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CELTA or other cert for Vietnam
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Argofoto



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As per yours and what I have seen on the forums, it does not matter where you get your CELTA, as long as you get it. It is like the un-official license of the trade, not that there aren't other routes but the CELTA is the most respected route by a majority of schools worldwide. Perhaps in some countries this is not true but in East Asia it seems prevalent.

I would take the CELTA in either NYC or in Vietnam. I wonder how many people fly to Vietnam to take the CELTA as opposed to in their respective home country, and which method would be best for securing reputable employment (medium to high-end schools) not taking into consideration financial costs of the course.

Are there any schools in Vietnam that require a top CELTA grade (A) to gain employment?
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 393
Location: off the radar

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skarper wrote:
CELTA or equiv basically means a CELTA or a Trinity Cert Tesol. There are also DELTAs and Trinity Tesol Diplomas which are one step up - about on the same level of difficulty as an MA but with no research element.

Specialist EFL teaching certs and dips cover manifestly different material and methodology than normal school teaching qualifications. It's chalk and cheese really.

In many ways - what they teach you to do in school teaching is the opposite of what they teach you on a CELTA (or equiv). I've been involved in TEFL training and people with school teaching experience and training almost always struggle at first to break out of the schoolteacher mindset. Some do very well once they get the idea though.

Academic qualifications like MAs and PhDs are even less relevent to EFL teaching and some people with impressive academic ability and achievements don't make good EFL teachers.

One thing about EFL is the need to work with students who might have very low academic ability, but nonetheless need to learn some English.


So you're saying a 2 month hands-on DELTA is the same level of difficulty to that of an academic qualification of a Masters. Is it really possible to liken the two to each other?

The CELTA is a very very basic course which lightly touches on the many aspects of TEFL and basically uses a communicative methodology. I'd much rather have a Bachelor of Education than some Muppet course that anyone with the money and a heartbeat can pass. The CELTA is such a joke that CELTA trainers give passes to people and then inform the school where they did the course not to hire certain people. I think that sums CELTA up. Of course, some kind of basic qualification is needed, and Cambridge have done a good job of making themselves top dog. Anyone who has done the CELTA without a decent amount of prior teaching experience will realize when they hit the classroom how utterly unprepared they are, and if they are really honest, what a half-arsed amateur they really are. I think those with a TESOL degree are the only ones really ready for the classroom.

I have no idea why someone with an education degree would want to enter EFL when there are much better jobs at international schools.

I've heard this too, the "real" teachers struggle with the CELTA whilst empty vessels with no idea what they're doing get the nice Pass A's and B's and then proudly waltz into the classroom like they're some kind of Superteacher. What's a transitive verb? Duh? What's the passive voice? What? That wasn't on my CELTA course. What are some different methodologies you can use? Well, I can model and drill well and cut out nice activities from the book.....

Perhaps it's just me, but I found the comment about academic people not making good teachers quite sad. EFL is a case of good talkers who are likable being called good teachers, even though their knowledge of what they are actually doing is next to nil. They might have an arsenal of games and hit the back of the teachers book of New English File or Cutting Edge and there is their wonderful teaching plan and as they've provided some wonderful "edutainment", class feedback is fantastic.

Sorry about this negative rant, but I've been rather social lately and I've had the misfortune of meeting a rather large amount of teachers at some fairly prestigious mills, and all I can say is, I feel sorry for the poor people paying their fees.

CELTA is just a money spinner, it doesn't prepare you for the classroom at all. It's better than nothing, but not much better. It just might be the best of the bunch though and it does give you a job in Vietnam.

As for Mark's comments on ILA, I'd take them with a grain of salt. I find it highly unlikely that they "act like jerks" and considering CELTA trainers change over time, perhaps he just got a couple of trainers on a power trip.

@ Argofoto - I'd take the CELTA in Vietnam. You'll know what you're dealing with and if you're any good, your provider should headhunt you and give you employment. You won't need a Pass A but a Pass B will put you in good stead.
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LettersAthruZ



Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 458
Location: North Viet Nam

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Christ on a bike, kurtz....this may be the first thing that I have ever seen you post that I agree with......
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:18 pm    Post subject: Shot down in flames Reply with quote

I must also say, Kurtz, that was pretty succinct. A nice piece.
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Argofoto



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you please, can you help clarify between the international schools and EFL? Is that how one would compare for example Berlitz, or a similar institution, and a Hagwon?

I presume in a perfect world, one would be able to balance between the games of EFL and the classic academic regimen. Is this the case in Vietnam or is it very lop-sided basis where you go? If EFL and the international schools were on a seesaw in Vietnam, would they be close to the center fulcrum, or way out there?

