A guest piece by “TEFLelastic”
I finished my CELTA about a two months ago and it was real shock, and in no way a pleasant one. Read about TEFL in The Guardian and it’s all “working holiday” and “see the world for free”. No one tells you about having to prepare lessons, read books, learn grammar and stuff like that.
I found it really stressful to stand up in front of a class of people and teach them. Why can’t they make it easier? Why don’t they give us Advanced students we can actually chat to at the beginning of the course- that’s got to be an easier way into it? Or, we could get our students watching a video for one of the lessons to give us a break. Or maybe start our lessons with just one student and then work our way up.
Anyway, I soon found out in my first teaching job that the stuff they teach you on the CELTA doesn’t work in real life. It’s all “get your students in pairs” or “get them in groups of three”. How are you supposed to do that in real class with 13 people?? Or “get them talking”, “low TTT”, all that crap. That’s all very well for the Pre-Int students on the course, but Elementary students can’t say anything in English, can they? I explained to my Elementary classes that they were going to concentrate on understanding me first and then get onto talking later, and they all sat there nodding and smiling and so that is what we did. Of course, the DoS didn’t like it because she’d gone through the CELTA brainwashing course back in her day too.
Also, all the stuff you get marked down for in your CELTA lessons are fine in real life. If you overrun, the students are just glad to get some free minutes of class. And who needs a warmer when they’re on the edge of their seats when you tell them what you think about their country?
Also, 1000 pounds for a teaching certificate?? I’m not asking to become a bleeding doctor, am I? What is wrong with these people? Why don’t they just make it shorter and cheaper? It’s all just a scam, I reckon. In my school there were four teacher trainers, including the school owner, and you could tell they were getting paid much more than the rest of us, doing their prep on their laptops and coming to work in suits. Nice little earner, I reckon.
So, don’t bother with the CELTA. It’s no fun, and there are loads of jobs in China you can get without it.
Click on the CELTA category below for much more on this qualification.
An interesting perspective, to say the least. When I say interesting, I of course mean ‘bollocks’. OK, I agree, there are a lot of teaching courses out there to be avoided, but suggesting that you’ll be perfectly fine without doing a CELTA is crazy. Just because a school will accept you without a certificate doesn’t mean that the qualification isn’t worth shit, it means that the school offering you the job isn’t worth shit.
Doing a four-week foundation course is bloody hard work but gives you a great insight into what you’re getting yourself into. I guess the author is in that stage of post-CELTA teaching when the novelty has worn off and realisation that this is a job like any other that requires commitment has set in, so I’ll give you some slack. Nevertheless, this is still a ridiculous thing to suggest.
I think a lot of post CELTA teachers feel exactly like this poster. Which may be why we need to do DELTAs? To sort the sheep from the goats?
It’s true a lot of what is pushed so hard on a CELTA is hard to make work in real classes, but when I’m having a bad time with one or more classes, getting back to the basics that CELTA level courses teach is usually a big help in getting back on track.
So – it’s an interesting post and an opinion I find enlightening. But I don’t agree.
DO A CELTA or CERT TESOL. You owe it yourself and your students.
“I found it really stressful to stand up in front of a class of people and teach them. Why can’t they make it easier? ”
Well, believe it or not they did and welcome to the profession. If you think teaching a 15 minute lesson with 12 or so students is stressful, wait until you enter the real world and have to teach at least four hours per day with 20-40 students in a class. You may also end up having to teach medical English, technical writing, business English or even a class on ‘English for food inspectors’. You haven’t got chance without some training , and of greater importance, you OWE it to the students to know what you are doing — they are PAYING for it. If you just want to sit on the beach with a margarita in your hand, so be it, but please stay out of the classroom and finance your travels by other means.
Besides, is ANY TEFL certificate really so stressful??? The course is 30 days, but only M-F, which makes it only 20 days. Then there’s the first day of orientation when you don’t teach and the last day of the course when you pop the cork on the champagne. That leaves a grand total of 18 days (with weekends off to do some sightseeing ). Is that really too much time to ask of someone before they become an educator?
I did my CELTA 2 years ago and it was a great foundation for my teaching. I can’t imagine going into teaching with anything less.
The CELTA is of course not perfect, but it’s probably as good as one can get in such a short time. However, I agree with what the author said about a lot of teaching techniques not being very useful for elementary students. And also students that are NOT motivated. You can prepare wonderful information gap activities but it’ll totally fail if the students aren’t motivated. (Of course one could argue that they would most likely be motivated since they are adults and CELTA is for teaching adults, not children or teenagers)
I feel that the CELTA assumes that you’re going to teach students who have at least learnt a bit of English before. If the student is an absolute beginner, that’s a whole different story altogether. A teacher who teaches in the students’ first language is probably better initially. At least for me, the teaching practices in CELTA didn’t include such low-level students and a lot of stuff we learned wouldn’t work with low level students or unmotivated ones.
But that’s not the fault of CELTA at all. You can’t learn everything on one short course.
And this is what is wrong with the profession: lazy butts who don’t want to do any work to get paid albeit a “small” salary it’s a salary.
People like this joker totally disrespect the fact that teaching English is not a holiday, it is a profession.
Go work in MacDonalds if you can’t be bothered to learn enough grammar to actually teach it.
Go work as a cocktail waiter if you can’t be bothered to work out the dynamics of er, 5 x 2 groups and 1 x 3 or wait for it, 3 x 3 and 2 x 2 will give you 13. Oh wait, you need logic skills to handle a cocktail bar – go work in coal mine.
Overrunning, mr ego head, is sloppy and you make your students late for whatever their next appointment is.
1000 pounds is a lot of money, you’re right about that but maybe it helps wean out the time-wasters, free-loaders and I-don’t-know-what-else-to-do-with-my lifers.
p.s. the point of vehement response is GET a teaching certificate.
Is this a joke, ALex? I fear not. Actually, it’s a very fair case for making the CELTA longer – two or three months would be much better, I reckon, and would deter half-arsed dimwits like the one above.
But it IS a joke, innit!?
ahh…satire…a tricky concept for some…
This is a joke, but it’s funny because it’s true…..
But when I started teaching, I didn’t really know what a CELTA was. A lack of qualifications doesn`t necessarily make a bad teacher. However, if you intend to be in it for the long haul I think continuing development keeps you motivated, if nothing else.
But there are people like this, and they get the jobs they deserve. I think the poor teachers and poor schools are finding it tougher as students get more savvy and have more options online. (That would be my feeling in Japan, but you might not agree, Alex?)
What a ridiculous thing to say. ” No one tells you about having to prepare lessons, read books, learn grammar and stuff like that.” Are you completely nuts? What on earth were you expecting? To get paid for doing nothing??
Karenne Sylvester has written pretty much my reaction to this joke of a post, so I’ll just say ‘ditto’ to what she’s said.
As a “real” teacher with bachelor’s and master’s in Education who has taught in universities, regular high schools and technical colleges I think CELTA is a joke and a sorry excuse for people with no teaching qualifications who want to get into a classroom ASAP and feel like they really do have qualifications.
I always see “CELTA or equivalent” and think to myself… is 5 years of full-time study + 4 full-time teaching practicums (3 weeks, 5 weeks, 7 weeks and a full term) equivalent to CELTA (“100 hours + 6 hours ASSESSED teaching”) jeez… what a crock…
– If you want to be a real teacher then get your bachelor’s in education.
– If you want to backpack around the world teaching English then don’t get anything… get a working holiday VISA.
– If you’ve backpacked around the world for a few years and want to pretend you’re a real teacher then get a CELTA. You won’t earn any extra money, have any extra job progression or be able to teach in universities or regular high schools…etc.
If my government would pay for me to take a one year teaching course only to see me flee the country at the first opportunity, I would of course quite happily take it.
I’ve never heard of anyone working as a state high school teacher in a foreign country just with the teaching qualification from back home (PGCE in British terms). International schools, yes.
Nicely written, if one sided, critique of a CELTA course – pity the writer didn’t ask a lot more questions before or during his interview for the course. Pity he didn’t do a bit more research before he decided to do the CELTA. Pity he wasn’t told, or didn’t listen to, what the interviewer said during his interview. Pity he did an intensive four week course, and not an extensive course as is available in some places.
Part of my job as a teacher trainer is to observe teachers in the classroom and give them feedback. It is usually mind bogglingly clear which teachers have taken a CELTA, or Trinity certificate, course and which haven’t! Those that haven’t, tend to be teaching in a similar way to the way they were taught. As there has been a time lag of several, or more, years since they were taught they are generally not taking advantage of modern methodology based on the research that has taken place since they were at school.
As TEFL is a commercial market, the CELTA is a commercial product – if it were more a part of mainstream education perhaps with state sponsored training things would be different. Better or worse, who knows?
I have a question.
I’m in the process of finishing my teacher training in Belgium. It’s a post-MA training at university of one year, consisting of a whole bunch of classes and 4 internships in 4 different schools. My teacher training focused on teaching English to high school students and adults.
I’ve already been accepted to teach in China, but I was wondering whether I’d ever need to take an aditional CELTA course to get into better schools or to teach in other countries. Do any of you have any idea about that?
I would expect that ‘no one told you about having to prepare lessons etc’ because it is assumed that at work you actually do some. Also, it can be stressful standing in front of people and teaching them, in the post CELTA world you have to do that so they are merely trying to create situations that mimic real life.
Did anyone ever tell you to run all lessons exactly the same? Use all the techniques all the time you learnt on CELTA? Or maybe do what suits each student and class best?
Regarding being a doctor, it would cost you loads more to train to be a doctor, and quite a bit of reading of books and learning about bones and all that stuff, would you expect to be given ‘a patient with just a little cut’ in the begining to ease you in?
It’s not rocket science but if you want to do a good job at you need to put the effort in.
Finally, on learning grammar, I would sugest you check your use of articles, have a quick look at the first sentence.
I’d imagine it depends on the amount of observed teaching practice. It sounds like you would have had a lot, so if I was you I’d put that on my CV in easy to understand terms for school owners who are only familiar with the CELTA, e.g.
“… hours of observed teaching practice (equivalent to … times the CELTA course)”
Showing any equivalent to a British PGCE or the American equivalent could help as well, I’m guessing
I read through the whole post thinking it was a joke. I can’t think of anyone I did the CELTA with who would have said such things fresh off of CELTA or a year later.
I can’t imagine how someone could get a passing grade while having such thoughts.
I do hope that the writer will find their way to their true calling, it is clearly not teaching EFL/ESL.
But really, this post is just a joke, isn’t it?
I think the author has some valid points as a newbie to TEFL I feel that they have validated my point of not spending the money, time and effort into a course which most people are agreeing is not worth it. As I was relocating to Spain, I did a weekend course and had 2 assessed teaching sessions and was told I was a ‘natural’, I should hope so as I spent most of my working life stood in front of colleagues and customers training or giving explanations in basic english! What is the difference between a teacher and a customer focused staff trainer? One has spent years at University doing subjects which are not in line with the real world and the other is a person who was lucky enough to make it in the real world without alot of debt. I am currently continuing my TEFL based studies by internet so at the end of my studies it will have cost around 500€ and I will have completed the regulatory 120hr study, in addition I have about 2 years full-time teaching experience which I suppose hasn’t always been monitored, but the clients are still paying for ME, to teach them rather than the BSc PGCE qualified teacher I work with who doesn’t have TEFL experience and speaks to all her students in a condescending manner, no doubt taught through her years of studying. Please make your mind up to who is better qualified or employable. I think it is to the individuals choice what route to take, but I feel the opinions of all of you are very one-sided and the questions to raise are. Do you want to teach? Are you prepared to not only teach for an hour, but also prepare materials for another hour without pay? Are you good with people of all ages? Are you a happy, approachable, good communicator with patience? Do you have the passion to succeed? If you answer no to any of these questions, then like the previous person said go and seek another occupation, because teaching is for the ones who want to make it happen for their students. I am in awe of people who are determined to go into further education, for me, it wasn’t an option but I would recommend that if you are a qualified teacher with letters behind your name, to check every now and then you are the person who you say you are and that you don’t lecture the ‘poor unqualified people’ into your way was best, because I personally don’t want your pity just your classes when you make a condescending hash of them.
Further to my previous comments. I do actually work for an academy with a good reputation and clients with the names you would recognise. I am not wanting to upset anyone just to give balance to the people who think their way is right. As Karenne said
“1000 pounds is a lot of money, you’re right about that but maybe it helps wean out the time-wasters, free-loaders and I-don’t-know-what-else-to-do-with-my lifers.”
Is this me? My reason for teaching is I want to help my students to be able to utilise the grammar and writing lessons they did at school and speak and understand native english speakers with confidence and to assist in pronunciation for the university going students I have met along my way, who are embarrased to speak yet they are so highly educated!!
I apologise if my comments are deemed harsh, I agree that anyone can do these courses and which one is the best or the most correct, however I hope we can agree that you have to be of a certain calibre of person, with some education whether recognised or not and have the heart and passion to learn/teach and motivate your students to be taught and better their prospects.
Again I apologise if anyone finds my ‘non-university’ approach insincere.
It’s people like this writer who give the ELT profession a bad name. Because they can speak English, they think they can teach it without putting any effort into it – but being a native English speaker doesn’t mean they are capable of teaching English!
People who just want to go on a “gap year” teaching English abroad are more suited to doing a weekend TEFL course or a short distance-learning course. These courses are cheaper, take less time, and just give you the basics of teaching. CELTA and Cert.TESOL courses are more suited to teachers who want to gain a proper teaching qualification and make a career out of ELT – they are expensive, and take time and dedication to complete, but they are well worth the money, time and effort required.
All teachers – whether highly-qualified or not – should realise that reading books, learning grammar, planning lessons “and stuff like that” is always necessary. To be an effective English Language Teacher you need to understand the language – and that includes the grammar. So if you don’t understand English grammar, don’t teach English!
