Hello Exam Seekers,
If you have been reading me for a while, you probably know that I mention the CELTA course quite often. I’ve talked about Building Rapport, Error Correction Techniques, Preparing a Lesson Plan, How to prepare Handouts, Receptive Skills, and Productive Skills, CCQs X ICQs, etc. However, there are essential questions that need to be answered: What is the CELTA course? What does it involve? Who is it for? Is it worth it? Stay tuned because all of these questions will be answered here!
Well, to start off, CELTA is the acronym for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. Many people say it stands for Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
What is the Cambridge CELTA Course?
The Cambridge CELTA is a course focused on the practice of English teaching. It focuses on developing practical skills with face-to-face teaching practice, which will provide teachers with techniques and build their confidence to teach with more quality.
The CELTA course is the most widely recognized English teaching qualification in the world. According to Cambridge English, three out of four English language teaching jobs require a CELTA qualification.
Who is the Cambridge CELTA for?
The CELTA is a qualification specially built for teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL). It is for:
- New teachers starting their career;
- First-language English speakers and non-first-language speakers;
- Teachers with some experience who want to develop their skills;
- Teachers who want to travel and teach English.
There are, however, some criteria you need to meet before enrolling in the CELTA course:
- Be over the age of 18;
- Be a Proficient English language user (CEFR Level high C1 or above);
- Have a standard of education equivalent to the one required for entry into higher education.
If you do not have formal educational qualifications at the level indicated above, centers may still accept you, if you can demonstrate that you would be likely to complete the course successfully.
Ways to take the CELTA course.
The CELTA course can be taken in different ways:
- full time – usually 4–5 weeks
- part-time – from a few months to over the course of a year
- online – a blended learning course, combining online self-study with hands-on teaching practice.
What is the CELTA course like?
The course format:
The CELTA courses are delivered by Cambridge Assessment English authorized centers. All CELTA courses include at least 120 hours of contact between candidates and course tutors, and include:
- tutorial support and consultation;
- supervised lesson planning;
- six hours assessed teaching practice per candidate supervised by a course tutor;
- feedback on teaching practice;
- peer observation of teaching practice (i.e. watching the other candidates’ lessons);
- six hours directed observation of lessons taught by experienced ELT professionals, up to three hours of which may be of filmed lessons.
In summary, it means that you will be asked to prepare and deliver 6 hours of lessons throughout the course, and you will be assessed in many aspects of your teaching. Elements such as language awareness, lesson delivery, lesson plan, stages for different types of lessons – receptive and productive skills, appropriate language, and some others are taken into account. There is a range of topics that the CELTA course covers:
- Learners and teachers, and the teaching and learning context;
- Language analysis and awareness;
- Language skills: reading, listening, speaking, and writing;
- Planning and resources for different teaching contexts;
- Developing teaching skills and professionalism;
If you want some more information about them, here is the pdf link for you to download the file, if you want:
Another aspect of the course is that you will need to write four assignments in a more academic style. That means that you need to quote some authors – you will be told to read some chapters of books beforehand – and write up to 1000 words on the topics.
How are you assessed in the CELTA course?
Differently from a test, you will be assessed throughout the course. There is no final examination. There are two types of assessment: Teaching Practice and Written Assignments.
- Teaching Practice: you will teach for a total of 6 hours, working with adult classes at a minimum of two levels of ability. Assessment is based on your overall performance.
- Written Assignments: you will complete four written assignments (each 750–1,000 words), that focus on:
- analyzing and responding to adult learner needs;
- analyzing language for teaching purposes;
- teaching language skills;
- reflecting on classroom teaching.
Should you fail the first submission (a lower grade than expected), you still have the resubmission, which means another chance to fix the mistakes and aim for a passing grade.
After taking the CELTA course, you will receive a certificate similar to this one:
This is the old Cambridge English logo, because I took the CELTA back in 2015.
In front of the certificate, there is the name of the certificate (CELTA), your name, the number of your certificate, the date and the place of issue, and your grade: PASS, PASS B, PASS A. At the back, there is an explanation about the course.
Is the CELTA course difficult?
I believe it is pretty demanding. Below you will find some aspects that I needed to deal with during the course which were undoubtedly essential to know more about before enrolling. After reading them, you can decide for yourself if it is difficult or not:
- Lesson planning
The first part of the assessment is your planning. Tutors evaluate how well you know the steps for each skill – these are all taught during the input sessions -, and the quality of your work, the way you describe and design your lesson plan. Additionally, these input sessions do make all the difference. You end up putting into practice the things you learn in there, and you end up learning a whole lot more than expected, mainly because each CELTA session is somehow a presentation of a CELTA-like class, and you can quickly identify the steps of the lesson and also implement the ones that fit your style.
- Designing the lesson plan
Something to bear in mind is that, while creating your lesson plan, it is highly important that you respect the stages for each different lesson. Listening and reading, speaking and writing, grammar and vocabulary, all should be analyzed carefully since the lesson plans are different depending on the skill you aim to teach. Besides that, do not forget to analyze the language that will be presented, the vocabulary that may be introduced, or that may cause misunderstandings. There is also the grammar topic you will explain throughout the lesson – if this is the aim of your class, the problems that may come up during the lesson and how to deal with them, and so on and so forth. In CELTA, tutors aim to teach you the importance of preparation, and how many things can be dealt with beforehand should we take some time to actually design our lessons and focus on the steps and procedures for each one of them.
- Lesson delivery
Moreover, after you send the lesson plan to your tutor, you will also need to deliver the lesson you prepared. This is the other part of your assessment. You will be evaluated on how well you set up the class, the materials you develop, the monitoring, the way you deal and interact with students, the way you put things into practice according to your lesson plan, techniques that you are implementing, and much more. While delivering your lesson, both your tutor and peers will be watching you and taking notes of your practice, because they all will participate in the feedback later on.
At the end of your lesson, the tutor will gather with you – along with your peers – and give you feedback on your lesson delivery. To be honest with you, I used to hate being observed and feared the feedback from others before CELTA. However, if there is something that it has definitely taught me is how valuable feedback is. While observers, people notice a lot more things that go on unnoticed and that most of the time you are not even aware you are doing. Besides that, pointing out a peer’s mistake nicely to them is also part of the things you learn throughout the course. So, learn to enjoy these precious moments, which will end up shedding light on aspects that are sure to be noticed and corrected for the following lessons you teach – not only in CELTA but also in life!
Regarding the assignments, it resembles those articles written during university, where you needed to quote authors and develop a topic based on different sources. Tutors will explain what to do in each one of them when they are due and what you need to do to complete each of them.
By the end of the course, you will find yourself not only more knowledgeable but also a better professional. Each time you write an assignment or design and deliver a lesson, you will see yourself growing in many aspects, be it as a better teacher or even a better person – since you learn to deal not only with students better but also cope well with your peers.
Is the CELTA course worh it?
I believe it is worth it. The reason why I say this is because the CELTA is a life-changing practical course that will not only be a door opener to you in relation to job hunting but will also broaden your vision to fields you may have never thought of before.
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Have a great week,