I hope to find a place that has a balance for both, games and academia, though I doubt one can be very picky how to start in Vietnam or anywhere for that matter.
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 393
Location: off the radar

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Letterz - We agree on something, I find that rather disturbing.....

@ Vabeckele - I have my moments of clarity....

@ Argofoto - International schools = a primary or high school that employs teachers with actual degrees in education to teach subjects such as science. The packages can be very nice, you're seen as a professional and possibly get treated as one.

EFL schools eg. Apollo and ILA= Private language schools like a hagwon (I presume you've done time in Korea to know that word) that employs people with a degree in anything and a month long teaching certificate. The lower tier schools employ anyone with a working pulse, but even the better language schools in times of need will turn a blind eye sometimes and employ anyone. As they are run as a business, give the students what they want, entertainment. This isn't always the case, but considering most of them still live at home, have never been outside of the country or sometimes their city, their mentality and level of sophistication can be quite low and games are the order of the day.

If you can update your resume by doing extra courses, better jobs and a rewarding career is possible; if you're still kicking around in a mill after 5 years of teaching "this is a cat" to 7 year-olds, best to take up yoga or something as you've got next to no chance of gaining employment back home or bettering your lot in life.

Best of luck.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 758

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As for Mark's comments on ILA, I'd take them with a grain of salt. I find it highly unlikely that they "act like jerks" and considering CELTA trainers change over time, perhaps he just got a couple of trainers on a power trip.


It was actually Vabeckele who said:

Quote:
This acquaintance of mine who is 'overqualified' also has a CELTA - PASS A. He personally said it was a waste of his time and money - The trainers, he said, were a bunch of nazis.


Mark did not even mention the name “ILA” in this thread (until now). It might be interesting if Vabeckele could come back and clarify which provider he was referencing. As he has some recent and independent knowledge, I think that would be very helpful to all.

Just so you folks will know, I do a pretty good job of keeping up with events here, and if you search my previous writings on this subject, you will find that I state that ILA likely does the best job overall on the education part of the program. So it is not like a mean spirited attack. I just try to tell the whole story, which in my opinion is that these certs are primarily for becoming legally qualified. If you are going to be a very good teacher or a very poor one, sitting thru a one month course is not going to make a profound difference. So the issue for me was/is: as a paying customer who was essentially trading his money for this certification, what kind of treatment was I willing to accept? A young person who needs the cert to give himself the first clue on what he is doing, and who also needs some serious discipline in his life would have a totally different set of needs than what mine were.

I even make the honest point that there is some value in seeing how confused and disorganized things can be in VN, and going thru the craziness in the certification process can be a pretty good eye opener in that regard. It might convince some students to take the cert and go somewhere else after they are done.

Finally, if you have an urge to work at the school that does the certification, certainly taking it there gives you your best chance of getting in. They should have a very good idea of what you are all about, and if you meet their standards and they are hiring, you should have a good chance of employment there.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:12 pm    Post subject: Chalk and cheese Reply with quote

For everybody's reference, it was neither ILA or Apollo, nor was it in Vietnam.
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Argofoto



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, with a CELTA completed and networking, what are the chances of finding work at an international school in Vietnam? Also, I would presume taking CELTA in Vietnam would make this much more feasible.

Kurtz - I have not been to Korea, this would be my first time travelling to East Asia whilst teaching.

What I do is local volunteer tutoring one on one and small conversation groups, relatively light material involving no course work, as well as assisting in the language programs at the library. Perhaps this sounds more like what an EFL practitioner would do compared to an int'l school teacher, however I don't want to be doing this level forever.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:44 am    Post subject: Plethora of qualifications Reply with quote

Argofoto - You have the bachelor's degree, but unfortunately it is in the wrong subject. Most people working in international schools will have a bachelors degree in a specific field such as education or a degree concentrating on younger learners.

Having said that, quite a few schools, that are 'almost' international, might just see your bachelor's and a TESOL cert as qualified. They are normally of Asian/Vietnamese origin.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 293

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reply to Kurtz
Quote:
So you're saying a 2 month hands-on DELTA is the same level of difficulty to that of an academic qualification of a Masters. Is it really possible to liken the two to each other?


I agree they are not the same, but FENTO standards put them on the same basic level - albeit while recognising the differences.

MAs are more 'academic'. Diplomas are more practical. DELTA and Dip TESOLs have no research. MAs in TEFL have little of no classroom teaching.

To be accepted on a DELTA/Dip TESOL you are supposed to have 2 years post CELTA equiv work in the classroom - it is supposed to be in a reputable school - but how many schools qualify as reputable??