Whether CELTA, one of the other brand name courses (Trinity, SIT) or one of the generics, it only makes sense that if you’re going to start a career teaching what to your students is a foreign language you should have at least some minimal level of training in the actual process of teaching a language.
I did my course through Coventry House International’s ONTESOL (www.ontesol.ca), which is a 250-hour course recognized by the government of Canada through TESL Canada. The course work was as grueling as any of my college courses (I have a degree in multidisciplinary studies that, in part, includes special education). I especially hated the process of doing lesson plans using a set format and all that stuff about morphology, well, I was almost beginning to think I was pursuing a linguistics degree!
Of course, the most important part of any course is the teaching practicum. It isn’t enough to just learn the theory and the methodology, you have to learn how to put all of that to work in a real classroom setting. It’s no different than what one would expect if one was pursuing teacher licensure in one’s home Anglophone country – except the teaching practicum for the licensure is much more than just those minimum of six hours that is the industry standard in the TEFL industry.
I can see a time coming when those going into TEFL will need the same qualifications they would need to go into ESL in their home countries’ government-run schools.
I did a PGCE a long time ago – so things may well have changed.
I did a total of 5 observed 30 minute lessons during my 3 months in a state secondary school. I did about 15 hours a week of sink or swim teaching, with no help, guidance or resources. None were ‘properly observed’ in the way a CELTA TP should be. One was an extra exam because I was doing badly and had to have an external examiner… I passed and have a PGCE. I never even saw any good demo lessons! Just the regular class teachers doing their crowd control routine!
I learned next to nothing except that I didn’t want anything to do with the UK state school system.
A good CELTA or Trinity Cert will teach you far more about teaching than my PGCE did. I often leave my PGCE off my CV as I don’t want to get labelled as a teenager specialist or asked to teach Maths in English. However, it has on occasion got me extra pay – so it’s not been totally useless.
Like I say – times have changed and PGCEs are more worthwhile nowadays. I wonder if there are holders of both PGCEs and CELTA or equivs who would like to offer an opinion on the difficulty, rigour and value of the various systems.
I know there is more work on a modern Trinity cert than I ever had to do on my PGCE in 1986-7.
Well I have been teaching EFL and academic writing for ten years now with real qualifications (not a CELTA). I did a BA in English with a linguistics minor and an MA in English (emphasis in rhetoric and composition/academic writing). I also took three post-graduate classes in teaching ESL/EFL at the MA level which included over 60 hours of observed teaching. I have taught university in the United States, high school, language schools in Poland, FE college in London etc.
But . . . because I don’t have a CELTA I am not qualified to teach at a summer camp in the U.K. Or at a language school in the U.K.
Hm . . .
I have taught with many 21-25 year old teachers with a CELTA and I suppose it is ok (perhaps better than nothing) but hardly a real academic qualification for teaching English and EFL.
The CELTA is mostly a scam like many language schools are scams! IH is the global leader of the CELTA scam!
I think real teachers should get real qualifications or at least get good professional development and coaching on the job by people with real qualifications. Not a lame 4 week crash course for £1000!
oh and I should add the FE college I work at in London wants to pay for to get a CELTA. They know I am well-qualified but it is a U.K. thing. The government over-regulates and strangles education here.
Still, good teachers keep fighting the good fight!
Seems like a lot of people reading this blog think that Johnathan Swift actually wanted to eat babies, too.
Obviously doing _more_ than a CELTA innoculates you from perception of satire. Those PGCE and above types who think they are so intelligent could really do with a little self-examination… all in my humble opinion, of course…
Incidentally AleX, shouldn’t you haave the right to reply to the comments… snigger…
Dear Trent, I think your modest proposal will go “WHOOSH” over the heads of most here! Having had yet another glass (no teaching but some late season skiing tomorrow) I’ve just read a few more comments and have the giggles again…
PS: sorry for any weissbier typos..
This article seems to have turned into a debate between the “haves” and the “have-nots”! But we need to remember our students – they have the right be taught by a qualified English Language Teacher who is good at his/her job.
You don’t need to have an MA or BA – or even a DELTA or Dip.TEFL – to be a “proper” English Language Teacher. Teachers need to be qualified to teach their subject – CELTA and Cert.TESOL have been tailor-made to train teachers to teach English as a second language. If you want to teach other subjects, or teach in other education establishments, these qualifications are not adequate because they were not designed for this.
Good teachers are not just those with loads of letters after their names. As well as knowledge of their subject, they need to have the in-born ability to stand up in front of a class, deliver their lessons with enthusiasm, and encourage their students to progress. Some people have this ability; others do not.
I might not have an MA, but I am a post-graduate with a Cert.TESOL, and a Certificate in Teaching Business English – all of which have given me adequate academic knowledge and preparation to be a good English Language Teacher. I respect teachers who are more highly qualified than I am, and would be grateful if they gave a little more respect to those of us who are less qualified than they are, but are still qualified to teach our subject, are enthusiastic and good at our jobs.
Well, it’s all very interesting, isn’t it!
I guess what really matters to those who pay to our bosses, and our bosses who then pay us, is whether we can actually teach or not….
What I personally find useful is having a few techniques that keep me comfortably afloat in the classroom, and therefore render my working life enjoyable and reasonably stress free.
It’s the weekend now, so I’m of to enjoy what EFL is really all about – a wander around a part of the world that seems interesting and different from the last place I worked in. ;-)
I did the CELTA and my PGCE in the same year, and if anything sticks in my mind it’s the following:
CELTA: methodology, methodology, methodology – to the exclusion of all else! And was it always the same methodology? Of course it was – PPP, TTT, etc, etc…
PGCE: lots of interesting and educational (but ultimately peripheral and complementary) stuff on ‘the adult learner’, the ‘psychology of learners’, and ‘classroom-based research’, but sweet FA on … how to teach in the classroom!
So, I reckon I’ve had the best of both worlds – if not the worst, too.
Trent wrote: “Seems like a lot of people reading this blog think that Johnathan Swift actually wanted to eat babies, too.”
I hear they’re really good marinated in a cilantro and lime mixture and then grilled.
We’re talking about entry-level qualifications here but it does raise the larger issue of whether any four-week entry-level course can ever really prepare you for the classroom.
Oh dear! If you feel embarrassed to stand in front of a class or prefer to start with an audience of one and work your way through, you should have taken a TKT course instead!
I go with the groups logic thing someone had discussed above, too. How can you forget all the improvisation you need to be a resourceful teacher? And by the way, you didn’t really mean you thought you could go on a working holyday and return a professional teacher, did you?!
First of all, low TTT really works, even in Elementary classes. I used to actually lecture my elementary students, but then my DoS came to me with the TTT<STT formula one day and I gave it a try. The result: marvelous! Students were first a little confused, but then they fell in love with talking independently in groups or as a class (in classes with fewer than 8 student of course). After a month, they were more fluent and error-cautious and a lot more vocabulary had been activated.
Also, you don’t get paid to run a theme park or a kindergarten. You go to class to educate and that does not come in free discussion boards or by giving lectures on what you think of the country. You have to PRESENT, get them to PRACTICE and then make them PRODUCE. Even a warmer needs to be pointed toward that very direction and designed in harmony with the overall goal of the session.
And one more thing; I used to think video sessions and workbook go-throughs are breaks. Now, however, I believe no session is a break. You are supposed to teach even during exams, and that’s something a Cambridge teaching qualification makes you understand. Of course you needn’t have passed a CELTA course to understand that, and I agree that the fee is hefty. A few years of decent classroom experience and elbow grease can give you the same insight.
I am the first to say that I’m not the perfect English teacher
but my students learn real English from me.
Just have fun while delivering a dose of sublimate messages.
Learning can be fun, succes of the students is your succes.
Don’t forget the first teachers taught their students outside under a tree without pc’s and stuff like that.
‘If you’ve backpacked around the world for a few years and want to pretend you’re a real teacher then get a CELTA. You won’t …be able to teach in universities or regular high schools…etc’
Ha this isn’t true in Italy, or at least not in the city where I live. The university finds its language teachers through a ‘concorso’ in which private language schools bid for the yearly or 2-yearly contract. Fewr than 6 months after completing my CELTA equivalent I was teaching the final year, highest-ability group of language degree students. When you think that to teach in an English university one must possess at least an MA/DELTA in teaching, and often even a PhD, the students can get a pretty raw deal (in my case at least: I was a rubbish teacher).
I very easily got a job as a ‘lettrice’ (language assistant-cum-stand in for tired teachers) in the most reputable high school in town. Someone gave the secretary my phone number, I wrote an e mail asking for them to take me on, and the next week I was in the classroom. They literally had no idea who I was or what my qualifications were (not to mention absolutely no security checks or reference needed).
With a CELTA it’s possible to obtain decent jobs but admittedly without any long-term security. I don’t know how anyone can imagine going into a classroom wihout any instruction in the methods of teaching English as a Foreign Language.
celta assessment is dogshit.
Is there a suggestion in there somewhere? How would you go about it?
I’ve no idea about who you are Marcus, so don’t take this the wrong way love, but unfortunately it’s people who are arrogant about not doing an approved certificationn because they are “over qualified,” who inevitably make the most god-awful teachers.
Again, no idea what you do in your classroom and don’t mean to over generalize, however the worst two teachers I ever employed when DOS in Ecuador were the PhD and the MA Applied Linguistics guys. Both could spout a good theory or two, advise us all how the brain worked but they couldn’t share, communicate or teach.
On the flip side, despite what said earlier, had a young girl I hired in a bind who was absolutely fabulous.
Dom simply gave a rat’s and her insecurity about being in a sea of qualified teachers meant she sat hunched over the table long after they were gone, cutting and pasting and making supplementary materials – paying attention to her students wishes and wants.
She didn’t always know the answers to every grammar problem but she’d have no problem telling them that she didn’t then come running in to the staffroom, getting the rest of us to help her out.
No idea what she’s doing nowadays but I reckon if she went on and did her CELTA or CTESOL, she’s one fine and very employed teacher today.
I have been teaching English for the past 5 years around Europen and I do not own
a. A celta
b. A Tefl, Tesol, etc…
c. A degree
However, I do own a big pair of bollocks and some get up and go and lots of grammar books, which is all you need to get by in the…. and also a slightly long nose from all the porkies I-ve been telling….But whatever, I get paid 25 to 30 euros an hour every day in my own living room and also from 60-80euros per hour for the conversationalist EU funded courses in the school !
If you want to make some money from teaching English then get out there and take the clients from the big schools like IH and British Institute. Go on….get stuck in !
Can anyone say something about DELTA? I need some advise on this because I’m planning to do the course.
Hi Mary Jo
Just posted a list of links to stuff by me and others on the DELTA and Trinity Dip
I’ve been reading these messages with interest and from my own experience I would say that a basic TEFL course like the CELTA is essential to do things properly in the TEFL classroom, but more specialised qualifications are needed to teach the more specific classes that university students and most adult learners require.
I travelled round Europe with a very basic RSA (!) EFL Preparatory certificate, which was enough to keep teenagers entertained, but which allowed me to slip into some bad teaching habits (mainly a lack of elicitation). Some stuff I learned for myself, like material preparation and grammar, but I never felt the desire to do a DELTA because I felt you had to be some sort of genius to do so .
I could never do a proper PGCE because I can’t do Maths (really I can’t – I once got 0% for an exam in school and have had a psychological block against it ever since) – despite having a PhD in my subject of English Literature (and of course Language). I did apply to do the Post-Compulsory PGCE on two occasions, but those bastards at the so-called University of Greenwich turned me down – despite my having already having taught GCE English in F. E. colleges without actually having any qualification to do so (they were desparate for teachers).
I recently ‘upgraded’ my teaching qualifications by doing a part-time course in Further Education Teaching at a local FE college, which was all about the ‘social worker’ aspect of the job, but not about actual teaching (or ‘delivering’).
I am actually doing a job at the moment in London which involves a bit of teaching, and although it is designated as a ‘university college’ I am one of the most professionally qualified members of the teaching staff because of my ‘Stage One’ FE Teaching and 25-year-old RSA qualifications. However, what I do in class (a hybrid of IELTS teaching and EAP of my own devising) has little to do with what I learned about teaching and everything to do with trying to get blood out of stones (i.e. getting Chinese and Pakistani students to write a coherent essay).
In the end, it all boils down to having to adapt to particular teaching situations and circumstances and no particular teaching qualification can completely prepare you for that, but it will help you to develop the experience that will help you to adapt to the wierd work situations many teachers end up in.
‘Bye for now,
It seems like you didnt understand what teaching is about or what the course was about. It gives you the tools and structure to be a good teacher. I am a good teacher and had a great CELTA tutor. Most teachers arent very good and China is the bottom of the rung.
I would love to be proved wrong. But at present I think there is a question mark about the CELTA course. We were expected to spend some hours learning another language as part of the course – but this was quite bogus. The teacher spent a few minutes interacting with us in elementary Indonesian. One student dropped out of the course immediately after this. I suspect that the other 5 of us all knew some indonesian and the fact that we could interact with the teacher proved nothing at all.
I would love to be proved wrong. At present I am still hoping to negotiate with Cambridge to get my assessment reviewed. At least by complaining now, I can get to be part of any future legal action if other students are appalled enought at their treatment to want to sue Cambridge.
The assessment was appalling. Fortunately I have tape recordings of some of the practice teaching lessons so I can ask for any negative comments in the assessment to be keyed to specific identified parts of the tape recordings.
I believe that this case may ultimately discredit Cambridge if it is not resolved.
I’m actually thinking about doing CELTA so I could teach English in Vietnam for a year or so before grad school (for Creative Writing).
My greatest concern was that I’d pay the money and complete the class, but then I wouldn’t be able to find a job. How difficult is it to find teaching work after completion of CELTA? If I do well in the class, am I pretty much guaranteed a teaching gig?
Also, a few people mentioned that grammar is taught. I’ve actually been thinking about brushing up on my English grammar… I was wondering how thorough the grammar instruction is. By the end of it, will I have mastered all that “clause” stuff that you learn in high school and then forget?
