landlord may then request assistance from a law enforcement officer to evict the renter if the tenant refuses or fails to comply with the deadline.
Almost every landlord will deal with a difficult tenant or eviction at some point in their career. That is why you must legally know how to evict someone from your rental property. Ensure you follow the proper steps on how to evict a tenant and don’t get into a legal bind. You should know your state’s landlord-tenant laws and understand your lease so that you can file a valid and legal eviction.
About the Author
Find Jealie On LinkedIn
Jealie is a staff writer expert focusing on real estate education, lead generation, marketing, and investing. She has always seen writing as an opportunity to apply her knowledge and express her ideas. Over the years and through her internship at a real estate developer in the Philippines, Camella, she developed and discovered essential skills for producing high-quality online content.
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CELTA Assignment 1 - Focus on the Learner
by Adamantia Lambropoulou
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Find out how to save time on your CELTA assignments!
Focus on the Learner Assignment (1): Detailed Guide with Real Examples
Hi there! In this post, let’s go through the ‘Focus on the Learner’ CELTA Assignment.
I’ve had many questions about this, from people who are preparing for their CELTA or for those who are battling their way through the first few weeks. Fear not – help is at hand!
First, here’s a brief outline of what we’ll talk about in this post.
In short, the post will cover each of the following key points in detail:
- the different types of ‘Focus on the Learner’ assignment, because different centers may do it differently
- what you need to include to get a good grade
- the different parts of the assignment
- other things you can prepare in advance to help you succeed
- examples of this assignment available for free online (and why should be careful using them)
Let’s get started!
Before We Begin: Quick Background Point
Some CELTA centres offer this as CELTA assignment 1 , but others do it at a different point in the course.
It depends, but this assignment is usually set early on in the course, but the deadline can vary – I have heard of students being given this as CELTA assignment 1, but told to submit it after CELTA assignment 2 and 3, for example!
With this assignment coming so early on the CELTA, it can cause people problems since the assignment requires some careful thought about logistics an planning.
It is essential to be prepared and organised for your Focus on the Learner assignment, not least because this comes while you are still getting used to the whole course and how it works.
This can catch people out, but it doesn’t need to if you are prepared!
Obviously, if you’re reading up on things like this on websites that should help you and you should remove that element of stress from your CELTA experience .
Different Types of Focus on the Learner Assignment
Let’s start by looking at the 3 types of ‘Focus on the Learner’ assignment .
These are the ones that I know about; as I’ve said before, I’m not a CELTA trainer, but I have done the course and I speak to people about CELTA regularly.
The main three types of Focus on the Learner CELTA assignment are:
- Type 1 – to focus on an individual learner
- Type 2 – to look at a pair of learners , where you can compare and contrast them
- Typ3 – to focus on a group of learners or entire class
So, you’ve got 3 distinct approaches to this particular CELTA assignment. Let’s have a look at some points for each below.
Assignment Type 1 and 2: Focusing on an Individual or Pair of Learners
For the versions this assignment which focus on an individual or pair of learners , CELTA trainees will usually have to perform an interview with one (or two) learners.
Therefore, you will need to think about things like:
The right questions to ask the student/learner
How to record the interview
Getting the student’s permission, and making sure they understand what they are signing up for (think about this for low-level students – harder than it sounds)
Arranging a time and a place to conduct an interview
Choosing a student who you think will actually turn up
Also, think about what the student will get out of coming to meet you for an interview in their free time. If there is something in it for them, they are more likely to come and meet you outside of class.
You need to make the student(s) aware that doing the assignment is helping you on your CELTA course, but you also need to show them the benefits of coming for an interview , because if they don’t see any benefit, they’re unlikely to come (bad news for your assignment!).
Something you can do here is to offer them extra input into their learning as part of your interview , so you need to think of it from that perspective.
For example, you could offer some pronunciation advice based on what they say in the interview, or give them photocopies of some relevant worksheets based on what you’ve heard.
Interview Questions for Your CELTA Assignment
If you have to interview two learners, it’s going to be slightly different from just working with one, so think carefully about how you will ask the questions and whether it is best to have them there together or at different times. Your CELTA trainers can likely tell you which they recommend here.
Try to keep interview questions open-ended and avoid asking questions which have just a Yes/No answer.