From my experience and this is shared by all the professional EFL teachers I know, DELTA equivalent teachers are usually pretty competent in the classroom. MA TEFLs can be downright incompetent. There are exceptions to both but most DOSes I've known will not even consider a teacher with an MA unless they have a CELTA and some solid experience already.

I have a PGCE too. Total waste of money and time - the blind misleading the blind. They are supposed to be a little better these days though, mine was over 25 years ago.

So I hope that clarifies what I meant. I'm not taking issue with the rest of your post BTW. Very fair comment I thought.
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 393
Location: off the radar

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skarper wrote:
Reply to Kurtz
Quote:
So you're saying a 2 month hands-on DELTA is the same level of difficulty to that of an academic qualification of a Masters. Is it really possible to liken the two to each other?


I agree they are not the same, but FENTO standards put them on the same basic level - albeit while recognising the differences.

MAs are more 'academic'. Diplomas are more practical. DELTA and Dip TESOLs have no research. MAs in TEFL have little of no classroom teaching.

To be accepted on a DELTA/Dip TESOL you are supposed to have 2 years post CELTA equiv work in the classroom - it is supposed to be in a reputable school - but how many schools qualify as reputable??

From my experience and this is shared by all the professional EFL teachers I know, DELTA equivalent teachers are usually pretty competent in the classroom. MA TEFLs can be downright incompetent. There are exceptions to both but most DOSes I've known will not even consider a teacher with an MA unless they have a CELTA and some solid experience already.

I have a PGCE too. Total waste of money and time - the blind misleading the blind. They are supposed to be a little better these days though, mine was over 25 years ago.

So I hope that clarifies what I meant. I'm not taking issue with the rest of your post BTW. Very fair comment I thought.


I was hoping to fit in a DELTA in the near future. Are you aware of what kind of positions this can open up? This being SE Asia, one would think just about anything would be possible, but knowing my limitations (not a good thing in this part of the world) I wouldn't want to aim too high too soon. I've heard the DELTA is very challenging so I might even put it off to when I feel more confident.

I've known DOSes who have an unrelated Masters and even in some cases, a newly minted CELTA. Some ACs have quite ordinary qualifications indeed and these are the people who have been observing me and my colleagues, an utter joke. Observations are fine, as long as they are done by qualified and experienced people, not by someone with 2 years teaching experience, no MA TESOL and no DELTA.

Why was your PGCE useless? Perhaps it was in an EFL context, but I'd love to be a proper school teacher, not an entertainer in an EFL school. I act as professional as I can, but things in EFL don't seem very professional, from my experience at least so far. Alas, full time study back home is out of the question.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 293

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DELTA/Dip TESOLs are a lot of work and you really have to demonstrate new skills and a range of techniques - not just a single formulaic CELTA clone lesson.

If you go through with a DELTA and pass (not an automatic result by any means but if you have good tutors and can do reading/essays and coursework you needn't feel daunted.)

Sadly, the days of DELTAs opening doors are pretty much over. Great for the middle east - but who wants to go there these days!?

British council likes them, but they also have a rather silly and convoluted set of criteria and hoops to jump through - and all for a rather mediocre wage considering.

The value of Dip TESOL/DELTAs is in reducing your workload. My pre-dip planning could be nearly infinite. Easily 2 hours per hour in class. DELTAs help you knock out good quality lessons in a lot less time 10-15 minutes per hour in class - or really reusable lessons in 2-3 hours per hour of class time - but those three hours will be used over and over again with minimal modifications. I have lessons that took maybe a total of 4 hours to design and tweak that I have taught maybe a hundred times.

A DELTA equiv mainly is for your own development rather than promotion. There really is nowhere to go in TEFL these days as a DOS/ADOS job is far more trouble than it's worth. But having said that a DELTA is usually what they want to see - or you don't want the job.

Most people I know who are seriously trying to carve themselves a secure TEFL niche are looking at university work in Korea/Japan or maybe elsewhere. For that you really need an MA. It's just a university thing - lecturers have MAs if not PhDs so that's what you have to do. I don't feel I'm cut out for University work - so I have no interest in such EFL qualifications.

Hope this helps.

My PGCE was in Maths for 11-18 year olds. Input was negligible from the lecturers in the university classes. Teaching practice was by immersion on a sink and swim basis. I was observed 3 times in total over 13 weeks. Once by a teacher who himself had just over a year of experience and once by the Head of dept who only saw half a lesson. Third time by my tutor from the university who basically said - OK that was fine...with no advice whatsoever.