I’m guessing you are American (by “high school” and the fact that you studied grammar there), which means you will know much more grammar than the Brits on the course, who will know none. However, reading up on bits of grammar you didn’t need to know at school and how to explain it to non native speaking students will be very useful, so ask the CELTA provider you choose or are thinking of to recommend a good EFL grammar book.
If you are willing to travel, you are guaranteed a lifetime of employment as a CELTA qualified teacher
Everything aside, if you want to go to, lets say Japan to teach English. Lets say you are finishing up your undergrad. Well folks, all comments aside, I landed a job here in Japan, a great one, but after that year i ventured off on my own. If you only have undergrad, then before coming to a place like Japan, get a tesol/tefl/celta. It will not hurt. I found a job here in my second year without anything like a tesol so its defintely possible, but make it easier on yourself before you leave your home country, live with the folks and take the month long course before coming here. Having the course will make your resume stand out, actually make it on par, because so many of my friends have tesl equivalents and i currently dont. My contract ends in March, yes its a very short one. So ive done 3 weeks of research, I will say i know what im talking about now. If you are like me, are overseas teaching or dont wanna do the in-person thing and shell out 1000$ or whatever those crazy expensive celtas cost then do an online course. After your undergrad, stay at home, enjoy the summer and do it! Im going for ontesol. Youll find it easy on the net. I found i-to-i to be a loud website, frilly and expensive.
Ontesol seems like the fit for me. One last piece of advice. I agree that you owe it to the students to have knowledge and experience. So come on people, do the 100 hour course at least. Dont try to save 50$ and do the 60 hour one. Be warned, i almost applied for a 60 hour course out of laziness, but just do the 100 hour online, get it, put it in your portfolio and on your resume and enjoy the information you get from it.
I am starting my Master in April 2010 and plan to do the B.ed back home some day. So if some of you lazy people wanna teach overseas without anything more then undergrad (i know some asshats fake their undergrad cert print outs too) then go for it, but you will be hardpressed to find good work as a good teacher who cares about his/her students in a country such as Japan.
Can you actually live and save money in china teaching english with a BA and a celta. Im thinking of packing in my life at my office desk and becoming an english teacher. Always wanted to do my PGCE but never got the time and money?
Should I go for it? Is it possible?
I think he is stop on. I am doing the CELTA and there are some CELTA students are a bunch of jokers. The teachers don’t care cause about the standard of the people teaching. It seems all they care about is £££££$$$$$$.
Also teaching in groups of 13 is not the best option, because of the mixed ability. In my class some students have dropped out.
Finally as the blogger said this thing about TTT is crap etc. Teaching should be fun. Whenever I tried to be creative I am told off. I have to follow the “fascists” rules.
Its a load bull Sh***T I have asked some students on the course to help me. They can’t teach me !!!! And they want to become teachers !!!!!! I knew some people who also did this course. They could not help me with some of the grammar. Everyone has done it for some selfish motive $$$$£££££ and not to empower weaker people .
“That’s all very well for the Pre-Int students on the course, but Elementary students can’t say anything in English, can they?” In my celta course we had a foreign language lesson where the tutor demonstrated nonverbal communication and taught us all a little polish, with none of us having any prior polish experience. Are you a teacher or someone looking for a free vacation?
A timely re-activation of the CELTA/PGCE (what standards/qualifications required?) debate. Unfortunately, such issues will not trouble the good people of IATEFL (International Association for teachers of English as a Foreign Language). They are too busy slapping each other on the back on what a big happy family they are to actually concern themselves with standards and accountability:
Too busy self-eulogising to concern themselves with job losses/pay cuts directly brought about by the incompetence of industry leaders:
Needless to say, if we want to change, we have to organise ourselves to bring it about. This will not be done by having a go at the “naive young (and not so young) things” who sign up for the TEFL adventure promised by Guardian advertorials:
but by aiming our fire at those who profit from the institutionalisation of low-standards.
Some great comments. I’m one of ‘those’ uncertified teachers over here in Asia. I wish I had done a certificate before arriving, but have definitely learned a lot from myself, my students, and other teachers and managers over the years.
I’m leaning towards a CELTA or DELTA, but honestly, wondering about my ROI in terms of time, future earnings, and knowledge gained. I’ve got 6+ years teaching all levels, but now focus on teaching adults.
I have a question for those who completed a CELTA or DELTA after beginning their teaching career: was it worth taking time off from teaching and going back to get certification?
Neil has the problem most of us have. I started teaching in tutorial school without even an O-level. I liked it and I was told I was good at it (lots of lessons and students stayed).
I had to get a degree (governments) and got various PG Dips as well, but never a CELTA. All done part time in the Far East while earning a living. CELTA is for teaching adults, it is to keep administrators and governments happy, and give a bit of confidence to some people wanting a holiday. As a teaching qualification, it is just too shallow and too short – it is of course better than nothing – but so is taking a picture of your Mum to the classroom. It earns a lot of money and air-time for Cambridge and course providers.
I think any teacher would be better off getting a degree and at least a Dip TESOL or similar from a reputable University. These are accepted in most places (except Brunei) whereas a CELTA is feeble outside the country you got it.
You can be a good teacher with no qualifications and do well with private students, but a bachelors/PG Dip ensures an easy life (administratively speaking).
The Thai Government has a mandatory requirement in place for a Bachelor degree, teachers certificate in Thai culture and ethics and certificate of no criminal conviction. I know schools (I mean ‘know’) which employ teachers with criminal records and no qualifications – one, employed by a British manager who likes a tesol certificate.
I think the CELTA is a nice introduction to teaching EFL, but it does not make you a teacher.
I have been working as an EFL teacher for almost 3 years now and have recently decided to go back to university to study a degree in TESOL. I want to learn more about what i am actually doing in the class room, linguistics, methods and everything else that can only be learnt by studying with professionals.
If your serious about wanting to make EFL taching a career, then you have to further your study just like any other profession in this world. you can’t take a first aid course, watch casualty, read a book and expect to become a doctor, so why should it be any different with EFL teaching.
So, for all those ‘CELTA’ reachers out there, who assume that they are brilliant teachers, even though all they have is a few A levels and a 1 month CELTA course, your probably not! but you might have the potential to be…
Yes, you right to a certain level, but CELTA ,TEFL or any other intensive course in teaching really empowers you with class room teaching tools that make the teacher’s job easier.Celta techniques in some classes fail to deliver the desired results,though. However, doing MA in Tesol or Tefl brings you the perfect control on what you are doing, it is sometimes a dream for teachers; either they might be too busy to do it, or simply they can’ afford to get one because courses like these from an accredited universities are very expensive.
Having recently finished a year teaching in Asia at kindergarten level, I can’t help but think that having a celta before I went would have really helped me, and my students, out. I think I did a good job once I settled in and got used to planning lessons and writing reports, marking exams etc but it took a good couple of months for this to all become normal and not terrifying. I’ll be doing a celta soon, just to help me get work in Europe, as it’s not really needed to teach in Asia, although I know standards are being hiked. Good thing. The amount of people I knew in Korea who were supposed to be teachers and spent all their time drunk or hungover, and who stuck their kids in front of Kung Fu Panda all day as an alternative to actual teaching… for some it really is a holiday. Let’s hope the demand for qualified teachers goes up for the sake of the kids otherwise they’ll continue to be “taught” by bored foreigners who are only there to collect their ridiculously high earnings every month and don’t know the difference between’ their’ and ‘there’, anyway…
Whoever cant read the satire and sarcasm is this ‘real’ essay needs to step back, have a smoke, and read it again, because your inability to read read this essay as the intended joke that it is would be worrisome to most intelligent teachers. Especially teachers that teach the english language for a living.
Also, to Johnny, the ‘real english teacher’, you havent the slightest clue of what you speak. You really don’t. And I have my teaching certification.
If you think that having your certification makes you better qualified to teach esl, then your dead wrong for a number of reasons. The first being that it doesnt matter if you can teach english or not. When you work for a language institute, your ethical allegiance is to them, as they are paying you, and your only ethical responsibility is to keep seats filled. If that means effectively teaching english, than so be it. If that means being only entertaining, than so be it. The market will rate your behavior through their continued attendance. Your employer will then keep you on as a teacher, or not, based on your overall effectiveness in keeping butts in the seats. If you idealistically believe differently, then you need to take your baby bottle and sit home because your perspective is that of a child. To say that someone with a CELTA isnt a real teacher makes you sound both naive as well as not very intelligent. On a more subjective level, I have seen experienced people without either a CELTA or a certification teach circles around people with both. So take your higher than thou childishness, sit home and stick it up your ass. OR grow up, go to work, stop worrying about and judging others and improve everything about your life.
God help those self-important teachers of English who can’t recognise (oh sorry: R-E-C-O-G-N-I-Z-E) satire when they read it! Try looking at the context before you decide the writer’s contention, and indeed the publisher’s intention.
This is SATIRE.
Look CELTA was tough but that is why it is so in demand. Sure, tough program but like one of the other writers said, it separates the sheep from the goats. I’ve done TEFL after CELTA and TEFL was a joke in comparison. So why not just go for the course with the most value. At CELTA they always reiterated to use the knowledge according to the students’ needs. They just give you the best possible knowledge possible in 4 weeks so that you can make the best decisions for yourself. You’ll be shooting yourself in the foot if you choose TEFL over CETLA.
Your story just doesn’t add up. There’s no such thing as “TEFL”, and if you mean you did a TEFL certificate from another organisation, why on earth would you need to do that if you already had the CELTA??
“Why don’t they just make it shorter and cheaper?” LOL
CELTA is awesome… definitely the best course out there. the guy who wrote this is obviously a moron…
Well, I’m trying to decide whether to pay the money for the CELTA. I’ve been teaching English for over 2 years now without a qualification but when I asked at the British Council about work I was told that without a CELTA I wouldn’t be considered. So I want to take the course. However, I am very concerned about the workload. Is it really that bad? some things in the original message rang true for me as a teacher. About what “really” works in the class. Basically, I’m kind of scared. Any advice?
Geraldine, maybe the best place to start is with your own physical fitness and capacities. With the one-month course, you may have to perform and keep calm with cumulatively less and less sleep. Can you deal with that? I couldn’t. I wish I had done a longer course.
Then you need to look at where you are going to do it. It is a uniform course, with standardised delivery, however, the culture of the institution surely influences how you cope with the course. A crack university city campus with all mod-cons and a reputation for high academic rigour will NOT offer the ‘don’t worry, be happy’ message that a course delivered in tropical paradise might. Think about that. Which institutional culture are you most likely to succeed in?
Now I know that the extra time would have made the difference for me, given I had to do it in an academically excellent (unchilled, intimidating,competitive) environment. Shop around. Meet the tutors. And speak to graduates of the course if you can.You are the consumer.
A hint – you may want to hide the fact that you have taught, if you can, on your CV. In my course, it was noticeably those with experience who struggled more, got less help, had different expectations from some tutors, raged, dropped out or failed. With a tutor who expects – or possibly prefers – tabula rasa students – your experience (of non- CELTA teaching) is a fly in the ointment.
Don’t be afraid to research the Trinity Cert. TESOL either. They are both highly regarded and internationally-recognised. Like McDonalds vs Burger King/Hungry Jack’s, really!
Hope this helps you in some way.
I have just returned from Spain where i taught TEFL for 3 years and also completed an online TEFL theory course of 120h. I also have a PGCE, albeit in PE.
However, it seems from comments here that to work in the UK i need to get the CELTA or am i mistaken?
If so, without wishing to sound arrogant will this course provide me with further required skills needed for the UK market or will i be basically lobbing out a grand (im a bit poor at the moment too) for a licence to work.
Does anyone have any advice or suggestions in regard to what might be the best course of action in these circumstances?
I think there is a real question about whether the CELTA course itself is a scam. I queried my result but was only able to get replies which rubber stamped the original decision.
This could eventually damage the name of Cambridge University if it is not resolved.
@ Andy – if you want to teach in an English-speaking country – you need it.
So I’ve been teaching in Tokyo, Japan for 2 years now, Ive never taking a cert course or anything and Ive done just fine. My question is, this one company that im going to try and start working for is asking for a cert, although the work will be easier than the work im doing now. So, can anyone list the things that are covered throughout the CELTA courses so i can BS my way through the interview if they ask about it?
I am literally days away from applying for the intensive four week CELTA course, but I’m having serious doubts. I am aware that there will be a lot of work involved and it will probably be very stressful, but I am more worried about the fact I have never taught anything in my life and feel incredibly daunted by that prospect alone! I know it may seem stupid of me to even consider this course since it is all about teaching, but at first I though it would be a good challenge (albeit an expensive one) and I hoped it might help with my confidence and independence. After reading these comments however, I am worried my lack of experience will be to my detriment. I have a BA in English and since graduating I haven’t found any relevant work and I have reached the end of my tether in my current uninspiring, boring, non stimulating job. When I heard about the CELTA course I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn a valuable skill that I could use to help others and experience life in another country. (not as a holiday of course, but as a new career).
I don’t know what to do any more!! Should I take the chance and spend all that money on something I may not even be able to complete because of silly stage-fright? Or do I forget about it and miss an amazing opportunity?
Sorry for the rambling in this post, I’m just at a cross-roads and would greatly appreciate some advice.
Recommendation: Find someone you know who is willing to be a guinea pig and volunteer to teach them something. Anything. Next: Find a few friends and volunteer to teach all of them something. Anything. Hate the experience? Find a different profession because you won’t like teaching a class full of people who aren’t your friends.
I love teaching. It is the most challenging, rewarding, and interesting profession I can imagine. I love the fact that every day is different & a learning experience.
I worked in NYC for three years as a fully certified teacher using my credentials from the University of British Columbia. There are lots of cross-certification examples like this. If you really want to go into teaching, take the 4 year degree. A four week course, while better than nothing, is NOT going to prepare you properly for teaching.