For example, it would be better to ask ‘ Why do you like English? ‘ to a low-level student than to ask ‘ Do you like English? ‘.
Yes, they could understand both of the above questions, but consider which one is likely to allow the student to talk the most.
After all, you will need them to speak so that you can analyse their language!
This document from ISE Hove* , a CELTA centre in the south of England, is very useful as it provides both a letter template to invite a student to an interview and a list of possible questions you can use when interviewing a student. Very handy!
*I don’t work for ISE Hove and have no contacts there – it’s just a great document!*
My Experience of the Focus on the Learner Assignment
I should add that I had to do the individual learner for mine, and I interviewed a student from Eritrea. His native language was Tigrinya, which I’d never heard of before!
I’d studied Spanish and French for my undergraduate degree but nothing close to an East African language!
I didn’t know anything about Tigrinya, and there wasn’t really much online about it, bearing in mind that this was in 2007, so there were even fewer websites, so it was really quite hard to find information. However, I did find some in books in the end and these helped me to get through.
Actually, thinking about it, that was one time where it was really helpful to do my CELTA course at a university – the library had so many books available (as you would expect) and the online journal articles we had access to were very useful – but that’s for another article!
See here for more on recommended CELTA course books , or keep reading this article for the section on my recommended books for the Focus on the Learner Assignment!
Choosing the Right Students for Your CELTA Assignment – Types 1 & 2
Another point to note is that, if you are on a CELTA course with students speaking many different languages, the tutors will specifically say that you cannot interview an individual, or a pair of learners, who speak any of the same languages as you.
Now, although this might sound a bit unfair, the tutors want you to work out of your comfort zone.
T hey want you to show that you know something, or are able to learn, about different languages, as well as just your own, because it’s very easy if you’re on a CELTA course as a non-native speaker, to talk about your own language or if you’re a native speaker to talk about a language you’ve learned.
Try to take this as a challenge and an opportunity to learn new things and broaden your horizons. I remember doing a case study on a Japanese learner as part of a TESOL module I did at university.
The idea that a basic Japanese sentence is Subject + Object + Verb, rather than Subject + Verb + Object like English blew me away. For more on Japanese, check it this detailed post I’ve just found on Japanese sentence structure (looks interesting!)
Having to learn about a completely new language may seem a bit scary but it is good training for your future career as an English teacher, and a great way to learn new things about languages around the world.
However, not everyone will have to do this as it is not always logistically possible.
For example, if you consider an Arabic speaker on a CELTA course in an Arabic-speaking country , with a CELTA course where all the students speak that same language, then it’s highly likely that CELTA trainees there will focus only on students who speak the Arabic language.
That is not a guarantee that you will be able to focus on a language you know, but studying the CELTA in certain countries can increase the chances of this.
Type 3 – Focus on the Learner s : Using a Whole Group or Class
Moving on to the final type of assignment, using a whole group or class, which could involve the whole class of students who you will be teaching in your assessed teaching practice sessions.
It depends how big the group is, but you will have to do a profile of the group in terms of where they’re from and their language backgrounds.
Key points to consider when writing a group profile include the following:
Do they all speak the same first language?
Are they from many different countries?
Do they have similar reasons for learning?
Is there a mix of ages?
There are all kinds of dynamics that you can pick up on here, largely based on demographic information, which give insight into the students’ learning.
Focus on the Learner: Word Count and Key Points
In terms of what you need to include, here are the main points:
Generally, the first 300 to 350 words should be about learner(s) background .
Then, the next 300 to 350 would be an analysis of the student’s language problems
This will then be followed by another 300-350 word section suggesting activities for them to improve their English .
Learner Background Section
In the background section, you need to cover things like the learner’s motivation for learning English.
That obviously gives us insight, as mentioned previously, into the following points:
- why the students are in the class
- whether they are likely to be a good learner
- and whether their reasons for coming to class are likely to help them in their language learning.
In terms of learner motivation, for example, some people are coming to class to enhance their career or job propsects.
The above appears to be better motivation for language learning than for somebody who’s been forced to go by their parents after school (but not always!).
You can also pick up on things like intrinsic and extrinsic motivation if you like, which helps to add to the learner profile, and set the context for their learning.
Other points to cover include a learner’s previous language learning experience.
