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CELTA - Chaing Mai

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Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 137

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:01 am    Post subject: CELTA - Chaing Mai Reply with quote

Last year I and another couple of students had a terrible time at the IH CELTA Course (Boot Camp) in Chaing Mai

Please feel free to e-mail me

1. If you have been treated badly on any CELTA course (I know there are many people that feel this)

2. If you would like any details of my bad experiences.

I would love to help potential teachers go in the right direction when it comes to teacher training courses. Something that will benefit them all their lives instead of leaving nasty scars.
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Joined: 17 Jan 2006
Posts: 390
Location: BKK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some people have difficulties adopting the CELTA way. CELTA couses require you to do things the CELTA way. Do this and you should do fine in the course. Stray from the CELTA approved way of things and you will most certainly run into trouble with any CELTA course.

Sorry you had a bad experience.

What experience/knowledge do you have with other TEFL/TESOL providers that you could help people choose a course? (serious question)
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Joined: 15 Jan 2010
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I look forward to the IH CELTA course I'm taking next month in Chiang Mai. From the research I've done on the course, I expect the workload to be immense. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up.
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Joined: 21 Mar 2009
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IH has an excellent reputation and the CELTA course in Chiang Mai has been praised often.

Your quote about 'boot camp' suggests the immense workload and committment you were required to have by the instructors took you by surprise.

Were you expecting a 4 week holiday in the lovely Chiang Mai?

Perhaps you just failed to fully research before setting off on your travels.
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Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 295
Location: The Big Mango

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:18 am    Post subject: Agree Reply with quote


IH CELTA is praised a lot in the various website posts. Some other providers get a lot of bad press.

The CMai IH "boot camp" is said to be a very pretty place, but 45 min away from the city. This discourages partying and puts the onus upon people to work solidly for a month.

I did my CELTA at IH London (OK, nearly 20 yrs ago). I was a free spirit, and I hated the "culture". Despite having two degrees, and being successful in my other career, I was quite shocked at my inability to cope. My teaching practice was lousy, and it took me weeks to feel comfortable. The tutors wanted things done their way, or no way. One person quit, and another failed the course. I scraped a normal C pass, and was told that I still needed to work hard.. or don't bother with TEFL.

Another world--TEFL. Hated it, but things improved with time. "Early days", when you are new.

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Joined: 06 Jul 2009
Posts: 4
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a Celta course at ECC in CM.

After the first week students young educated students, some with very good teaching experience were in a state of shock and very stressed.

Being old and with three masters degrees, Police service and far to many years in business I quickly realised that the course was not really about producing good teachers.

I stayed with the course to examine what was going on (and I had paid for the accommodation). Boot camp as described by other contributors is dead right - break them down (set assignments on subjects not yet studied and the require resubmissions), now you have your subjects shell shocked so you slowly build them up and by week four they are like the wife who loves her husband again because he has stopped beating her. Thereafter it is a marvelous course because you have survived it.

I withdrew on the last day - I didn't need a CELTA as I have no desire to teach outside Asia and already had a TEFL International Cert. (a far superior course which covered more topics but I believe all the tutors I had have now moved on).

Whilst the teachers were very talented people it was the worst teaching method I have ever witnessed. Only do it if you really need a CELTA and are a masochist.

Happy ending - I am now teaching business at a Thai University.javascript:emoticon('Very Happy')
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Joined: 11 Feb 2009
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jeepers,

Above you say that in doing the CELTA you witnessed the worst teaching methods ever. Can you say specifically which methods you thought were bad?

I am very familiar with the CELTA, and I have done a TEFL certificate and an MA TESOL so I am able to compare it with other relevant qualifications.

When I interview candidates for positions at my school, I always ask them the details of their certificate courses. There are in fact many odd courses out there: ones which focus on trainees writing their own materials (i.e., they never use course books) including dialogs, and ones whose teaching consists almost entirely of team teaching. Also, some provide the trainees with only one model for lesson design, often something like PPP (presentation, practice, production).

For more on this, see this link about TEFL International:

The CELTA, IMO, has more going for it because it builds teachers' understanding of TESOL methodology. It does not offer just one lesson framework, but several, and it has trainees use existing course books which they adapt and use in their teaching practice. Further, the course includes observations of peers and experienced teachers, teaching practice, input sessions and regular homework assignments. Finally, the input sessions cover the basics, like languge awareness, methods and materials, and teaching skills.