Thank you for your reply and advice. Whilst I haven’t really “taught” anyone before, I have shown friends how to do things in the past and I do remember feeling a sense of accomplishment when they were able to understand what I showed them. I know it will be a challenge but I suppose I won’t really know if it’s the right option for me until I try it.
If you have any other advice or information I would be grateful for it!
Thanks again :-)
I am 2 weeks away from finishing my CELTA course done over 6 months alongside a job, it cost £700 and I think a good investment. It was very challenging, hard work but very interesting. I have no background in teaching and went into it not knowing whether I’d like it or not, fortunately found I did.. the sense of satisfaction when you feel you are passing on knowledge. I know it’s just a starting point and I’ve still got heaps more to learn but I reckon it’s given me the basic tools to go forward & not make a total fool of myself. I can’t wait to unleash myself on the world, and no, I don’t view it as a holiday but an opportunity to experience life abroad while doing something useful.
“No one tells you about having to prepare lessons, read books, learn grammar and stuff like that.”
I can’t believe they made you do that kind of stuff.
When I did mine, we just hung out all day having a laugh.
I did CELTA for 2 weeks and hated every moment of it. What a joke! The course was laden in politics with a teacher who gave good marks to females who had clearly failed to teach an appropriate class lesson and average marks to males who were actually teaching far better classes. That in itself is a disgrace and CELTA needs to begin to manage the politics that are so often displayed in their less than professional teaching. I recently priced CELTA in Paris and the course is 1,500 Euros. Here’s the thing, I can do a ‘real’ teaching Masters externally at an Australian University for $5,400. The course is 1.5 years, but at the end you are actually qualified with a University Qualification that will be taken seriously and a qualification that does enable you to teach at the highest standards. BTW – I live in Paris. CELTA isn’t worth a thing here unless you have numerous years of teaching experience. CELTA is good for Asia where people often don’t want to work and perhaps where the locals don’t understand that quality of teaching does not occur when someone has completed a 4 week course. Then, of course, in many of these countries you simply need to have a Uni degree (any degree) to be qualified to teach. On the other hand MA TESOL is highly regarded in France and work is guaranteed (I was offered work having only begun the degree). In fact in France CELTA is held in such low regard that many English schools (including the better ones e.g. BabySpeak etc) run their own teaching courses to ensure quality. In conclusion: I’m now studying my MA TESOL. It’s superb! Real theory and real best practice teaching principles and a real qualification. CELTA, I do not recommend to anyone other than those looking for a low income job in an Asian country.
DON’T do the CELTA in Brussels, I have heard negative feedback about this fledgling ‘centre’. It’s basically a one woman show with a questionable take on assessment, especially with regards to objectivity (but I have read a lot of centres are like this). As a teacher that has gone down the PGCE route, I don’t question that the course is demanding and hard work, (it would have to be to cover what needs to be covered) but I do agree that the experience (however gruelling) doesn’t necessarily equip you to teach. From what I’ve been told the method (and according to CELTA there is only one method!) is very formulaic and could become tedious and a little patronising if used all the time. I also agree with the comments on the IH and CELTA scam.
So in other words, you don’t know what you are talking about.
Is that comment directed at me or Alex? If it is to me, then yes, I think I do. A lot of research, friends responses and my own experience of not CELTA but Trinity has led me to make, what I think is a well informed decision. With regards to the Brussels ‘centre’ if people want to spend their money on something like a CELTA I would advise going to a well established centre in order to ensure they get the best possible experience.
I agree that some centers are probably better than others, but all of them still have to meet minimum standards. Sounds to me like you probably run a course that completes with the CELTA and/or IH.
“It’s basically a one woman show…” – doesn’t the CELTA usually require two trainers for a course?
“a questionable take on assessment, especially with regards to objectivity…” Says who? There are multiple assessments evaluated by different trainers and only a participant on the course would actually know — that would certainly be privileged information.
From what I’ve been told the method (and according to CELTA there is only one method!) is very formulaic and could become tedious..” Currently, CELTA courses are available at over 286 centers in 54 countries. Perhaps you could provide us with a link to one of those that discusses anything called the ‘CELTA Method’?
Exactly my point, some centres are better than others. I have heard (and read) from different sources about the massive difference in standards when it comes to CELTA centres. Your suspicions are incorrect I’m afraid – I do not run a course in Brussels (or anywhere near Brussels for that matter – I have nothing to gain in that respect). I run a charity for teenagers and adults (all in some way or another in financial crisis), teaching them English and other life skills. As far as I’m aware there are no other CELTA training courses or equivalent in the whole of Belgium. I do however have a lot of experience with teachers and listen with interest to their teacher training experiences (from varied backgrounds – not jut CELTA). I will accept CELTA applicants but know that it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a ‘standard’ so to speak, not one that can be relied upon any way. But how can any four week course, however intensive, supply a person with adequate knowledge on such a broad and varied subject?
‘Meeting standards’ you say – yes well who could ever say anything against an institutions standards…? As I have been told time and time again, and from my own experience of Trinity years ago – assessment can not be objective (enough) if the same person teaching is also the same person giving the overall appraisal at the end. Endless arguments have been in favour of this position as well as against it.
With regards to ‘the method’ – you speak to any teacher trained through CELTA on their teacher training and they will outline the same thing – and then they will probably go on to say that they very rarely use it!
The CELTA machine is a very well respected one – and I am not totally against it – but does that mean it should never be questioned?
Sure things can be questioned and I’m glad that people do. I also think that Trinity and SIT TESOL offer some good courses as far as TEFL certs are concerned — and those are certainly two alternatives worthy of consideration.
Based on your comments, it seems that you prefer Trinity over the CELTA and I’m curious as to what you see as the main differences (if any) when comparing the two? As you know, the British Council considers them equivalents. One could also take that to mean ‘Don’t do the CELTA’ and ‘Don’t do the Trinity’. I’m sure that the Trinity centers vary as much as CELTA centers do, which is not to say that any of them are bad. Some differences are simply human nature. A teacher trainer can 8 years of experience or 18.
They may well be equivalents but I don’t favour one of them more than the other. I couldn’t, knowing how varied the outcome in standard is and knowing that with both courses you have the same flaw – mentioned above. Back when I first encountered Trinity I didn’t particularly understand the assessment system, but I just sensed an unfairness, not necessarily towards me, but on the whole. A Master’s in educational research has given me a wider scope for understanding. Despite them being very similar courses – CELTA has the upper hand when it comes to reputation. It’s the backing from Cambridge that will swing it every time. I think the whole assessment procedure needs to change. It would cost a lot of money and a lot of centres may well have to close down. It’s not in CELTAs interest to do this. So they won’t.
So what is it that you don’t like about the assessment procedure ? The failure rate on the CELTA is, in fact, around 3 percent.
What do you like about it? Do you think there are areas that could be improved? What do you think that percentage rate tells us about CELTA?
You’re the one saying don’t do the CELTA because of assessment. So why is that?
It seems as though you just want to question me and not give any answers/opinions yourself. I have briefly outlined my concerns with the assessment procedure. You stated the failure rate percentage and I’m asking you what you think that tells us? You also state that there are minimum standards and I’m asking you whether you agree that they are sufficient and whether you think areas could be improved upon?
My opinion of whether or not it could be improved is irrelevant, because I’m not here saying don’t do the CELTA and you’ve answered my question with more questions. I happen to think that a lot of programs could be improved, including some PGCE, MA and doctoral programs. But again, that’s very different from telling people to stay away from a course or ‘don’t do’ one?
Maybe I’m missing something, and forgive me if I am, but don’t see a specific ‘outline’ of assessment there. So again, what are your specific concerns about assessment? It’s not clear to me.
I back you up 100%. CELTA is a whirl wind 4 weeks, with little time to ‘digest’ and reflect. As the principal of large ESOL centre I can vouch for the inability of the CELTA trainee to walk into a classroom an hold their own. CELTA trainees tread water for months on end!
The best teachers qualification out there is the City and Guilds ACE Course (Access Certificate in English Language Teaching). At our Centre we have noticed time and time again, that ACE teachers can walk straight out of training into any classroom!
Took me one second on your site to see you’re not an unbiased observer. Also, it’s a spoof!
I have been an IELTS teacher for the past 8 years, I took my CELTA in January 2011 in Toronto. For me CELTA was an amazing experience, something I can’t even describe properly. I am not a native English speaker, I have learned English all by myself and I have always been looking for ways to teach better. During my teaching experience I have tried to write syllabi, changed them over time, but when I passed CELTA, it was a new world, a totally new horizon. The course itself was a shock, that is no doubt. But retrospectively, when you look at it you realize how useful it is in the real world of teaching English. Having a methodical teaching is something we should never scape from and CELTA adds method to everyone’s teaching. Anyway, for me the angel is totally different from the starter of this post. I loved it, I loved the teachers, I loved the syllabus and I believe that the intensity of the course was a real challenge, I felt just like I was bunji jumping, the only difference was the length of the thrill.
I just completed the CELTA course and:
– I lost so much sleep over it I thought I was going to collapse
– It was hard work
– I couldn’t believe how stressful it actually was, even after all the warning
– I made amazing friends
– I had two great, impartial, overworked, hardworking tutors who went out of their way to give us a hand and support us.
– I finally realized how bad of a teacher I actually was. And I’m not just one more brainwashed sheep, but when I started practicing what I was being taught in the input lessons… everything just sort of came together.
– I do believe they could try to make the written assignments directions clearer
– I also think they could devote some teaching practice to elementary level, instead of A2
– I absolutely think that if you want to go into teaching, previous experience or not, this type of course is the way to go.
– Please, go to a highly certified centre to do so. Go to the British Council, International House, do some research online and see if they’re worth it. One of my tutors was a woman with 20 plus years of experience, and her next assignment was to go to GENEVA, of all places, to set up a CELTA training centre.
I agree with Michelle. The CELTA course was a whirlwind of ‘knowledge stuffing’ that practically passed me in the blink of an eye. If you don’t have any kind of teaching experience before the course–you will find it very difficult to keep up with their methodology. I spent most of my time pushing through stress soaked days and fighting sleepless nights. All my time was spent writing lesson plans and assignments. Each day I was executing the plans one after another– red eyed and exhausted. Input sessions were a blur because of the lack of sleep and each second was a fight against the clock to get ahead. What I can say about the celta was that it fully prepared me for working life. On the other hand however, post experiences on the course led me to feel that deep down I am perhaps not cut out to be a teacher even though I was handed the certificate.
Don’t do the full-time CELTA course if you have no experience of teaching. They assess you from the start and you have to conform to their fascistic way of teaching or else.
Basically they just want your money; it’s a business and once they’ve got your money they don’t give a flying f*ck how you do.
I’m a primary teacher (PGCE) with 20 years’ classroom experience. I’m just coming to the end of my CELTA, and I’m very impressed. Although I always got great grades for my lesson observations back in school, I’ve learned even more doing this course. I’ve also enjoyed every minute of it!
With regard to the stress and lack of sleep – yes, it IS hard, but what you’re getting is a years’ worth of input crystallised into a few short weeks. You just have to concentrate on the end result and battle your way through it.
If you’re worried about the workload, and looking for a course in England, try to find one which spreads the work over six weeks if you can. Even better if it’s six weeks with half term reading week in the middle.They do exist. Good luck!
Well, it was certainly interesting reading the article and all the comments. I have a few additional points to throw into the fray.
Firstly, CELTA (and any other equivalent qualification) is, in my opinion, better than 95% of any degrees in education out there if all you want to do is teach English. The reason I think this is because many of the degree programmes require a silly amount of theory, without much practice to actually impliment what is learnt into a lesson. The lessons themselves that are assessed are generally over-optimistically graded. I’ve seen, worked with and trained many teachers who have done these degrees and MAs, passed with distinction for their lessons, but can’t perform in the lesson and don’t take well to feedback about ways for them to develop. CELTA gives you a beginning base on which to build. Also, if you then go on to further qualifications, the CELTA gives you a good platform from which you can build on if you wish to persue a diploma (e.g. DELTA); that’s where you will see a difference in both status and pay. I cannot imagine even signing up for a diploma without a good certificate qualification.
Secondly, it always angers me when people go into teaching because they think it will be like a holiday and unbelievably simple. Yes, it is easy (if you don’t care about your learners, their futures, their needs, their satisfaction, the business, your own sense of achievement when they pass an exam, or get a promotion, or have a fantastic holiday where they speak to others in English, the list goes on), but surely any decent human being is not that selfish?
Basically, what I’m saying is if you only are looking out for yourself, not bothered about others, and you have a degree you can easily get by in ESL/EFL. But look back at when you were at school and think about all the teachers who were crap, didn’t give a monkey’s, and didn’t think about their students. What do you think of those people? Do you want to be tarnished with the same brush?
Source – Currently studying for PhD in Applied Linguistics (focus on teacher training and development), MA in Applied Linguistics (with TESOL specialisation), DELTA trainer, over 20 years international experience in Middle East, China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Poland, UK, France, Canada and Australia
I thought this article was a joke when I first started reading!
“Why don’t they give us Advanced students we can actually chat to at the beginning of the course- that’s got to be an easier way into it? Or, we could get our students watching a video for one of the lessons to give us a break. Or maybe start our lessons with just one student and then work our way up.” ?!?! That’s not the REAL WORLD, that’s not how classes work. If you can’t handle the CELTA course, then you can’t (and shouldn’t) be in charge of an actual classroom. Wouldn’t you be pissed if you paid so much for a course that teaches you how to push play on a video??
I completed my CELTA course a year ago in Milan and I really enjoyed it at the time and it has been really useful in my teaching experiences since then. I was hesitant to take it in the first place, but I realize looking back that I was NOT prepared to teach before the CELTA. Of course it is a bit rigid at times, and some of the points are exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness (instruction checking, no use of tables in the classroom, etc), but nevertheless it gave me a great foundation to branch off of with my own class. I believe the CELTA is for people who actually want to teach, and enjoy it. It is A LOT of work, it’s intense (which is something my school made very clear at the beginning) and a bit expensive (1800 Euros) but to me it has been worth it. I had two great instructors too, and I’m sure that makes a world of difference.