Some key questions to consider here are:
- Are they learning English for the first time as an adult or have they been learning English right through from school?
If you are asked to focus on a group of learners (Type 3), try focusing on students who show difference or contrast to the majority, while also describing the main group of learners.
Needs Analysis Section
Another point you need to think about in the analysis of the students’ language problems is their actual strengths and weaknesses in English.
Think of a learner’s strengths in terms of the different skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Again, the document by ISE Hove have this covered and have provided a self-assessment grid for learners to complete themselves (see page 3). It’s simple, but it should work!
However, it can be quite hard to judge their errors because you have very little time to do this. That said, you should still be able to identify different points that you’ve heard them produce or you’ve seen them write, in the class.
Also, you should mention language points that you’ve seen these learners have difficulty with during CELTA teaching practice sessions; you can then identify errors (both from their spoken and written language) to analyse as part of your assignment.
Choosing the Right Language Points for Your Assignment
Interestingly, a student recently emailed to ask me the following question:
“How do I know which language points to focus on when writing the Focus on the Learner Assignment?”
What I would suggest is to try to make a note of lots of different points of language during the time you are watching lessons (but not teaching).
From your extensive notes (hopefully), you can then choose only the language points that you know how to explain, because there will be probably many, many different points if you have taken lots of notes!
For this reason, Swan and Smith’s book Learner English is really useful for this assignment.
Suggested Activities for Improvement Sections
Following on from the previous section, you will then need to start looking at how you can proivde activities to help these learners improve.
These suggestions don’t need to be anything out of this world, however. You could just simply suggest that the students try to spend more time speaking with native speakers to improve their confidence, or focus on improving their knowledge of article rules – whatever is relevant.
It depends, but it’s all part of a needs analysis – and you have to think of the interview experience from the perspective of the student , how it will help them
If you’re doing the above, then you should cover all the key points for your CELTA tutors.
Using Books to Help With CELTA Assignment 1
You will need to refer to different books to show that you’re reading around the topic and that you are aware of the different academic thoughts on these things.
That way you can give good, educated ideas and suggestions to help the students, which are really practical as well.
My top books to help you with this assignment would be Michael Swan’s Learner English (Amazon UK – affiliate link) or Practical English Usage , also by Micheal Swan (Amazon UK – affiliate link).
**Top tip: If you are going to buy CELTA books, I’d suggest getting second-hand or used books from Amazon as they are generally very good quality and it can save you a lot of money!)**
- PS See here for more on recommended CELTA course books
In terms of referencing, you should refer to texts and books at relevant points, but not all the time; just a couple of clear and consistent references or citations should be enough here.
If you are not sure about referencing, I have written more on this in the following posts about the writing style for the CELTA assignments and also on saving time on your CELTA assignments.
Examples of the Focus on the Learner Assignment
Finally, where can you see examples of the Focus on the Learner Assignment?
Now, there’s one thing to note. Remember, these examples do not mean they are perfect or they are exemplary. They vary in grades – in fact, the grades are not stated on them.
Hopefully, you’ll see a range of different ways of tackling this question, and you’ll see the different types of answers to the relevant questions for CELTA assignment 1.
Now, although the following examples are available online, that does not mean they are of high quality.
Hopefully, you will be able to discern between the parts they have covered quite well, and others which are lacking.
Some appear to also ignore the given word count for CELTA assignment 1 (if I dare call it that!), which I find quite strange but it may be something that your tutors are not too worried about – best to ask them that one!
So, in order, you will find examples of each type of assignment for the individual learner, a pair of learners and a group of learners, with links to the original document below.
Think of this as general background reading as your CELTA centre might ask you to cover different points or use a different layout altogether.
Example of Assignment Type 1: Individual Learner
Example of assignment type 2: pair of learners, example of assignment type 3: group of learners, summary – focus on the learner celta assignment.
So, hopefully, you’ve found the information above useful and now have a better idea of how to approach this CELTA assignment!
If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments on this page or on Twitter @stephenbeale , and I will talk to you soon. Good luck with the CELTA course and your Focus on the Learner assignment!