They are better now I hear - more structured. Nothing I learned on this course was ever any use in EFL and wouldn't have been in school teaching. Miserable wasted year - except having a PGCE sometimes got me extra pay!
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:20 am    Post subject: CELTA and DELTA Reply with quote

kurtz wrote:

I was hoping to fit in a DELTA in the near future. Are you aware of what kind of positions this can open up? This being SE Asia, one would think just about anything would be possible, but knowing my limitations (not a good thing in this part of the world) I wouldn't want to aim too high too soon. I've heard the DELTA is very challenging so I might even put it off to when I feel more confident.

I've known DOSes who have an unrelated Masters and even in some cases, a newly minted CELTA. Some ACs have quite ordinary qualifications indeed and these are the people who have been observing me and my colleagues, an utter joke. Observations are fine, as long as they are done by qualified and experienced people, not by someone with 2 years teaching experience, no MA TESOL and no DELTA.

Why was your PGCE useless? Perhaps it was in an EFL context, but I'd love to be a proper school teacher, not an entertainer in an EFL school. I act as professional as I can, but things in EFL don't seem very professional, from my experience at least so far. Alas, full time study back home is out of the question.


I'm sorry to keep on jumping on your back, kurtz, I will try to stop it.

I have the same problem; I would love to beef up my resume with further study and qualification, but I suffer from lack of confidence and the questioning, not the content itself, but the level of competence of trainers delivering the course.

Many people need to be surrounded be a highly structured environment, heck, some like to be disciplined publicly. I do not. I am pretty sure I would lose my temper, perhaps do something regretful and fail the course.

I have never needed 4 hours of prep for an ESL lesson. I have for university courses and do so regularly, but never for ESL. It is of my personal opinion if anyone needs to prep for 4 hours for a 1.5 hour ESL class is surely 'over-thinking' the whole shebang - and then change to a 10 minute lesson plan strategy after two months. There was something fishy before that needed fixing that no cert can rectify.

One needs to be careful; professional development that would see me working in the ESL industry after obtaining the credentials to teach in reputable international schools around the world, to end up teaching in an industry that will not reward any personal dev. is not a path I want to go down. I love ESL, and I have to be mindful of what is really necessary.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 293

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lest I am confusing more than I elucidate I'll explain my '4 hour lesson prep' statement.

This is not planning how to teach a coursebook lesson. Or a basic lesson you've already taught that you're happy with. This is 'building' a lesson from scratch.

What to teach - what resources/materials need to be found or made. Finding or writing the exact text you want. Possibly finding or making a recording/video. Searching for and printing out pictures. Laminating cards. Designing and proofing the worksheets needed. It's a lot of work.

The 4 hours might be 1-2 hours to rough it out. Then try it on some students once or twice. Improving or perhaps dramatically repairing the basic plan might take another 1-2 hours, and fine tuning it over the next few weeks might take another hour or two. The devil really is in the detail and it might never be 'finished'. But what you have is a unique lesson that you have confidence in and that you will be able to use over and over again.

Really - there is a world of difference between the amateur hack work that passes for EFL in Vietnam, Japan, Korea and many other places and what proper professional EFL could and should be.

I don't begrudge beginners their learning years - everyone starts from zero. So much of good EFL practice is counterintuitive - teacher explanations are seldom any use for example, as is PPP.

But neither is it rocket science. Good teachers can be 'trained' from any flexibly minded person with reasonable social skills and moderate intelligence.

One of the downsides of becoming a good teacher is that you become unemployable by many of the average and worse schools - you become the teacher no-one can follow without complaints mounting up. The one the DOS is scared to observe in case all they have to say afterwards is 'wow'!

There has - I reckon - been a successful campaign waged by the industry as a whole to deskill the teaching profession. When CELTAs started they were meant as 'initiation' level qualifications - but this somehow has become the last qualification teachers get, often after several years of learning on the job.

Also many dodgy operators get into offering in house CELTAs to produce a steady supply of fresh meat who will be ready to work for peanuts and toe the company line.

One of the problems some people have on CELTAs and DELTAs (or equiv) is that they can't take criticism. There just isn't time to sugar coat it and it can be a problem with the format of a 4 week CELTA in particular. The same goes for DELTA level were you often have a lot of very bad habits that have to be broken or you will not pass. It's a practical course. They basically have a range of methodologies that work and you are expected to employ them - not try to invent your own pet theories. Perhaps there is more scope for that on an MA as part of the research.

The failure rate on CELTAs is very low - about 10% I think. BUT - the drop out rate is nearer 50% overall. The workload is too much for many people and the stress of planning, teaching and being assessed on TP for a total of 6 hours in 4 weeks is just too much for quite a few people. An awful lot of people also pass who should really fail. You often have to get an A or B grade to be considered for a lot of jobs.

I shouldn't really start on these topics cos I never know when to stop! Have a good Sunday.
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