If you’re looking to get certified “for fun,” or as a sort of career backup, go for a cheaper TEFL alternative.
ALSO: It’s absolutely disgusting to think that there are people out there thinking that ESL teaching is simply a way to see the world for free or a “working holiday.” You’re teaching real PEOPLE, who either really want or NEED to learn English.
Most of the classes I teach are hard-working professionals, who pay hundreds of Euros a month to come to my class after work, in the evening. They’re exhausted, hungry, and just want to be at home with their families.
I’m not just getting paid for the two hours I am with them, there are hours and hours of work behind each lesson. Yes, including planning lessons, researching, checking homework, knowing my grammar inside and out, and this includes *GASP* actually having to read books sometimes! Oh, the horror!
If you want to be lazy, pick a career in which your laziness isn’t affecting other people’s lives! Cheers!
What a dick. “It’s stressful having to stand in front of a class and teach”?! Why the chuff did you apply to TEACH English then?!?!
I think the article is hilarious. Can no one see it for the satire that it so clearly is?
CELTA is not something you need. The people who have it and really enjoyed the 4 week training program were favorites of the instructors. Well, let me tell you, all these instructors are interested in is maintaining the brit dominated business of english teaching (as far as international house).
The curriculum is old fashioned, much like the school CELTA get’s its name from. They don’t like new ideas and they don’t appreciate anybody with too much ambition. My theory is that international house is more interested in playing silly word games (fun, but pointless) than actually turning beginners into capable english speakers. Obviously they won’t need to continue coming to (and paying for) classes when they get to that point.
I couldn’t believe how incapable of expressing themselves the “advanced” group was. They couldn’t converse – doing odd grammatical tasks in the textbook suited them better. When I tried to get them to write, I found the instructors beginning to disapprove of my methods. Well, these “advanced” students could barely write at all.
Some of these “advanced” students had been taking lessons for more than a decade! What kind of “school” is this? One that would rather play stupid games with their students then teach them evidently. AND charge way too much for a crap “training” program.
If you are wondering if CELTA could turn you into a good english teacher, and you’re under the impression that international house is a great institution, please save your money. It’s a factory whose product is pointless activities from the textbook taught by a freshfaced monkey.
If you are any good at turning beginners into english speakers, go freelance.
If you want to play games and hold back students from getting anywhere, go work for international house.
Well James, with real opinions like johnson’s it is difficult to work out what is and isn’t satire…
Yes, I suppose that is true. However johnson’s comment also gave me a chuckle… “pointless activities from the textbook taught by a freshfaced monkey” lol
I have not completed a CELTA/DELTA course as yet. Sadly, it appears that not many of you have completed one either. With few exceptions, your grammar is atrocious. Perhaps some study of an English grammar text book might be advantageous before considering teaching to students who don’t speak English in the first place…..
Another comment that is beyond parody…
I have been accepted on a CELTA course in Manhattan, starting real soon. I haven’t paid yet. I know it will be challenging and exciting and will open up new possibilities for me. I have no previous teaching experience but want to move in that direction. I mean, what I aim to get out of it is a job, a job I know I will be under qualified for even with a CELTA cert. I have found the variety of comments posted helpful but I was wondering if anyone knew what the job market and starting salaries are like in New York, or indeed whether employers seek teachers with more work experience than solely that done on a CELTA course.
We all have to start somewhere.
Cambridge seems to have a monopoly on the TEFL world, similar to McDonald’s. When I do my TEFL dip, I’ll be going with Trinity instead.
I can see that you have not idea of what teaching is, I hkave a question. Did you pass the CELTA?? You got a PASS or a FAIL because with that attitude i don’t think you got a good grade.
Of course you have to read and study, it’s a course!!! You do not have people to chat with because you are a teacher and you have to TEACH them!! you’re not there to be the psychologist, I think you really need to learn more!!1 BTW, are you American?? No offense to anybody
It’s really interesting to see such different opinions on this. I taught English for about 2 years before I did the CELTA and can see the argument from both sides. On the one hand, doing the course made me look at everything from a completely different perspective and this has had a huge effect on the way I teach and plan my lessons.
I don’t know how long it would have taken me to gain some of the skills I learnt on the CELTA if I hadn’t taken the course.
However, I do realise that there are many other teachers who do a fantastic job without qualifications such as the CELTA or Cert Tesol. It all comes down to experience and the fact is that while CELTA does prepare you for life in the classroom, it doesn’t teach you how to deal with difficult questions or students! It doesn’t teach you how to put a course together either, but then you really can’t expect a 4-week course to do that.
I think it’s like what they say about learning to drive – the real work starts when you’re out there on your own and learning what works and what doesn’t, and this includes grammar!
Something else that some of you have also touched on: there’s a hell of a lot of academic snobbery in this business that we really don’t need. So many people lose out on jobs because they haven’t got letters after their names. So many “Drs” get jobs regardless of their field – some of them have no idea how to teach but will be given priority over other graduates or experienced teachers. This has to change.
Greetings. I have read the comments on this forum with a great deal of interest. I am planning on taking the CELTA course in Milan (trying to decide between Cactus and IH), but of course this discussion has raised some questions.
First of all, I am a 65 year old American woman, about to retire, and would like to move to Italy for a year. I have a master’s degree in a medical field, I have taught specific technical classes, but I have no formal teaching experience. I don’t intend to teach in a school, but rather I would like to be available to friends in Italy who wish to learn English, and I would like to be able to give them quality instruction, even in an informal setting.
My question is, will this class present me with the skills for this type of teaching? I realize it is an expensive program, and a lot of what I will learn I may never use, but I want to give my students the best I can in what may be their first exposure to English.
I also thought that by taking a class about teaching, I could learn something about how adults learn which might help my own studies of Italian.
Thank you for your help.
I agree with the comments above about the CELTA being a scam. Sadly, one that’s being underwritten by Cambridge.
What a shame that kids all over the world subject themselves to this pathetic teaching technique, and never really get more than a basic grasp on the English language under their belt.
This is nothing more than a business. A money-making scam, not overly interested in teaching their guinea pigs, or bothered about what sort of “teacher” they let loose on classrooms. Trust me, some wouldn’t last 5 minutes in a real school, such is their level of arrogance and incompetence. But that’s not going to stop them becoming “CELTA” certified.
As a brand, it’s a joke. I could never recommend to anyone to do the CELTA, as it will eventually prove to be hindrance in finding work.
So if CELTA is a scam and so are online/weekend type courses (itoi, teflexpress, etc.) then what is the right path to go down? I know I want to teach English abroad and am about to start a CELTA but I really don’t want to waste my money if it’s the wrong way to go about things. Advice appreciated
Simple Matt, do whichever one you feel most comfortable with, after carrying out sufficient due diligence. Just don’t – ever – do the CELTA. :)
None of these “qualifications” are internationally accredited. Some may be more widely accepted than others, but that’s not to say that any one of them will get you in to a particular school/region. There’s a reason why most job notices say “CELTA/TRINITY/TEFL equivalent”…it’s because they’re all as good/bad as each other.
Other than training up as a proper teacher at a internationally recognised university, you’re doing little more than a commercial “trade course”, of no more than a few weeks in duration (and usually just for the purpose of getting an extended visa somewhere).
Ask yourself, would you put the education of your own children in to the hands of a CELTA-trained “teacher”? Not likely. So why anyone would think that doing the course makes them any more qualified is beyond me.
CELTA is just more towards the bad end of the scale, as far as being a scam and a rip off, for many reasons (google is your friend, they’re well documented). There’s nothing wrong with doing a course, going to a developing country and helping kids to grasp some conversational English, but you’re not becoming a “teacher”. So just have some fun with it.
But if you drop anymore than $150 on an online TEFL course, you’re wasting your time and energy. There’s not one single thing that a CELTA course offers that you’ll either use in the real world, or that will stand you apart of “itoi, teflexpress, etc” path.
The original piece is quite clearly a spoof of the attitudes of most people who slag off the CELTA, and anyone who is unable to spot that or then goes on to agree with the ridiculous views in the original piece (“It’s no fun, and there are loads of jobs in China you can get without it.”), e.g. Sam Hefron, should not be listened to at all.
You’re welcome to your opinion Alex, and I would have preferred you extend me the same courtesy, but so be it. The trusth of the matter, *in my opinion*, is that the CELTA “is no fun”, and that there are loads of jobs all over the world that you can get without it.
So the fun part may be up to the individual (though watching very experienced teachers with 8+ years of teaching English as a second/foreign business language, lose all of their motivation (and some of their marbles) by doing a pathetic CELTA course leads me to believe that it’s a load of rubbish. YMMV.
As far as it being any more beneficial to an individual, that it isn’t is obvious. A certain school may prefer it, though it would be their loss not to take applications from others with a broader base of experience in to consideration.
Show me one working visa that stipulates that a CELTA is any more likely to meet its criteria, than any other onsite/online TEFL certificate. Okay…Russia wont give a work permit to a potential teacher who has only done an online certificate. But since you can do the CELTA online now, and “Cambridge CELTA Course Online leads to exactly the same certificate as the face-to-face CELTA”, it’s just as useful/useless as any other certificate may be in any given situation.
You can’t teach in an Australian school with a teaching degree from certain countries. You can’t practice law in the US with an Indian law degree (though that doesn’t stop the yanks from out-sourcing the boring stuff back to India to save a few dollars). What makes you think the education of our children should be treated any differently?
None of these bits of paper (CELTA/Trinity/TEFL) are any better than the rest. They’re a means to an end, and one that’s usually motivated by little more than a yearning to travel extensively, not become an educator.
So, you are admitting that you failed to spot that the original piece is a spoof and that you are actually agreeing with the opinions in it?
Despite the name, CELTA Online is a blended course with observed teaching practice. Observed teaching practice is the most valuable part of any course, meaning it is truly online courses which are almost useless.
As I said above, obviously having a PGCE or equivalent would be better but who has a year and 5000 pounds to spare? Cambridge also agree that CELTA is only an introduction, that is why it is called a TEFL-I qualification. Anyone teaching for more than two or three years should obviously then go on to do the Delta or Trinity Dip and/ or an MA. I wouldn’t recommend a pre-experience MA, especially one with no observed teaching practice.
Some of the responses to this piece of satire demonstrate how may egotists there are in this profession. There are two main kinds of egotist here; the unqualified and the really unqualified.
First, let’s deal with the unqualified egotists. There are those with a PGCE, MA Linguistics, MA Education, who would be paid far more than your average TEFL teacher in some parts of the world, purely out of respect for their academic competence or knowledge of subject matter. They would no doubt say of themselves that they are highly qualified, and indeed they are. What is lost in this argument, is that speaking, writing and understanding English is a practical skill; moreover, so is the teaching of it. I am sure that individuals with the above qualifications could write a perfectly good essay, explain to or teach another native peaker about the ins and outs of their subject, but does anything in the PGCE or MA Linguistics/Education actually teach how to communicate with non-native speakers? Does it help them figure out ways to ‘show’ students complex grammar structures and functions, without a lengthy ‘explanation’ that will go largely or wholly understood? Does it show these individuals how to stage lessons and how to relate language and function to learners’ personal experience and needs? How to pace a class? How to aid retention? How to grade their language? Concept check? From my personal experience of observing people who only have PGCE’s and MA’s (but no CELTA) in the classroom, the answer is a resounding NO. So, these are the highly qualified, yet sadly unqualified for the job types, some of whom think they know it all. They may eventually morph into good EFL teachers with practice, humility and diligence, but, there is no way this can be guaranteed, especially as they are deemed ‘qualified’ by many institutions.
The second unqualified type of egotist is the ‘really unqualified’ egotist. This is the type who thinks he/she can teach by virtue of being a native speaker, even if they can barely spell and haven’t written a decent essay in years, if ever. There are some naturals out there, but, nowhere near as many as would make the claim. Again, it is possible to morph into a good EFL teacher with practice, humility and diligence, but again, there is no guarantee. This type of teacher may coast through life in South Korea, Thailand or other places willing to hire without qualifications, by virtue of their personality and ability to entertain, or by showing videos. However, the fact remains, they are barely worth their salt in terms of how much the students learn, especially compared to those with a professional, practical TEFL qualification.
So what about those who are CELTA qualified? Frankly, the CELTA should sort out the wheat from the chaff. It is indeed an ‘introductory’ course, however, does it succeed in producing people who can competently do the job? For me, the answer is no. The answer is no because ‘the job’ is a whole profession, covering all levels and types of English and the CELTA is just a toe in the water. At best it could be used to denote a ‘trainee teacher’. Not only is it just a ‘toe in the water’ but it is also taught with such variations in quality and integrity as to make it a very dubious choice of ‘standard’.
Some of the drawbacks of using CELTA as an industry standard are that there is not a sufficiently standardised screening process for those who wish to take the course. I have seen CELTA ‘qualified’ candidates who have social problems so severe that I wouldn’t stand next to them in a bus queue, much less let them run a classroom. Also, some ‘qualified’ individuals are lonely, deluded, egotists who belive that ‘any activity’ in English can be called a class and who, since they are ‘qualified’ and not required to prove themselves further, refuse to develop and progress. This leads to stagnation, poor quality classes and, worse, poor expectations. This variation in the standard required to qualify is down to unscrupulous ‘businesses’ who are incognisant of the fact that they are undermining the future of their own industry.
So, what would convince me, for sure, were I hiring from outside my country, that I were hiring the ‘real deal’, a proper, high quality purveyor of outstanding English classes? In my experience that single qualification would be the DELTA (or it’s agreed equivalent the Trinity Dip TESOL). It is simply not possible to emerge from either one of these courses with the qualification, without being highly professional, highly practically skilled and with a very good grounding in the academic knowlege required to do the job and you are highly unlikely to be the kind of ‘nutcase’ one may encounter at CELTA level. This course should be the industry standard if one wishes to be referred to as a qualified TEFL teacher, able to perform any aspect of the job. I have never met a DELTA qualified teacher who was anything but excellent at his/her job.
