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Celta out-dated?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:24 pm    Post subject: Celta out-dated? Reply with quote

From reading various threads on some of the boards, I have come across the recurring comment that the Celta is out of date. I am not sure what this really means, or what innovation the commentators would like to see in the Celta's place.

Perhaps some kind soul could explain what is meant by said sentiments?
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously there will always be developments and (technological) innovation such that even the best, most responsive training will be playing catch-up or lose-out a bit. But I'd also be interested in hearing quite what those recent sea changes for ELT might've been (and I've probably not even read whichever threads you're referring to, Sash!).
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Sashadroogie



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

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmmm, Fluffy. It seems this is of interest only to you and me. Anyway, for your perusal, here are some of the comments I was referring to. Enjoy! And perhaps offer some comments of your own : )


http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=104561


It's a good course but limited in scope and also getting a little dated. I'd like it to undergo a major revamp - but it's a cash cow for Cambridge [and Trinity in the case of their Cert TESOL] so they won't fix something that basically works for them.

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=82787&highlight=celta+dated

English Time in Istanbul uses its own materials.
Most of the teachers and students (clients) will admit that the material is very poor.
However you may think that the management would take on board the
CELTA (rather dated) or TESOL (ESA) principles and ideas.

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=104420&highlight=outdated+celta

So , I'm currently a college student at a local community college in the USA (I'm American). I plan on getting my associates degree in Liberal Arts, ultimately, I do eventually want to receive a bachelors in Linguistics. However, after getting my associates I was hoping I could take maybe a year off, and teach English abroad. So I'll need a TESOL for this, right? I did some research online and it looks like the CELTA isn't a good idea, something about it being outdated... So I should get a TESOL certification right? Or is the TESOL, TESL and TEFL all the same? I was wondering if someone could give me some more information on what I should do to get started. The online courses are fake, too right? 'Cause whenever I look to register it always talks about taking courses online.. I don't know. Could I still find a job as an English teacher with only a certification and associates degree? I also speak Russian and English, so if I were to teach English abroad in Russia that would help me out right?
Thanks !

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=104488&highlight=outdated+celta

But I sympathise, how the hell can a complete level book set with all of the bells and whistles thrown in cost in excess of 500 dollars? And, although I'm going to have to bend over for this one, the delivery of the CELTA course is outdated and mirrors Britain's past imperialistic empire mindset, which has since long gone. Learning should actually be an enjoyable experience, not one where after a month one is ready to drop.

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=103954&highlight=outdated+celta

I'm biased in my view towards International TEFL Academy because our course works with them, but you'll be fine. They run a great program and they offer a lot more assistance than most CELTA courses offer. CELTA and Trinity are both good courses and good organizations, but they are bit outdated in my opinion. Most employers do not prefer them over other 4 week courses and many CELTA courses do not offer job or visa assistance. If you want to check on a course, get into contact with graduates of the program and check for yourself. Every TEFL and CELTA course is different. Find out exactly who you are signing up and what their reputation in the city is.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2992
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never taken the CELTA course, but my understanding is that the CELTA is only an entry-level English language teaching qualification---that it simply provides the basics of EL teaching considered enough to get a newbie's foot in the door. (Keep in mind a degree isn't a requirement to take the CELTA course.) However, once employed, there should be some sort of continued training or at a higher level, professional development for the purpose of staying fresh and current in the industry relevant to the particular teaching situation. That said, although no one has been specific about what they mean by "outdated" (i.e., which element(s) of the course and why), I agree with Skarper (http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=104561) that perhaps the CELTA course content, materials, context, and/or delivery needs a facelift of sorts.

By the way...
    History of the Cambridge CELTA

    - The Cambridge CELTA is an internationally recognised initial qualification for English language teachers in adult education. The model of the course was originally designed by John Haycraft at the International House school in London in the 1960s.

    - From 1977 to 1988 the certificate was administered by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and became widely known as the "RSA". In 1988 the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) took over responsibility for the administration of the certificate and it was renamed the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (CTEFLA).

    - Following revisions to the syllabus and assessment criteria, the certificate was redesignated as the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) in 1996. The certificate is now gained by more than 7,000 candidates per year.


    Source: http://www.celta-berlin.com/celtahistory.html
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still do not see what is dated about it as such. Most of the basic principles of effective teaching do not change that much. TTT is never in style. Student-centredness isn't going away any time soon. Sure, there are developments in methodology, leaving things like PPP very much in a minority position currently. But the Celta does not promote one method exclusively in the first place.

As for delivery, in what way can this be improved? Trainees practice with real classes, then they get developmental feedback. How is this old hat? It is precisely the key ingredient missing from all those waste-of-time online courses.

