You might have heard of this certificate and the course, which is used to be seen as an internationally recognised initial teaching qualification. However, these days many experienced teachers join a team of CELTA trainees because they are keen on being exposed to recent approaches, develop professionally and they want to get a confirmation of their teaching abilities by running effective classes and getting feedback.
- Teaching Practice
- You will have to teach real students for at least 6 hours. For example, you may be asked to deliver eight 45-minute lessons.
- There will be about eight students in your teaching practice groups and you will have to work with two different levels.
- This is the most practical component of the course as it is impossible to ride a bike without trying it out. Practice makes perfect.
- The challenge comes when you realise that you are not only surrounded by students but your trainer and all course participants are watching you carefully. This may cause anxiety and you may lose concentration.
- Feedback on teaching
- Having given a lesson, you will reflect on that experience, complete a special form commenting on your achievements and discuss your ideas with your trainer and peers. Some trainers and trainees believe that this is the most important bit of the course. You get constructive feedback by listening other people’s opinion and working out what to keep doing, what to change and what elements you need to get rid of.
- Observations of experienced teachers and peers
- You won’t be teaching every day as your peers will be teaching too. Your trainers will provide you with observation tasks so that it is easier to focus on certain areas and notice good techniques, which you can nick from your peers.
- You will also have to observe your trainers and other experienced teachers. Trainers may arrange live or video observations for you.
- Input sessions
- The input sessions are designed to help you understand the principles of teaching and learn the key techniques that you can use in the teaching practice.
- Your trainers will decide which topics are the most important for your teaching context. There are likely to be a variety of sessions on classroom management techniques, some basic principles of lesson planning, recent approaches, useful activities etc.
- Written assignments
- There are four tasks designed by your tutors that you will have to complete. The topics are focus on the learner, language related, language skills and reflection.
- It is essential to do research on the topics and collect information before you start producing your essay.
- You will be asked to demonstrate your understanding of the principles taught on the course and use appropriate ELT terminology.
- Your assignments should be written clearly and accurately.
I am carrying out a survey on what motivates people to do the course, how useful the course has been for the graduates and which component they found the most beneficial. Most of the respondents admit that they have learnt a great deal of useful techniques from both their trainers and co-trainees as they have observed each other throughout the course.
Although written assignment are appealing to some trainees who are interested in academic study, many trainees appreciate the healthy combination of input on methodology, teaching practice and feedback on lessons. Many people found TP the most beneficial component, some of them mentioned observations, written assignments and input sessions, which is really rewarding for me as a CELTA trainer.
We seemed to have come to the conclusion that CELTA has been a a useful experience for all graduates who took part in my survey.
Benefits of doing CELTA
- An opportunity to become aware of the key teaching principles and how to use modern approaches
- A chance to share your experience, creative ideas and expertise in teaching
- Brushing up on terminology and teaching skills
- Getting hands-on experience of teaching
- Earning an internationally recognised teaching certificate
- Career development
- A sense of achievement
All in all, CELTA is no longer a certificate you get if you want to start teaching without holding a degree in teaching, it is an opportunity for personal and professional growth as it is likely to help you find a path leading to more effective teaching.
To give you a flavour of what the course is like I uploaded the video taken during one of the course we delivered in Moscow. You will see the course participant serious faces at the beginning of the course, see their increasing interest and involvement in the activities and sessions towards the middle of the course, as well as building confidence in teaching.