Sadly, many courses now take place at universities who have cottoned on to the financial benefits of providing Pre-sessional English courses for international students whose English skills weren’t quite up to scratch. This in turn lead to a need to recruit staff to teach this intensly PRACTICAL skill in a purely academic setting. A Phd Linguistics professor who had never taught a day of EFL in his life once explained to me that he couldn’t hire a TEFL teacher to work in a university as it would discredit the university. For this reason, suitably qualified TEFL teachers, who had the skills to do the job, would now have a further hoop to jump through: The MA TESOL/Linguistics. “One can get credit for one’s DELTA and skip the TESOL part of the course”, he explained, “but one must also demonstrate ‘academic’ competence.” Apparently a First Class Honours, a DELTA and several years experience were not enough to demonstrate the combination of intellect and practical skills to do the job. This further hoop provides yet more revenue for the university in terms of MA fees, and is yet another financial burden on the professional individual in what, we must conceed, is a shockingly underpaid profession for any but those who refuse to develop. The emergence of this MA TESOL has also lead foreign employers, mostly universities, to ‘require’ it, even preferring it over the DELTA, partly because Cambridge failed to promote the DELTA sufficiently for foreign employers to understand and value it for what it is. Cambridge may/will regret this negligence in the years to come as it is slowly edged out of relevance by the MA TESOL, which will eventually include Observed Teaching Practice as standard, if universities have any buisiness acumen at all.
Given all the above, what DOES an aspiring TEFL teacher do? Well, if you want the tools to do your job, do a CELTA then work in an institution which will help you progress to do your DELTA. When that is accomplished, if you actually want to be sure of getting a job, do an MA TESOL/Linguistics. If you are just starting out now, perhaps you will qualify in time for the TESOL Phd to have eclipsed the MA, so you should budget for that too. And, O budget, because despite a pitifully low wage, you’ll be paying for all this professional development yourself.
Maybe do a CELTA, maybe not, but go to Thailand and show Wallace and Grommitt videos/ juggle/ indulge in visual comedy/ tell your life story for a few years, while ripping of your students, before you finally grow up and get a proper job.
Sam, you said the CELTA “will eventually prove to be hindrance in finding work”, but it is by far and away the number one entry level qualification and there is no evidence of anything coming close to displacing it. No one is saying that it is perfect, but this sort of attack is self-defeating because it is inaccurate.
Pardon the typo’s: P1 ‘misunderstood’, P7 ‘DO’ and P8 ‘off’.
Unfortunately, the success of CELTA and certain TESOL programs have recently made it difficult for highly qualified English teachers who have been teaching in Asia for years and years – all ages, all levels, all sorts of classes, special courses, even holding DOS and team leader positions – to be able to get certain jobs. After more than 6 years teaching in 3 countries with a superb resume, I ran into this. Several times I was initially considered for a job based on my vast experience, then denied the job, when on the phone, they found out I had no TESOL cert of any kind… and made to feel like I was some kind of alien life form. Anyway, I decided to do the cheapest thing that would check that box and prevent it from happening again – an online, reputable TESOL cert from a school in the Philippines (cheap, and I had a nice 3 week vacation while doing it.) Since then, the fact I have a TESOL cert did, in fact, allow me to take my latest job at university. I do find it sad, however, that so many schools have been brainwashed into thinking they need to check certain boxes like that, rather than simply choose the best person for the job. Luckily, most English language schools in Asia still hire based on experience in the region, overall experience, first impression, interview, and a demo lesson. However, increasingly, schools and governments in the region leave hiring to some idiotic placement agency or third party located far away.. Also, I have noticed a number of nice-paying jobs advertised that I am qualified for but cannot apply for because they require a CELTA – nothing less will do. Absolutely ridiculous! I’m sure this trend will gradually continue, unfortunately. Like my friend who recently did his CELTA in Asia said – ‘It was okay. It was a lot of unnecessary work I thought. And I thought you should be teaching the course rather than the woman who was, but they wouldn’t even consider you for that, since you don’t even have a CELTA yourself..’
Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that in our industry someone who has taught for 6 years without attempting to get any qualifications can become a Director of Studies.
This has been interesting. Let me start by saying that I have a CELTA. My opinions should therefore be seen in that context. I also, however, have a Bachelors Degree in English and an MA in Applied Linguistics, so that should be taken into account as well.
I have no doubt that there are many, very fine university level education qualifications all over the world. In most cases, however, I have found that these tend to be very theoretical in nature. By this I do not mean that there is no practical work, simply that there is a lot of theoretical work, which is not necessarily essential if English as a Second Language is the only thing you want to teach. I would, therefore, posit the idea that such diplomas are, while advantageous, by no means a deal-breaker in terms of working as an ESL teacher.
Now, the last thing I want is for my comments to be construed as meaning that I think the CELTA is enough to make you a good ESL teacher. A 4-week course is simply too short for that. However, what the CELTA does do, is give you a base to start from, in order to BECOME a good teacher. The fact of the matter is, that there is no substitute for experience and a CELTA gives you a fair chance of GETTING that experience.
My personal experience of CELTA was not exactly a pleasant one. I didn’t particularly like the tutors and the course was extremely intensive, requiring more hard work than I have ever had to do in such a short time, even considering my University qualifications. Nonetheless, I found the experience to be enlightening and stimulating. Overall I personally think the course was well worth doing.
I loved the original post. Too many people have been saying the same thing and taking themselves seriously. I think its past time that someone start making fun of these muppets the way they deserve. Some of the replies, however, are worryingly obtuse. Many of these replies are written in such poor english that I wonder how the authors managed to find the website in the first place. Many of them are written by people that I am forced to assume tried the CELTA and failed, or weren’t accepted in the first place.
In closing, I would like to say that I consider myself to be on the way to being a good ESL teacher. It will likely take me a few more years and I’m sure that I will keep developing throughout my career. I am nowhere near the point where I am confident or arrogant enough to call myself a complete teacher. Perhaps this will come when I complete the DELTA, as suggested by Clarabelle, which I fully intend.
I am at an early stage of a long journey, but I can say without doubt that the CELTA put me on the right road.
P.S. All of the above is based on my own opinion, formulated by personal experience and is in NO way an exhaustive appraisal of the industry. Please do not take it as such.
What stands out for me, after reading through most of these posts, is how many bitter teachers there are who have studied for years at university only to find themselves competing on the same level for jobs with what they see as ‘substandard’ CELTA teachers.
I can sort of understand their bitterness, having wasted a lot of time and money for essentially the same knowledge and prospects as a three month (or 4 weeks intensive) CELTA course graduate but i still find their comments a little ‘off’.
Does belittling CELTA and the people who work damn hard to get this qualification, really help justify in their minds this superfluous extra investment? “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
The truth is, although I am Masters educated myself, I have met some terrible teachers who have MA, PHD qualifications – the whole works. And I have met some great teachers who are just naturals, have a great language awareness but next to know qualifications.
I have been teaching Business English for a year now as my background is business (academically and practically) and I have a good working knowledge of English. I am just about to do a CELTA course, however, as many of the best jobs do seem to require this qualification and from my research, it seems to be the most respected.
At the end of the day, whether one has studied Teaching at Uni, or has CELTA, or one of the lesser respected courses, one’s experience natural aptitude and language awareness is what counts.
‘next to no qualifications’
Sorry for the typo.
“No one tells you about having to prepare lessons, read books, learn grammar and stuff like that.
I found it really stressful to stand up in front of a class of people and teach them.”
Well what the hell did you think teaching would involve?
Doesn’t the word ‘TEACHer’ kinda give you a clue about what’s involved? Didn’t you go to school?
“Why don’t they give us Advanced students we can actually chat to at the beginning of the course- that’s got to be an easier way into it? Or, we could get our students watching a video for one of the lessons to give us a break. Or maybe start our lessons with just one student and then work our way up.”
Do I even try to take that part seriously? Come on!
If you got advanced level students, the language you would have to teach them would be at an advanced level and very few CELTA trainees are capable of teaching advanced level English. Watch a video for a lesson to give you a break? You only have to teach 6 hours in 4 weeks! How easy do you want this?
Have you tried teaching private classes? 1-on-1?
They’re bloody hard work and take a lot more planning than a class of 12 or 13 students! How do you ask a student to compare their answers with a partner or do a mingle activity if you only have 1 student?
You are a goddam idiot if you have typed this post seriously and should not be anywhere near an educational institution, let alone employed in one!
I subscribe to this for ‘LOL’ moments like this.
I think that people who can’t recognize SATIRE shouldn’t be
I think people who SATIRISE the teaching profession shouldn’t be teachers.
Wouldn’t that make teaching rather glum? Satire doesn’t mean you hate something.
So learning how to teach during an intensive 5 week course should be like a “working holiday”? Wow, what a motivated teacher. CELTA is meant to give you a base to work from. Its not the be all end all of teacher training. With a positive attitude and a few good mentors, you can continue your learning experience. CELTA is the ticket in the door. And yeah, I think it goes without saying that, if you are gonna teach a language, you’re gonna have to know (or learn through lesson planning) the grammar.
I just finished my CELTA course, and I passed all my assigments without having to resubmitt any of them, and all my TP practices were “To standard” but the last 2 ones were “Above Standard”, in addition to this, this CELTA course had the PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Sector) Diploma, I must say that I wanted to do this course before, but I didn’t do it because of money issues, but I was fortunate enough to find a state college in London that takes you on (for free) if you are in receipt of state benefits (as long as you pass the interview and pre-interview tasks), I have a background in Linguistics and prior to that I did some teaching in “cowboy schools” my background in Linguistics did help me work when I was teaching, as I understood the concepts of language acquisition and I was aware of how language changes and evolves, however I never had any sort of formal teacher training during my studies, and after doing the CELTA, I can definitely say that I had an advantage over most of my peers, as I was familiar with the theory aspects of the CELTA course (phonology, grammar terms, L1-L2, negative transfer, etc) but now after doing the CELTA I feel that it is DEFINITELY not a waste of time, I didn’t find it difficult but I did find it very demanding (but enjoyable) and the best part of it, was that the tutors were doing it for the sake of doing what they enjoy doing, and not for the sake of getting people’s money (comparing it to places like IH or Saxoncourt or other small colleges). I think this guy’s comments are complete rubbish and the whole purpose of language teaching is challenging yourself to get somebody that speaks no English at all to a reasonable decent level of language skills…what this guy is saying is pretty much like what a lot of cowboy schools say to teachers when they tell native speakers that they won’t let them work with absolute beginners as the teacher won’t be able to explain anything to them in the student’s native language….My advice for anybody that wishes to have a recently decent teaching job is do the CELTA, as the course gives you essential tools, such as lesson planning and structuring tools and it also helps you brush up on your grammar and language awareness levels, however, make sure that you do it at a place that has a reputation of offering courses for the sake of EDUCATING and TRAINING people not just making money. Don’t listen to the comments this guy wrote, as they are complete rubbish….
I have taught for over 10 years and I have never done a celta course or anything like it. However I have been trained with the same principles and I agree with their methodology. I don’t think you need it to be a good teacher, but it would definitely help those who have had no exposure to teaching before.
The author of this article, if he truly believes what he says, should NEVER be a teacher. People like him just give english teachers worldwide a bad name. Everything he complained about was wrong. So many out there like him!
Yes, this is true you don’t need a CELTA to teach…..
However if you want to make a career out of teaching then it is a good path to start on.
You are an utter idiot. Don’t leave your home country.
oh and your passport should be taken away from you, so you don’t have a chance to inflict your idiot ideas on anyone else.
‘No one tells you about having to prepare lessons, read books, learn grammar and stuff like that’
Oh my days, is this guy serious, you complete and utter dimwit. Whst on god’s sweet earth else did you expect to do inorder to teach English if not English. i think thus guy was bummed because he realised he has to actually work to be paid. Oh by the way I’m not sure if you were trying to be funny, but medicine does NOT cost 1000£, you’ll find it’s a little more. I’m horrified, this guy actually has no interset in teaching or his students. He just wants a free ride. I feel sorry for the students who get taught by this dimwitt
ESL teaching and ESL certification is a joke. No one takes it seriously. four weeks and you’re certified doesn’t make a teacher. I taught ESL for four years and it was a joke. You are at the mercy of student reviews, no union, no stability, low pay, nothing. Anyone who accepts this kind of pay to teach is a hack. Teaching is hard work and not anyone can do it. Yet, these fly by night schools are not run by educators, but slimy people who look down on teaching. The majority of people in ESL/EFL shouldn’t be teaching. There needs to be a crackdown on this shady industry that has made a joke of education. OpenEnglish offers online ESL courses and pays teachers $9 dollars a class. in their book teaching is on par with Mcdonald’s employment. CELTA is big business and they have contracts with alot of shady schools. They’ve convinced people their certification is the gold standard. British English rules in their book. HAHAHA. joke
Any methodology is the result of experience, Over years people have discovered general ideas about what tends to work well and what doesn’t. That ‘knowledge’ gradually becomes condensed into a set of principles and practices; books are written, courses are created, and this ‘knowledge’, learnt from trial and error, is shared or imparted. So far so good; courses are good, training is good, being prepared for the classroom is good. However, at what point did actual experience in the classroom become a total irrelevance and almost useless for finding a job in TEFL? These days a one month CELTA trainee with zero experience will always get the job ahead of a candidate with many years of classroom experience but no qualification.
This is not a criticism in any way of the CELTA and similar courses or of receiving training before stepping into a classroom. Rather it is a criticism of not taking experience into account if there is no qualification. For the majority of schools, especially in Europe, if someone has been teaching for ten years but never took a CELTA then they have nothing to offer whatsoever. It seems arrogant in itself to assume that useful knowledge can only be attained on a course. How was that knowledge accrued in the first place? Through experience and reflection.