Perhaps that is what is meant by needing a face lift. Maybe these comments are driven by a desire to see more shiny technology in the course? Using Skype, ipads, interactive whiteboards and all that. If so, that would be like saying that somebody who wants to be a serious author needs to update their typing or IT skills, or else they'll never master written prose.

Anybody clarify what exactly is meant by this putative outdatedness?
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it will ever be about the content of the course. I think we can all agree upon that.

For me, and for many I know, it is the delivery of the course and the overload of information in such a short space of time. Some argue that it is a training course and thus will not have the atmosphere of a university. I don't see why a training course has to be 'militaristic' in nature either. I have done both academic studies and have trained as a plasterer. I didn't feel I couldn't question the trainer's actions or methods and they certainly didn't want 'to put me in my place.'

Now, I haven't done the CELTA but plan to, no, have to, as it is the standard qualification in this industry. One close friend, a celebrated PhD holder in languages told me if he had known of the stress of the course beforehand he would have never have done it (grade A pass mind). Another, a Cambridge grad, who did it in Cambridge, said he enjoyed it. Even the ones who recommend and swear by the course make it sound very indoctrinating.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. That's more specific, so thanks.

It does sound like having to work hard is the main issue there, though. Not sure that is outdated, but I think it should never be. Celta is intensive, and this is made very clear to all prospective trainees. If nose to the grindstone is a question, then don't do the course. But also, don't get involved in EFL either. I cannot imagine a trained plasterer would shrink from a little sweat.

As for questioning, trainees are supposed to reflect on their learning process. But call into question the very principles that underpin the course that trainees are taking is a total waste of time, for all concerned, so do not expect trainers to engage in lengthy debates as to why there needs to be more student to student interaction based on the target language in order to meet stated lesson aims. The reasons are made clear on the course, but the rationale is not up for debate. This is the same as a course, say, in driving or music. Certain basic ideas must simply be accepted, and mastered. The Celta is short as it is, and cannot afford to get bogged down in needless speculation.

As to that shortness of length, trainees are already paying out a fair sum of money. I doubt many people would be happy with a longer, and therefore more expensive, Celta.
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would a celebrated "PhD holder in languages" have had any need of a CELTA? It must've indeed come as a shock LOL.

Personally I think it is or will utimately become a matter of content. Quite apart from the factors I've mentioned in previous threads (which I don't wish to repeat here), am I the only one to sense a disconnect between the masses of online resources and apps now available to the learner, and the Canute-like image of the lone native-speaker or advanced-level teacher remaining almost a gatekeeper figure over flocks of sheeplike learners? Who then has to dash off the throne and into the dusty stacks to retain the mantle of chief informant.

Now I'm not saying that ELT has to become as much of a "slog" through the likes of Pleco and Anki as Chinese learning for example now seems, but there might well be a slight revolt going on nowadays between more independent-minded language learning generally, and older "authority"-driven teach(er train)ing. And one doesn't need to be an academic to sense or suggest that.

Anyway, just a thought!
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Sashadroogie



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers for that, Fluffy. A thought-provoking comment.

Not so sure that I'd go along with the 'gatekeeper' image though. Isn't Celta all about learner autonomy and student-centred lessons etc? Haven't language learners always used various teach-yourself materials, even before the Internet? No need for shiny apps or gizmos for independence. And yet, learners still seek out human teachers and classes to enhance their learning. I think this type of learning experience is, and will stay, popular because of the degree of human interaction it affords. Seems to complement human communication skills perfectly : )

In any case, it seems to me that it is not the language learners who find communicative language learning dated, but the would-be teachers. They don't like the training, it seems. Still, it would be interesting to hear what changes they think should be made to it.
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vabeckele



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
OK. That's more specific, so thanks.

It does sound like having to work hard is the main issue there, though. Not sure that is outdated, but I think it should never be. Celta is intensive, and this is made very clear to all prospective trainees. If nose to the grindstone is a question, then don't do the course. But also, don't get involved in EFL either. I cannot imagine a trained plasterer would shrink from a little sweat.

As for questioning, trainees are supposed to reflect on their learning process. But call into question the very principles that underpin the course that trainees are taking is a total waste of time, for all concerned, so do not expect trainers to engage in lengthy debates as to why there needs to be more student to student interaction based on the target language in order to meet stated lesson aims. The reasons are made clear on the course, but the rationale is not up for debate. This is the same as a course, say, in driving or music. Certain basic ideas must simply be accepted, and mastered. The Celta is short as it is, and cannot afford to get bogged down in needless speculation.