PS Here’s a quick summary video over on the CELTA Helper Youtube Channel:
Further Reading on CELTA Assignments
CELTA ‘Focus on the Learner’ Assignment – YouTube
How to Write CELTA Assignments: Easy Guide
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- CELTA - Focus on the Learner Assignment
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Alexandra Smit – Focus on the Learner CELTA IH Rome Spring 2010 Page 1
Focus on the Learner
The students attending the pre-intermediate English language course at International House
are mostly Italian1. The age range is quite varied (early twenties to late sixties) and they
are all very highly motivated and passionate about learning the language2. Most of the
students come from a strong cultural background and have a scholastic knowledge of
English, having learnt the language at school as part of the compulsory curriculum. Those
who don’t, have at least 1 to 2 years experience of learning the language and a number of
them have already attended the course taught by CELTA trainees in previous years.
As for learning styles there is a core group of retired teachers (mainly Italian and Latin) who
I perceive to have a strong linguistic approach. This also emerges from the interviews we
had with them on our first day of training: the majority of students highlighted their
strengths in English as reading and writing. Most of them also enjoy visual arts (during class
interviews there was a high percentage of students who listed going to art exhibitions as a
hobby). The size of the room and the number of students attending class3 makes it difficult
to have a more kinesthetic approach even though a good number of them are passionate
about dancing, sports and regularly pursue these hobbies.4
The students are involved in class activities and there are a few risk-takers who regularly
intervene making lessons very enjoyable and making us teachers feel like we are
contributing to their learning. As the course has evolved I have also noticed that many of
those who appeared shy at the beginning are now more confident and ask questions for
With regards to the skills they want to develop, an overwhelming majority have expressed
the desire to improve their understanding and communication in English and have listed
these as their main aims in English language learning.
It is difficult to assess their feedback on the lessons at this stage, as they have not been
asked this question directly. However, the fact that they clap their hands at the end of
certain sessions (not mine, unfortunately) is indicative of the fact that they are enjoying the
lessons and the activities.
1 except for one student from Peru and one, who only recently joined, from Russia
2 this seems to be confirmed by the high number of students who regularly attend classes
3 Usually around 12 to 15 students
4 J. Wingate, “Multiple Intelligences”, in English Teaching Professional
Alexandra Smit – Focus on the Learner CELTA IH Rome Spring 2010 Page 2
The essay recommended as pre-reading for this5 section is a useful tool to identify and
analyse the types of errors and mistakes that are quite common for native Italian speakers.
Below is a table which lists those I have found to be most frequent:
Error Should Be Error Type Possible reason for error
Is raining It’s raining Grammar The student omitted the subject6. This
error comes from L1 interference as
phrases such as these often omit the
subject or the object.
I walk near at my
I walk near
Grammar This error comes from L1 interference. In
Italian the preposition ‘vicino’ (near)
requires the preposition a (at).
Pronunciation Students overemphasised the stress on
the 2nd syllable and pronounced the ‘e’.
Again, this error comes from L1
interference as Italians seldom stress the
first syllable and tend to pronounce all
letters in a word.
There is often confusion about how to
pronounce ‘u’ whether it be ‘ʌ’ or ‘ʊ’. In
this situation however it was actually
pronounced ‘æ’, to over-emphasise a
pronunciation closer to ‘ʌ’, so this could
be considered as a slip.
The time was hot The
Vocabulary This error comes from a literal translation
of ‘tempo’ used colloquially in Italian to
Hannah had an
of the relevant Italian lexical item for
5 A. Duguid, “Italian Speakers”, in M. Swan and B. Smith, Learner English: A Teacher's Guide To
Interference And Other Problems, 2002 (1987), CUP,
6 I found this to be quite a widespread type of error.
Alexandra Smit – Focus on the Learner CELTA IH Rome Spring 2010 Page 3
I have previously mentioned that students, during class interviews, have stated their skills’
abilities in English to be stronger in reading and writing. However a number of mistakes and
errors made during speaking practice were replicated in the written piece of homework that
students handed to us. Given this and the students’ desire to be able to speak better I
would recommend having strong focus on productive skills during lessons.
As for receptive skills, I have noticed that listening seems to be the skill that students
struggle mostly with. It could be due to the fact that they might have been less exposed to
English as spoken by native speakers7: they have difficulties with the stress timing of
language and the understanding of weak forms8. Reading comprehension is the skill
students are most successful in although they sometimes have difficulty with vocabulary if
this is unfamiliar.