Experience doesn’t necessarily equal expertise, but any reflective teacher is bound to learn and improve over the years from reading, discussing, observing and teaching. As far as grammar is concerned, any teacher who has been teaching for a couple of years or more knows galaxies more than someone just off an introductory course. How could they not?
So a language school could look at experience, conduct an interview, take into account personality and the amount of knowledge apparently accrued over the years (or lack thereof), and make a balanced decision on the best person for the job. Alternatively, they could just say anyone without a CELTA or equivalent cannot work here. Which is what they tend to do. It is logical that someone with a CELTA and years of experience is probably a better candidate than someone with just years of experience. But it is not logical that someone just off a course and with no experience is preferable to someone with years of experience.
I don’t know if it is a valid comparison, but if I needed my car to be fixed I would certainly prefer to have it worked on by a mechanic with years of experience and no qualification than a mechanic who has no experience but has just finished an introductory course to mechanics.
I don’t think the CELTA is a scam in general, but this complete shutting out of teachers with experience but no qualification by private language schools does indeed smell a bit fishy. You can get an IH approval stamp for your school, but guess what? Every single one of your teachers has to have the CELTA or equivalent. As I was told by a DoS in Spain once “I really want to take you on, what with all your years of classroom experience and the good job you’ve done substituting here, but I can’t, I have to take on a couple of people fresh off a CELTA course because of our agreement with IH. Are you sure you haven’t got a CELTA?”
I agree with Sam Hefron.
I’m sure there a lot of very good CELTA-trained teachers out there. But this does not prove that they learnt anything from CELTA, I am only commenting on the CELTA course that I did in Brisbane in 2008. It was horrifying.
I am still gobsmacked that Cambridge puts its name to this. Perhaps this is an early sign of the death of the university system. maybe in future we will be able to learn anything we want to using some future version of an iPad.
I admit I do not have CELTA but I worked in a European language school that trained CELTA and DELTA and offered on-site language training to organizations and individuals. It is important for people to think about what they plan to do when finished and what “teaching” means to them. I am certified to teach High School and currently teach in the public system of the country in which I now live. Teaching in a public school provides stability, regular and guaranteed hours, rules and contracts enforced by the State, and a good pension plan. CELTA DOES NOT QUALIFY YOU TO TEACH IN THE PUBLIC SYSTEM; neither does DELTA.
Many of the CELTA teachers with whom I worked were rather peeved to find that there was not a lot of work for them and the pay was awful. In this expensive European country–CELTA teachers were paid around 44CHF (now you know the country) for a 45 Minute lesson. I get paid @150CHF for the same in the public school system.
Worst of all: during my time with this language school I taught in two nursing colleges. You only got 25 90-minute lessons in an entire year. On a given day there might be 12 classes taking their 90-minute lesson but they all happened at the same time so that 12 teachers were teaching all at once—rather than perhaps having 3 teachers to do four lessons over the space of the day.
Many CELTA teachers do private lessons–Ccients may take 3 lessons then have all types of excuses to skip lessons—no steady or guaranteed income with this.
Do you really think a 30-day course qualifies you to teach? If so,all the people who do degrees at University must be idiots for wasting their time when this quick course will do. Do you think that a CELTA student can really learn and ABSORB anything in such a short time? CELTA people are taught that the Communicative Approach is the only way to teach; they are not exposed to the research that indicates that this is not always culturally appropriate and can be received as cultural imperialism. They are also taught that Stephen Krashen is the God of SLA–yet many serious schools will point out that his theories do not even meet the requirements of a theory.
DELTA grads think that this is equal to a Masters Degree–far from the truth. Look at any syllabus for a graduate degree in Applied Linguistics and TESOL and you will clearly see that it may be counted toward 1 module and nothing more.
In my experience CELTA grads, and the administrators of this particular language school were very UNcomfortable around someone who actually was a trained teacher and had graduate degrees in pedagogy (myself). I found CELTA people to be very unprepared and clueless(would not last a day in a public school system) and they think they are God’s gift to Christendom. Are they trained in curriculum design, assessment, and the procedures of how a school works??? Needless to say they were furious when I left them to teach full-time in the public system.
I don’t believe that many CELTA “grads” would claim that their qualification is equal to a teaching qualification to be a school teacher in their own school system, e.g. the PGCE in the UK. That is why we often only half jokingly refer to “proper teachers” who have such qualifications. However, teachers who have such qualifications from countries where the communicative approach is only vaguely mentioned (still most of the world), all teachers whose qualification and experience don’t include language teaching and people who done teaching qualifications with no observed and graded teaching practice (including quite a lot of MAs) gain a lot from doing a four-week practical hands-on course like the CELTA. Ditto with the Delta for people who have done MAs with lots of theory but no practical teaching component, and it counted as 9 months of a two year course when I did my MA, which seems like a lot more than one module to me.
Krashen wasn’t mentioned on my CELTA and only briefly on my Delta, and I’m not sure how he could be deified on a course uncritically pushing the communicative approach (as also wasn’t true of my courses) as that isn’t what he recommends at all.
George Steiner was originally failed on his doctor’s degree at Cambridge, so I should not expect too much. Walter Benjamin’s thesis was also initially rejected.
It might be nice to redo the CELTA course one day, after publishing a book making my own assessment of the CELTA materials and testing my ideas on several groups of ESL learners.
It might be better to do comparable courses in the European Common Framework, e.g. for teaching French and German. I might also be better advised to first do my own fieldwork in other languages than English.
Judging on the course I did in Brisbane in 2008, CELTA is complete garbage. But there are more than 2 to the power of 8 schools teaching CELTA, and no doubt some of the courses would suit me.
Pay nearly 200 bucks for a 100 bucks job, really?
I’ve got to laugh at most of these comments like:
“The communicative approach is not always culturally appropriate?” LOL In which culture is communicating forbidden and inappropriate?
Speaking of “tons of experience”, my experience observing other teachers tells me that you can teach 10 years and do it wrong and still be a terribly ineffective teacher. I’d argue that more often than not, teachers with pedagogical degrees are some of the most ineffective teachers out there. They spend their time lecturing, students sit and do exercises, and listen to the CD’s. Probably the most shocking thing about CELTA is that you realize that there shouldn’t be any lecturing or teaching at all.
Read your books and buy your 200 dollar online TEFL certificate. You can become a good teacher by watching, only by doing… just how language is learned btw. The funny thing is, I am pretty confident that the most obvious things about teaching turn out not to be very obvious. Most schools and many teachers think the communicative approach is small talk and doing a few less exercises.
I love how the biggest criticism of CELTA comes for people who haven’t taken the course. Go figure.
Daniel: When you have a broader experience and actually live in different countries you will see that many cultural practices in the Engish-speaking world are in appropriate in other cultures. To get away from ELT–consider graduate programs in North America where students are expectd to debate and engage in differring views in seminars. Many Asian students find this difficult because in their culture they would never dare to “challenge” a Professor.
You say that many teachers with pedagogical degrees are some of the most ineffective out there yet in most nations of the world children go to public schools which are staffed by teachers with pedagogical degrees. Lots of these children learn their lessons from teachers in a classroom and go on to higher Levels of education!!!!! Furthermore, how many pedagogically-trained teachers do you observe in order to make that statement?
Most importantly, you cannot teach in a public school without pedagogical degrees and I think YOU make the mistake of trying to compare private language School teaching with public School teaching and worst of all you make the mistake that teaching is nothing more than delivering instruction in a subject. Teaching in a public school goes way beyond teaching a subject and that is what you and a lot of CELTA People do not seem to understand.
Mostly I think we are talking past each other. I was not referring to public school. Regardless, I’ve responded. I think you’ve made a few assumptions here some might be accurate others, not. First, to quote you:
“When you have a broader experience and actually live in different countries you will see that many cultural practices in the Engish-speaking world are in appropriate in other cultures.”
“When you have a broader experience” – I guess you’re assuming that I don’t have a broad experience and perhaps you are right as I’m not sure how you define a broad experience. I’ve taught English for 7 years. 5 before CELTA and 3 after.
“When you… actually live in different countries you will see that many cultural practices in the Engish-speaking world are in appropriate in other cultures.” – Well, talk of gender roles, having debates, etc might fall under what is forbidden or culturally inappropriate in a handful of countries, the argument was about communication and conversation. There is no culture on this earth where people do not communicate and converse. A teacher with a few days can easily learn about the culture and avoid doing things like putting women and men together in extremely religious / conservative countries. The communicative approach that is taught in CELTA has nothing to do with debating, btw.
“To get away from ELT–consider graduate programs in North America where students are expectd to debate and engage in differring views in seminars. Many Asian students find this difficult because in their culture they would never dare to “challenge” a Professor.”
Well, I thought we were specifically talking about ESL in the context of a classroom, which doesn’t require a “professor” or the person leading the classroom to make know-it-all statements and then invite criticism to so that it can be smacked down thus showing superior intellectualism. ;) To be honest, I’m not even sure where this kind of “teaching” is done, but most importantly, this isn’t the “communicative method” either, at least not the one that is taught in the CELTA course. Currently, I live in Russia. It would be also be considered culturally inappropriate to tell a teacher he / she is wrong. I think one thing that makes private language school lessons popular is that the culture and friendliness is the complete opposite of what they have in school or university, which makes sense.
I think one of the biggest shocks that students also get during the CELTA course is the realization that the teacher isn’t really much of a teacher at all, but more of a facilitator and a person who helps present language concepts. The idea is to help students notice language. Languages can’t really be taught, only learned. None of this is to say that one shouldn’t know his “stuff”.
I find how languages are taught at university and much of the system itself not an effective method to learn a language. Give me six months and maximum a year and I can get to conversational fluency in probably just about ANY language you throw at me.
As far as my statement about ineffective teachers with pedagogical degrees, this is mainly whom I work with, which in Russia means local (Russian) teachers. Most of whom lecture on grammar, drill students, invite behavioristic language learning, parroting, etc… all like they are accustomed to from university. Homework of course is doing tons of exercises, writing something, etc. The only problem is that most students don’t have 4 or 8 years to learn a language. I kid you not, right now I have a shared classroom with a teacher who knows English quite well, 10 years experience, and a pedagogical degree. We are teaching more or less absolute beginners, combined they have had 10 lessons on the verb, “to be” because she feels like they haven’t mastered it yet. She runs a grammar focused lesson.
I am not interested in teaching in public schools as I don’t think young children need sit-down lessons, where the children don’t want to be there, and count the time until the school day is over. Many aspects of school and university are at this point out-dated and not effective. All sorts of people “in the west” are getting fluff degrees or spend 4 years studying one language and often graduate with less than C1 abilities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Raymond, my advice is go do the CELTA. I originally did mine mainly because I was tired of language schools trying to find an excuse to pay me less. My CELTA actually did help with this, but more importantly it challenged the way I thought about the classroom. There are somethings that are unrealistic about CELTA and I have modified the way I teach, so it doesn’t exactly coincide with the methodologies presented.
In general, I think public school language teaching in most countries is pretty bad. I’m not sure how much CELTA would help you in this context. I think secondary school, you could reap some benefits.
So, go do the course, spend the money, and then if you really think the course was awful, please come back here and tell us.
Once again, I would encourage you to teach in different countries and different continents and you will see that that the pproach and culture that the English-speaking world uses is not always appropriate. In Asian countries students are to sit and listen to the teacher and the type of back and forth that we use in our culture is not acceptable in Asia: there is a lot of good scholarly research on this that CELTA courses just do not have the time to study. Any graduate course Applied Linguistics and TEFL–will expose you to these issues.
Some researchers go so far as to say that the communicative approach is cultural imperialism. In a CELTA course you could not possibly devote the time to this type of research and in-depth analysis of anything. For instance, here in the country in which I live (in Europe) a certain CELTA School has indoctrinated everyone that Stephen Krashen is some type of god. Yet, serious graduate courses and researchers dismiss him and his theories as not being theories.
YOU are the one who said that many teachers with pedagogical degrees are useless and I have merely pointed out that most of the world is educated by teachers in public and private schools, who have pedagogical degrees. So, your statement stands on very thin ground. CELTA is fine for teaching in private language schools but public systems in North America and Europe require degrees in pedagogy, whether they are uselss or not–that is the law set by the State.
You tell me to do the CELTA because one gets paid more in language Schools. I teach in a public School System where CELTA is not recognized–and I think that is the real pain that CELTA graduates face! Do a graduate degree in Applied Linguistics and TEFL and get your needed pedagogical Training and you will be set but many CELTA People do not have that as their plan.
The many CELTA People I have worked with seem to believe that their diploma is the greatest thing going and that this sho0uld allow them to teach in a public System. As I said in my post, CELTA People have to realize that teaching goes beyond teaching a subject: there are many other duites and requirements in a public School where you see students all day everyday.
Teaching in a language School is very different than teaching in a public System. So — go and do CELTA if you want, and face the lack of solid teaching hours or get your qualification to teach in a public system where you get a reliable teaching load.
“““Once again, I would encourage you to teach in different countries and different continents and you will see that that the pproach and culture that the English-speaking world uses is not always appropriate. In Asian countries students are to sit and listen to the teacher and the type of back and forth that we use in our culture is not acceptable in Asia: ”””
Strange, you assume that I have had a teaching career only in the west. I have worked in Latin America, Asia and Europe. You have demonstrated that you do not understand what the CELTA course is about or what the communicative approach is. There is no back and forth debating, arguing, or even discussing for that matter between the teacher and students in CELTA. You can read about it and familiarize yourself too, but until you take the course and put it into practice, I don’t see it “clicking” for you. I went into CELTA as a skeptic and ended up being delightfully surprised by what I got out of it.
“““there is a lot of good scholarly research on this that CELTA courses just do not have the time to study. Any graduate course Applied Linguistics and TEFL–will expose you to these issues.”””
I did not follow your argument here. What issues?
“““YOU are the one who said that many teachers with pedagogical degrees are useless and I have merely pointed out that most of the world is educated by teachers in public and private schools, who have pedagogical degrees. So, your statement stands on very thin ground.”””