As to that shortness of length, trainees are already paying out a fair sum of money. I doubt many people would be happy with a longer, and therefore more expensive, Celta.


I knew this was the response I would get back and much of it is valid. Hard work is a very different experience from a young, non-academic newbie to an advanced PhD graduate trying to understand, absorb and deliver on every point made during the course (the CELTA is far more than an entry level course in regards to employment opportunities). How to get around this? I don't know.

My mind is inquisitive and must go through a process of elimination before I accept any principle. I am the kid who still put a length of copper wire into a socket to test the theory of electrocution (more than once). I'd rather have a music teacher or driving instructor especially a driving instructor, keep me calm, at least while on the steeper learning curve. Yes, much of teaching within ESL demands a lot of on your feet thinking. Should this be the case when learning theory and principles?

Finally, shouldn't one feel a sense of accomplishment other than, ' Jeez, I'm glad that's over'?

As for the length, I think a month to be about right for what it tries to do for the industry.

Anyway, much of what I write is out of fear, fear because this course is one with much debate attached to it - I would rather just get it over and done with. I can't really expect my argumentation to hold up if I haven't done it. I can only work upon anecdotal evidence.
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spiral78



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard the 'too short and too intense' argument for years now, but agree with Sasha that adding a week or two is economically unfeasible- and there is really nothing that can be omitted from the course. It might be interesting to add a pre-course week featuring basic grammar review and general on-paper intro to approaches and methods, but that shouldn't/wouldn't actually change the on-site course content - only enhance it.

I'd also like to throw in a mention of the element of trainers modeling good teaching practices - this exposure is invaluable and should be very obvious to the trainees.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:
Why would a celebrated "PhD holder in languages" have had any need of a CELTA? It must've indeed come as a shock LOL.

Personally I think it is or will utimately become a matter of content. Quite apart from the factors I've mentioned in previous threads (which I don't wish to repeat here), am I the only one to sense a disconnect between the masses of online resources and apps now available to the learner, and the Canute-like image of the lone native-speaker or advanced-level teacher remaining almost a gatekeeper figure over flocks of sheeplike learners? Who then has to dash off the throne and into the dusty stacks to retain the mantle of chief informant.

Now I'm not saying that ELT has to become as much of a "slog" through the likes of Pleco and Anki as Chinese learning for example now seems, but there might well be a slight revolt going on nowadays between more independent-minded language learning generally, and older "authority"-driven teach(er train)ing. And one doesn't need to be an academic to sense or suggest that.

Anyway, just a thought!


Yes, this seems to be another bone of contention, but I hadn't thought about how the actual mode of learning to have changed. Regardless, an autodidact isn't such a bad thing to be. This leads to the problem of having to take the CELTA because it legitimises a person (PhD holder) regardless of it's real worth. I guess today though this isn't much of an argument given the standard of education today.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vabeckele wrote:
...(the CELTA is far more than an entry level course in regards to employment opportunities).

Please elaborate.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
vabeckele wrote:
...(the CELTA is far more than an entry level course in regards to employment opportunities).

Please elaborate.


An entry level qualification that is expected on everyone's C.V.. To elaborate...one who has neglected to do this at an earlier stage will still have to answer questions as to why it hasn't been done. A case in point, a friend and I went to an interview together; I had a master's and no CELTA, he had a PhD (very related) and a CELTA. The interviewer seemed to neglect the degrees (and experience) but had very specific demands on having a CELTA.

The British Council asks to list experience after the CELTA. That's rough.
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Sashadroogie



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fears and anxiety are fairly typical in most Celta trainees. Nothing wrong with that. However, letting that fear cause disruption on the course is never going to help. You know it will be highly concentrated. You know you will eat, sleep, Celta for the duration. You know that you cannot allow any outside distractions while you are doing it.

Beyond that, what more it needed apart from listening to trainers and putting what they say into action? Not much, apart from slog. This will necessitate acknowledging that the trainers do know more than you do about ELT. But if this were not so, why be on the course? A PhD in linguistics does not automatically mean any experience or knowledge of teaching, by the way. The least successful trainees are nearly always the ones who believe that they know better and so can ignore basic feedback. As for pre-training experience, this is rightly dismissed by most schools as of little value in most cases. To enter the Celta labouring under the delusion that having taught for a spell beforehand means a free pass, is almost certain to lead to disappointment.

Sorry Vabeckele. Not aiming any of those comments at you. It's just I have seen so many episodes and upset like those mentioned above that I feel the need to tip off new trainees and spare them something similar. Approach the Celta with an open mind and a healthy work ethic, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards. Just, please don't stick any copper wire into any electric sockets : )
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