The error type I have chosen to focus on is the one regarding subject/object omission: one
of the errors that I have found to be widespread amongst the students. The activity chosen
is from Move Ahead Level 1, Macmillian and the activity is 9.1 – “Wow!”. I would put
pictures of the natural wonders of the world used in the activity as well as others on the
board and then would proceed to run it as illustrated by the resource book encouraging
students to describe the places using phrases such as ‘it is the highest mountain in the
world’, ‘it is on the river Zimbezi’, etc. I would use this activity, even though it is an
elementary one, as I believe the class would benefit from further drilling and practice to
avoid making this kind of error.
For the skills activity I have chosen a listening activity from New English File , Pre
Intermediate, OUP, (section 3 -Listening 5.1 CD 2 track 20). It contains 5 different
conversations which take place at a party during which people who meet for the first time
say the wrong things. The first task of the activity would be to identify the names of the
people involved in each conversation. For the second task I would ask students to write
down the ‘wrong things’ said during these conversations, pausing the CD after each
conversation to enable students to write down their answers. I would then ask them to
compare answers with their partners and listen to the script again to check and then have a
plenary feedback session. I’ve attached a script of the conversation at the end of this
assignment. The reason I have chosen this kind of activity is because I believe that students
would benefit from further exposure to native speaking and because of their aim to have a
7 in order to teach in compulsory education schools you need to have a particular degree or diploma only
obtainable in Italy which means that foreign languages are mostly taught by Italian native speakers
8 A. Duguid, “Italian Speakers”, in M. Swan and B. Smith, Learner English: A Teacher's Guide To Interference And
Other Problems, 2002 (1987), CUP, pg 77
Alexandra Smit – Focus on the Learner CELTA IH Rome Spring 2010 Page 4
A. Duguid, “Italian Speakers”, in M. Swan and B. Smith, Learner English: A Teacher's Guide
To Interference And Other Problems, 2002 (1987), CUP
J. Wingate, “Multiple Intelligences”, in English Teaching Professional, from:
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CELTA Assignment 1 'Focus on the Learner'
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Assignment 1 ‘Focus on the Learner’ Anna Maria Merletti Learning background Stefania is 67 years old, she is Italian and she speaks Italian. Her level in English is pre – intermediate. The differences between L1 and L2 cause many problems to Italian learners. As stated in ‘Learner English1’ to indicate grammatical functions Italian relies on morphological inflections whereas English relies on word order and phrase structure. As a consequence Italian learners complain about English little and unpredictable grammar. Since Italian is basically phonetically spelled with strict rules for word stress, learners find it difficult to understand and to be understood in English. Stefania studied French at school, but she can no longer speak it. She started attending English classes here two years ago, before that she experienced mainly grammar classes, with not enough speaking, no translations, and a lot of ‘listen and repeat’. She is a retired teacher with a degree. Her ideal teacher would speak slowly, and repeat a lot, to motivate the student she would use games and role – plays. She likes the lessons here, but she didn’t like when six teachers taught for 20 minutes, she found it difficult to follow. Motivation She likes travelling and doesn’t want to depend on her husband when they are abroad. Quoting from her interview she said ‘I don’t want to be inferior to my husband’ and she wants to be able to give information to tourists when she meets them in the city centre2, this shows a mix of extrinsic, intrinsic and integrative motivation3 for learning English. She is planning to travel in the future therefore her focus is on speaking and listening. Learning style Stefania is strong in auditory and interpersonal intelligence 4. Amongst her favourite activities there are listening, speaking and role playing. Her ideal English lesson would start from a topic (e.g. a reading comprehension), then a focus on its grammar and vocabulary to finish with a speaking activity related to it. She likes the methodology we use because she finds it effective. 