The CELTA is a highly standardized course, and it is externally assessed by Cambridge. It is very unfortunate indeed if trainees are put down or made to feel inadequate. Teaching is a very personal endeavor and I wonder if some are more sensitive and less open to criticism than others. Although I have interviewed candidates who were disgruntled over their CELTA course, by and large, they say that it was a challenging and rewarding experience.

All that being said, I can agree that the CELTA is not for everyone. Like it or not, though, it is the most widely respected entry-level TESOL certificate.
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Joined: 17 Jan 2006
Posts: 390
Location: BKK

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As has been mentioned already, like or not, the CELTA course is the most recognized TEFL certificate worldwide and a requirement of many employers in many countries. A certficate from most other TEFL providers in Thailand is worthless outside of Thailand and a few other SE Asian countries.

TEFL international is a decent organization, but has also had its share of problems in the past. I find that a lot of their reputation is based on a particular trainer once based in Thailand who has not worked their for a few years now. They are a good option for anyone looking to teach in Thailand

The key to a good course is the TRAINER(S). Anyone looking to take a TEFL course should ask a lot of questions about the trainers and ask for their qualifications and experience. A good course will allow you to speak with the trainers before the course to essentially interview them. And why not, you are paying them for a service, you should be confident in your decision.

Jeepers, I'm not really clear about your issues with the course in Chiang Mai.

1. Set assignments not yet studied - You are expected to to a little work on your own, just as you would with any good course in any subject. A good course will provide the resources necessary for teachers to do a little homework and research and present assignments.

2. Required resubmissions - I would think the ability to resubmit work that is not correct to be a bonus. Would you rather that they failed teachers if the first try at an assignment wasn't great?

3. You are absolutely right, no 4 week course will produce good teachers. Many people study for 4 years at Univeristy for a Bachelors degree in Education and still requitre a lot of time to put what they have learned into practice and find out what works and doesn't in certain situations. TEFL courses are about introducing non-teachers to a variety of basic strategies and theories related to ESFL/EFL teaching. It is up to the teacher to take that BASIC knowledge and build on it to become "good" teachers. It is the first step in a long road to becoming a "good" teacher. I beleive that the wording on the CELTA pass certificates states that the graduate is capable, but will require guidance and further training (something like that anyway).

4. The CELTA course is notoriously stressful and hard work, and why not. You are essentially taking a 1 year course in 4 weeks. CELTA is a brand and in order to keep their repuatation, they have to be able to weed out those who are not willing or capable of following/finishing the course. Just like a Univeristy with a good reputation (ie Cambridge) wants their graduates to be respresenting them once in the the job market.

5. On my course, I found that the older (as you said you are) students (and experienced teachers) had a much more difficult time adapting to doing things a prescribed way (set in thier ways perhaps). Also many students who had been removed from a classroom for many years perhaps forgot how stressful and difficult studying a complex subject with a ton of theory can be.

6. Just becuase a course covers more topics does not make it a better course IMO.

I find it a bit odd to spend money on a course only to drop out on the last day. Were you perhaps aware that you wouldn't be passing and dropped out to save face? (serious question). Based on my research, on many courses, students will drop out if they are aware they will not pass and with the CELTA course it is pretty clear at the end whether you will be passing or not.

I think comparing a 4 week TEFL course to being beaten by an abusive husband is a tad uncouth.

So in the end. DO your homework before you take a TEFL course. Ask lots of questions.

Good luck.
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Joined: 15 Jan 2010
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:30 pm    Post subject: IH CELTA Course in Chiang Mai Reply with quote

Nearly a month has past since I finished taking the course. Although it was the hardest course I've ever taken because it's so accelerated and if you don't plan and execute lessons the CELTA way you'll fail, it was a great experience. Rufus and Percy, the trainers, are excellent teachers and nice guys as well. Before the course I was afraid all the input sessions would end up being monotonous, but thank goodness they weren't. They were interesting because the nature of the content was so relevant and practical, sometimes I'd learn something during a session and I'd be able to utilize the info. for the lesson I had to teach the next night, and the input sessions were often fun due to the kinaesthetic activities our trainers had cooked up.

I recommend this course to anyone who is interested in gaining a CELTA and growing as a teacher. Staying at Nugent is a good way to go. Clarence, the owner, and Aree, the manager/his wife, are really nice and accommodating. Jaree, the admin., is really nice and helpful too.
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