I didn’t say useless, stupid, or anything of the sort. I said they tend to be very ineffective teachers AT PRIVATE LANGUAGE SCHOOLS (in the context of hours inputed vs student achievement). I think the fact that Americans spend 12 years studying Spanish or some countries that spend 12 years studying English and they graduate with an A2 or B1 knowledge in English is an embarrassment. Our students in private language schools don’t have 12 years to learn language. If they start out at A1 and haven’t reached a very proficient level of English in a year, one has not been an effective teacher. How many years do you think someone needs to be competent in a language? People like to resist change, the university / public school route is not efficient. If I had half a year to learn a new language, I would not choose public school or university to spend my half year.
I think the links that Alex has posted recently are worth a read. I haven’t been doing hardly any tasks in class that motivated students can’t do at home and I am actually extremely delighted that Alex blogged about this. For me, it is confirmation that this is perhaps a good idea. It’s not about following a name or a brand. I find ideas interesting and worth arguing over, like we are doing now. I don’t care who Stephen Krashen is. CELTA is not a religion and Stephen is not Jesus Christ. What we are looking at is how to learn language effectively and quickly.
Even if someone studied 4 French four years French at university, and I studied four months intensively, immersed, and with excellent conversation partners / teachers, the university student might be greatly offended that their “method” didn’t turn out the best. Could it be possible that a “teacher” with CELTA and 6 months teaching practice end up being better than someone who has a BA or MA and 10 years? You might say of course not. I would beg to differ. It’s not about time, it’s about quality. Is the CELTA course short? Absolutely. It’s not meant to be a four year degree. Do you think someone needs to spend 6 years learning how to teach English? We aren’t doctors.
“““You tell me to do the CELTA because one gets paid more in language Schools. I teach in a public School System where CELTA is not recognized–and I think that is the real pain that CELTA graduates face! Do a graduate degree in Applied Linguistics and TEFL and get your needed pedagogical Training and you will be set but many CELTA People do not have that as their plan.”””
I’m beginning to think you have comprehension problems or just don’t read what I’ve written. I haven’t brought up the issue of salary at all.
“““The many CELTA People I have worked with seem to believe that their diploma is the greatest thing going and that this sho0uld allow them to teach in a public System. As I said in my post, CELTA People have to realize that teaching goes beyond teaching a subject: there are many other duites and requirements in a public School where you see students all day everyday.”””
CELTA is about teaching English and not other subjects like math, science, or history. Once again you have convinced me that you have no idea what CELTA is.
“““Teaching in a language School is very different than teaching in a public System. So — go and do CELTA if you want, and face the lack of solid teaching hours or get your qualification to teach in a public system where you get a reliable teaching load.”””
Well, finally we can agree on one thing. I wouldn’t want to be a teacher of children if they were forced to be in my classroom and I was responsible for teaching people who weren’t interested.
Finally, you may have the last response, but since you don’t seem to respond to what I write or perhaps understand my argument at all, I’ll leave you with the last post to say what you’d like. In general, you can’t help people who don’t think they need help or want it. I came to this site to look for lesson ideas, etc. I took CELTA, because I wanted to improve my professionalism and qualifications. Why did you come here? To confirm that your degree is worth more than CELTA?
Just to end things since you’ve made a lot of assumptions about who I am:
– I have a B.A. (Modern Languages / Linguistics
– CELTA (surprise)
– I speak four languages. 1 language I had a bit of exposure to in public school. That language and one more, I studied for four years at university.
Raymond, if you are guaranteed that your masters in teaching has made you an effective language teacher, move on. Why you would argue with people whom you know to be deeply incorrect beats me. I would move on, and in fact I am!
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Daniel: When I speak of the Communicative Approach—I am talking about the back and forth between student and teacher in a language classroom: authentic communication. I promise you there is plenty of literature on whether this approach is appropriate in every culture. It is the first assignment we had to do in our graduate program…and was it ever a shock to find out that in many situations it does not work. One does not have to agree with the findings, but the research is there: These are the types of things one would study in a graduate program in Applied Linguistics and TEFL.
What you say about grammar drills and tons of homewrok is absolutely correct. Many teachers teach this way and many students in many countries (not to mention school administrators) expect this type of teaching. One of the interesting comments made by many North American teachers in Asia was that unless they taught this method of rote memorization, students complained they ‘weren’t teaching’. Here in Europe I have had students complain about me because they felt a vocabulary test is nothing more that a sheet of paper: columm 1, L1; column 2–translate into L2. The fact that they were expected to use these words in a context was heresy to them.
We must also accept the fact that scores of generations before us learned several languages by rote memorization and homework galore. You might be very correct in saying that perhaps this rote method is good for helping people to LEARN a language rather than ACQUIRE it. I used to deal with many diplomats and Bankers (parents at an International School) and i asked them how they learned English—rote method and tons of homework! So, this method can work and the teachers in These cases have been effective.
If CELTA is good for you,wonderful. Perhaps in Russia it works out well,but in Europe where there are so many CELTA qualified people and so little work–that is a problem. The language School where I helped out had the contract to teach at the State Nursing College. The federal government said nursing students must have 25hrs of English per year!!!!!! Well, no CELTA or public teacher can do much if the government says only 25hrs per year. The school would have 9 classes running simulatenously which means that the individual teacher only got a 90 Minute lesson , as opposed to the nursing school hiring maybe 3 teachers and letting them teach the entire load. This is the real problem that I hear from a lot of CELTA teachers in my country—–there is not much work. Private lessons are very unreliable. And on the issue of pay teachers are told their hourly salary, except for the fact that lessons are rarely 1hr (usually 45 minutes) so this was not such a lucrative situation.
You wrote: ” Could it be possible that a “teacher” with CELTA and 6 months teaching practice end up being better than someone who has a BA or MA and 10 years? You might say of course not. I would beg to differ. It’s not about time, it’s about Quality. ”
That is an awfully broad Statement to make and in any graduate course in any subject the Point would be made that one has to be cautious about making sweeping statments like that. I have met an awful lot of extremely clueless CELTA people–but that doe not qualify me to make a broad Statement. I have also met a lot of clueless public school teachers (in all subjects) and I still would not make a broad Statement.
My experience of the CELTA grads I have worked with is that they feell that through CELTA they have the one true and correct method. Further academic studies hopefully reminds you to be cautious about claiming to know anything and to have a very broad and open understanding of a subject.
(Any others have comments???).
I posted as Jesus Smith in 2009:
08/08/2009 at 13:30
I would love to be proved wrong. But at present I think there is a question mark about the CELTA course. We were expected to spend some hours learning another language as part of the course – but this was quite bogus. The teacher spent a few minutes interacting with us in elementary Indonesian. One student dropped out of the course immediately after this. I suspect that the other 5 of us all knew some indonesian and the fact that we could interact with the teacher proved nothing at all.
I would love to be proved wrong. At present I am still hoping to negotiate with Cambridge to get my assessment reviewed. At least by complaining now, I can get to be part of any future legal action if other students are appalled enough at their treatment to want to sue Cambridge.
The assessment was appalling. Fortunately I have tape recordings of some of the practice teaching lessons so I can ask for any negative comments in the assessment to be keyed to specific identified parts of the tape recordings.
I believe that this case may ultimately discredit Cambridge if it is not resolved.
I was interested to notice, a year ago, that Cambridge ESL was taking part in a study with other universities, to classify one million utterances made by students in ESL classes. The aim was to classify each utterance as showing a level (e.g. A1, C1) in the European Common Framework. They are also working out what words are to be known at each level.
I was not attempting to do this, but I taperecorded my CELTA practice teaching classes in order to help understand what students were saying. My taperecordings were not good (e.g. in small group discussion it is hard to hear an individual speaker because of noise from other groups in the same room) but I was able to transcribe some of it.
I believe that the tape recordings or transcripts should be usable as evidence that the work I did was of a suitable standard.
I believe that this case may ultimately discredit Cambridge if it is not resolved.
I did not get a reply from Cambridge ESL in 2010.
My continuing scepticism about CELTA.
Of course I have no problem with the excellent ESL books by Cambridge. And I have no problem with books such as Scrivener or Thornbury which have been used in CELTA courses.
My scepticism is about how the course is being interpreted by some tutors, and the bureaucracy which seems unable to scrutinise this when a complaint about being failed is made.
In hindsight, in the CELTA course we may have been asked to teach in a way that would be possible for a non-native speaker who does not know the language as well as a native speaker . Many of us learnt languages by this method in high school. A teacher who is uncertain about the correctness of speech examples can confine themselves to the prepacked examples in the textbook, to avoid being embarrassed by mistakes they might otherwise make.
Obviously a teacher who is a native speaker should not feel constrained in this way.
For comparison, George Steiner’s Ph.D was initially rejected at Cambridge. I am still confident that my case will be reviewed even though this is now 5 years later.
I feel the assessment I received is like something out of Kafka or Orwell.
You’ve also commented a couple of times under your real name.
I’m still far from convinced by your case and arguments, and I imagine anyone else who might be thinking of joining your campaign would feel the same way. What you need is a blog talking us through your whole CELTA course, focusing mainly on the observations and including the feedback you received in full, preferably as scanned original documents. We’d then need to know what you did after you found out that you had failed in the same kind of detail. Some information on your relevant experience before and after the CELTA might also help your case.
yeah I agree, if you gonna “see the world” teaching English cuz you’ve retired and wanna enjoy your upcoming golden years, or want so cushy little job working 3-4 hrs a day, and after that spending a relaxing afternoon on the beach and then enjoying your nightlife, and weekends with site-seeing tours….then this isnt the job for you.
Haha – was that a parody? If so then brilliant. If not then the only part I agree with is that it costs too much for sure. But, its an internationally recognised cert. If youve got it its the key to many potential doors. Of course, its best you know how to teach (ahem) .
I don’t think a CELTA is a waste of time, and it is a useful introduction to teaching for those who’ve never done it before. Where I do think it fails is in the shallowness of its approach to certain aspects of language learning.Obviously, if something is practical in its approach,there may not be an immediate need for depth. But it seems to take for granted that skimming and scanning, for instance, are things you can do without knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, even though all research into reading indicates that skimming is dependent on vocabulary, and an awareness that certain words are redundant, so you can “chunk” the reading matter. Scanning requires a learner to aware of the graphemic form of a word and the link to how it sounds, which won’t always be easy for someone whose native script is different from ours. Guessing from context sounds great, but to establish a context, you need to understand most of what you’re reading anyway. Likewise with listening – a person needs to have heard a lot of spoken English, before they will be able to guess what they’ve heard from context. So more thought needs to be given to these more “in-depth” matters.
“alex case says: You’ve also commented a couple of times under your real name.
I’m still far from convinced by your case and arguments, and I imagine anyone else who might be thinking of joining your campaign would feel the same way. What you need is a blog talking us through your whole CELTA course, focusing mainly on the observations and including the feedback you received in full, preferably as scanned original documents. We’d then need to know what you did after you found out that you had failed in the same kind of detail. Some information on your relevant experience before and after the CELTA might also help your case”.
Thanks for the advice Alex. But what are you offering? Are you offering a review of the case. You said that extra information provided “might help (my) case”.
I’m saying that is what it would take to convince readers here of your argument. If you do set up such a blog, feel free to link to it from here.
There was a lot of favouritism where I did my CELTA. The trainers themselves were not good examples of the kind of teachers in typical classroom settings. However the course was useful but very expensive. I paid $1700.
I did CELTA 10 years ago in Brisbane Australia.
Of 6 who started, 3 passed. 2 dropped out early. I failed.
I only found days from the end of the course that it was obligatory for everyone except me to have a 3 hour one on one conference with the senior tutor, before signing up. The purpose of this was to help you decide if you could work with the tutor. I was not offered this because I had been invited to enrol at the last minute in order to make minimum numbers for the course. I did a written exam and was interviewed over by the phone, though by a CELTA person in another city.
If one does a semester course at University here, if you quit before a certain point you get a full refund.
I complained to Cambridge (the CELTA language school) but did not get a useful result..
I found the bureaucracy at Cambridge as impenetrable as the bureaucracy of my CELTA tutors.
“I did CELTA 13 years ago in Brisbane Australia.
Of 6 who started, 3 passed. 2 dropped out early. I failed”..
Of the 3 who passed, one had a doctor’s degree in non-human primate communication, and had lectured at university. Another has taught ESL for nine years and had lived in Japan and had used Japanese in the workplace. The other has lectured in English at a Korean university for 6 years.
I had 1000 hours of classroom teaching experience, but not in language teaching. I had a master’s degree in linguistics from Macquarie University. The assessor wrote “he looks nothing like a teacher”. The assessor may or may not have read the prescribed book for the course (Learning Teaching, by Scrivener), they would have noted that Scrivener says “don’t think it is necessary to look like a teacher in order to be a teacher”. I wondered even if their comment was a version of what Scrivener said, that was being mischievously quoted against me.
The ESL books from Cambridge are excellent.
The CELTA textbook by Scott Thornbury was the official CELTA book in 2008. I do not know what its status is now.
It should have been a red flag to me that Thornbury was not being used in the course, when it was the official book at the time. It was readily available in Brisbane and I bought a copy before the course.
I am sure some CELTA schools would have suited me. There are hundreds of CELTA schools. It would be a miracle if they were all as toxic as what I experienced. in the tutor assessments.
When I query Cambridge about being failed on the course, the school makes a report that I should have been failed on an essay they had already passed me on.
I provided Cambridge with some transcript. They said the transcript could not be taken into account, but I think this is a mischievous misreading of the rules.
To summarise, the course seems to have been run in a way that would suit a non-native English teacher, who cannot trust themselves to improvise in speaking English. (I was taught French and Latin this way at high school even though the Latin teacher was no doubt very proficient and would have been capable of engaging in unscripted conversation). There may be value in developing such courses but I doubt if they are of much or any value if the teacher is a native speaker teacher.
Everything you say here just shows how little you know. Come back once you have learned to teach and tell us how you’ve realised how wrong you were.