1 Swan, Learner English, CUP, 2011 pp 74,78 Stefania’s interview 3 Harmer, How to teach English, FLTRP, 2000, p.8 4 Scrivener, Learning Teaching, MacMilian Education, 2011, p 85 2 1 Ability in the four skills Stefania’s strongest skills are listening and speaking. When she speaks she can make herself understood even though she is not always accurate or fluent and sometimes lacks of vocabulary. She is not shy and she keeps speaking regardless of her mistakes. When listening she understands complicated structures even though she cannot reproduce them. When she doesn’t understand she asks for clarification. Her problems with reading and writing concern lack of vocabulary and interferences between L1 and L2. She is in the pre – intermediate group nevertheless her production in poor, she seldom has the chance to read something in English, she doesn’t want to read a book because she thinks it may be too difficult for her. In her writing she conveys information and ideas, and she gets across the main points, but this task is the hardest for her, being not used to it. Phonological and grammatical problems, and suggestions for specific activities. Analysing her recorded interview and the written text she provided, I was able to identify errors she regularly makes only from the interview. From the written text it is clear that the mistakes she makes are interferences between the two languages (e.g.: I love reading, to go 5...love followed by – ing form in English, but infinitive in Italian), or she forgets the third person singular auxiliary she usually uses, mistakes she doesn’t make during classes. Grammar Grammatical error 1: Stefania uses the present simple instead of the present continuous. Example 1: ‘The guide speaks’ (oral sample). Correction: The guide is speaking. Example 2: ‘The tourists sunbathe’ (oral sample). Correction: The tourists are sunbathing. Suggestion: Hughes and Jones, Practical Grammar 2, Heinle Cengage (2011) pp 26 – 29, ex 1-4 and 1-3 Hughes, Stephenson, Dummett, Life split B, National Geographic Learning Cengage Learning (2014) (see appendix) Rationale: The progressive verbs exist in Italian, but their use is more limited than in English6, when it comes to describe a picture in English the tense to use is the present continuous7 whereas in Italian we use the equivalent to the present simple. Practice should help her to form the habit. The above exercises include listening exercises which fit with her auditory learning style. Grammatical error 2: preposition after to go. Example 1: ‘I went in the cemetery’ (oral sample). Correction: I went to the cemetery. Example 2: ‘I went at an Italian school’ (oral sample). Correction: I went to an Italian school. Suggestion: Murphy, English Grammar in use, (2012) pp 252 – 253 ex 1 - 3 (see appendix) 5 Stefania’s written text (see appendix) Swan, Learner English, CUP, 2011 p. 80 7 http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/exams/speaking-exams/describe-photo-or-picture (on 26th November 2017) 6 2 Rationale: The meaning of some prepositions can be a bit difficult to remember in both Italian and English8. The prepositions of movement and position, to/from, are used to show direction with movement9, Stefania doesn’t use the preposition to correctly, these exercises should help her, they include vocabulary related to travelling which is useful and interesting for her future plans. Phonology Phonological error 1: Stefania doesn’t pronounce the letter h at the beginning of a word. Example 1: she says /əʊm/ (oral sample). Correction: /həʊm/ Example 2: she says /ɒl.ə.deɪ/ (oral sample). Correction: /ˈhɒl.ə.deɪ/ Suggestion: Baker, Ship or Sheep, CUP (2006) pp 130 – 132 Rationale: These exercises will help Stefania to practice the sound and get the habit of producing it. The recording fits with her auditory learning style. Phonological error 2: Stefania pronounces /t/ the sound /θ/ Example 1: /tri:/ (oral sample). Correction: /θriː/ Example 2: /tæŋk/ (oral sample). Correction /θæŋk/ Suggestion: Baker, Ship or Sheep, CUP (2006) pp 133, 136 – 137 Rationale: These exercises will help Stefania to recognise the difference between the two sounds and repeating the words will help her to pronounce correctly. The dialogue is entertaining so the self practice is not boring. Word count: 1029 8 9 Swan, Learner English, CUP, 2011 p. 87 Alexander, Longman English Grammar Practice Self-study Edition, Longman, 1990, p 108 3 References: Swan, Learner English, CUP, 2011 Harmer, How to teach English, FLTRP, 2000 Scrivener, Learning Teaching, MacMilian Education, 2011 Alexander, Longman English Gramar Practice Self-study Edition, Longman, 1990 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CUP, 2004 http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/exams/speaking-exams/describe-photo-or-picture Baker, Ship or Sheep, CUP 2006 Hughes and Jones, Practical Grammar 2, Heinle Cengage 2011 Murphy, English Grammar in use, CUP 2012 Hughes, Stephenson, Dummett, Life split B, National Geographic Learning Cengage Learning (2014) 4