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What to expect from a CELTA

 
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teacherkev



Joined: 05 Feb 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:59 am    Post subject: What to expect from a CELTA Reply with quote

For those of you considering taking the CELTA and are unsure of what it entails, this post is for you. I will remain as objective as I can. I'll take you from interview stage, assuming you have already completed the application.

The interviewer introduced themselves and set a very relaxed tone. Then followed some general Q & A, this included some motivational questions e.g. why CELTA, teaching, location. There were also a couple of scenario based questions for the classroom. The application form was not scrutinised, I assume if there were any errors these would have been addressed. Overall this discussion served as a way for the interviewer to make sure I was aware of the commitment that is expected, run through the timetable and answer any questions that I had.

Before starting the CELTA the course provider arranged a dinner on the Sunday evening. This allowed all the CELTA students to at least get to meet each other in a social environment prior to the classroom.

The first day was an induction, tour of the facilities, introduction to the tutors and any administrative papers were signed. We were also told that we would all be teaching the next day (seems daunting, though the reality is the slot was only 20 minutes and more of an ice breaker than teaching)

What followed for the four weeks was a timetable that scheduled teaching practice (TP) or for those that were not teaching, observation in the morning for 2 hours. After a short break all were invited back to go through a feedback session, this involves your peers and the tutor. The feedback is to be used as a way to identify any problem areas and how to improve them (which is an expectation during the course)

After lunch for those that were teaching the next day we had the opportunity to sit down with the tutor and go through lesson planning. In the beginning there is a lot of support, this can be reduced as you progress to allow those with more experience or know how to plan and execute a lesson with no support (part of the criteria for those that seek a grade A or B). Lesson plans are extremely comprehensive; with language analysis and white board plans. The benefit for having taken the time to do this far outweighs the time spent defining a word or phrase, writing its form, explaining how the meaning will be checked and writing its phonemic spelling with stress.

The remainder of the afternoon was broken into two different input sessions. These focused on a wide variety of topics too exhaustive to write down, though all of which a student will be able to put to use either in a TP or for a written assignment. This brings me on nicely to the other form of assessment. From day two through to four the first three written assignments were handed out, the deadline for submission was staggered so as not to overwhelm the students; from memory the first was due back the Monday of week two. The assignments required reading away from the class room as well as the handouts given during the input sessions.

As described in the handbook you can fail each of the assignments and be allowed to resubmit it. Fail on the resubmission and you fail that paper, fail two papers and you cannot pass the course. The reality is that the areas which need to be improved on are clearly spelt out; you have the chance to speak with the tutor that marked it as well to ensure what you resubmit is what they expect.

I am aware there are stories of people saying that the course is grueling, they did not sleep, tears and even failure. IMHO the intensity of the course is all relative to what you are used to in your current job. If you are able to manage yourself and your time in an appropriate way there is no reason why you should not be able to deliver all the work, get your “eight hours sleep” and enjoy yourself. Personally my time management leaves a lot to be desired though I made sure that for those four weeks I was on top of things.

Was it worth it? Yes.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3805
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be helpful if you mentioned where this specific CELTA course was. (I'm sure not all CELTA training centers take the students to dinner.)
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course, all centres will do things slightly different, but overall a good review teacherkev. The pre-course dinner's a really good idea - you're going to spend a lot of time with your fellow trainees over the next month and it gives you the opportunity to break the ice with them in a more relaxed setting before the serious stuff begins.

I might get flamed for this, but it's beyond me how anyone actually fails this course - I think the margin for error is pretty wide. I know a couple of people who were out boozing every night yet still managed to limp through it. The one person on my course who failed should quite clearly never have been allowed on it in the first place - he managed to piss most of the trainees off within hours, and three of them actually complained to the trainers about him after the first day. It was no surprise when he was given the heave-ho in the third week; the problem was that his antics severely affected the people who had to do TP with him. Apparently, he took the CELTA a year later at the same place - this casts huge doubts in my mind as to how picky CELTA centres actually are and how much of the pre-course screening is BS - they're there to make money after all...
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9373
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I might get flamed for this, but it's beyond me how anyone actually fails this course - I think the margin for error is pretty wide.



I'm not making any generalisations here, but I know of quite a few trainees who've failed. Mostly as you point out, Tudor, for irresponsible/antisocial behaviours, but I've had to fail a few people myself who just couldn't understand that in ELT, the teacher needs to allow students to speak in class. Shocked
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1831

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience was similar to TeacherKev's, although we didn't get the dinner. Crying or Very sad

People who have done some teaching of any type before find it easier than those who haven't. Otherwise, yes, I agree, good time management is a sensible approach which should take some of the gruel out of gruelling.

My experience, btw, was at St Giles College, Highgate, London.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9028
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Quote:
I might get flamed for this, but it's beyond me how anyone actually fails this course - I think the margin for error is pretty wide.



I'm not making any generalisations here, but I know of quite a few trainees who've failed. Mostly as you point out, Tudor, for irresponsible/antisocial behaviours, but I've had to fail a few people myself who just couldn't understand that in ELT, the teacher needs to allow students to speak in class. Shocked


It is hard to imagine people failing the CELTA - I mean it is all so self-explanatory and obvious, isn't it? So I share Tudor's difficulty in understanding how some people fail. But rest assured some people really do manage to astound trainers with their stupidity, cluelessness, and all round boorishness. Generally almost impossible to train. Maybe the Army could sort them out, but a CELTA can't...
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1831

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had one guy who was awful, but looking back, he wasn't quite bad enough to fail.
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DebMer



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 211
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this, teacherkev. As someone who might be taking the CELTA at a future date, this is very helpful and encouraging to me. I've read some of the horror stories, and felt I was at a particular disadvantage for having a family to come home to and interact with instead of being able to come home and keep my nose to the grindstone for hours in preparation for the next day's classes. This sounds manageable.
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GonnaBe



Joined: 10 Jun 2012
Posts: 18
Location: California

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would you be so kind, Kev, as to tell us where you took the CELTA?
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teacherkev



Joined: 05 Feb 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vietnam - HCMC.
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