CELTA Course Questions

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CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby Matthew » 29 Mar 2009, 16:50

Hello all.

I am totally new to this forum as well as TEFL and was hoping that someone would be kind enough to answer a couple of (possibly naive) questions for me.

I am planning on taking a CELTA qualification as a overdue career change (with a view to teaching in Japan) at New College Nottingham (NCN) in Nottingham this year.

I have chosen the course in Nottingham because, firstly, it is a 5 week CELTA course as opposed to 4 and I feel the extra week would be beneficial to me. Secondly, it includes a PTTLS qualification as part of the course (if I come back to UK, I intend to continue my teaching) and finally, I live on my own in my own house in Nottingham and felt that the familiar surroundings would be a beneficial contributory factor in the intense ‘out of hours’ studying required from the course.

Could anyone answer or give their opinions/thoughts on a few things please.

1.) Regarding the reasons I give above, am I considering the right things or are there others I should be looking at regarding choice of course?

2.) Has anyone taken their CELTA at New College Nottingham and/or does anyone have any knowledge of the quality of the course there?

3.) I also considered studying in London and wondered if there a measurable advantage to taking a CELTA qualification in London regarding (in certain cases) quality and possible ‘kudos’ associated with relevant London schools?

4.) Although I have travelled a lot, I have lived in Nottingham all my life (I am in my mid 30’s). Is this considered a ‘negative’ in any way to prospective employers as opposed to someone who has shown more extensive ‘mobility’ in their life?

I am 100% committed to this career change and any help and advice anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.
Matthew
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby KevinUK » 29 Mar 2009, 18:31

Crikey nswharvey,

I don't want to sound rude but you seem a little bitter.

Matthew,

I'm also looking into teaching English abroad and getting certified. I would do a CELTA course but the colleges here in the West Midlands do not start the courses until September and I do not want to wait that long so I'm looking at applying for an online certified course.

If you can get a CELTA qualification, do so, as this will be valueable in applying for jobs abroad. This is what I've learnt from doing my reasearch. These forums and others similar are full of information regarding starting out in TEFL. I'm still reading through a lot of them and undecided which to take.

Hope this helps.

Kevin
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby Alex Case » 29 Mar 2009, 22:31

I have to basically agree with nswharvey. Although like any kind of teaching there are schools where you will get better training, it is notoriously difficult to find out which CELTA course will be best unless you have observed the trainers in action or something. There are slight kudos to IH London, but getting a B anywhere is worth much more. And anyway, as nswharvey said TEFL in England is no kind of a career and TEFL abroad is in no way useful to get a job back home when you've finished with it. A PGCE is therefore much more useful, but if you are stuck on Japan it won't get you any further than a CELTA as it is virtually impossible to get an international school job without being there and having contacts, and its use will only become obvious several years down the line.
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby Alex Case » 29 Mar 2009, 23:08

On the positive side:

I know from experience that I am incapable of working in an office, planning my career, sticking at the same job for 5 years or staying in the UK for the rest of my life, but through TEFL I have eventually found jobs through which I can live abroad, support me and my wife, save a little every month, and (most of the time) find satisfaction in my work
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby Matthew » 30 Mar 2009, 00:47

nswharvey wrote:TEFL is not a career and definitely not in UK. TEFling in Nottingham would pay what, 18 000 a year.


Sorry, my fault, I think I need to clarify. I am quite open to where in the UK I will teach. From your reply it seems best to have TEFL as a part time/extra source of income option in the UK.

nswharvey wrote:I have never heard of this PTTLS-whatever it is it cannot be worth much if you can get it on a 5 week course.


PTTLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) is a C&G qualification. Granted it is a very, very basic entry level qualification, but apparently it is a minimal requirement for any type of training, teaching etc now. It seems to cost a couple of hundred pounds done separately (seems to be a two week intensive) and as the majority of the course content exists already within the CELTA syllabus, it is offered inclusive of the CELTA qualification. Just thought it might be better to have it, if it’s there anyway on the course.

http://www.cityandguilds.com/cps/rde/xc ... 17976.html

nswharvey wrote:It would be helpful if you let us know what you did before and my advice is if it pays more than 18 000 stick with it.


At the moment I am working in media/design for Local Government. Not great pay, but with lack of job satisfaction and without dependencies, money is not the top priority at the moment. It also provides me with skills to fall back on in the UK.

nswharvey wrote:Have you thought about doing a PGCE-that is the way to go.


I will look into it, thanks. Many thanks for your opinions.

Appreciate your time.
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby Matthew » 30 Mar 2009, 00:54

Alex Case wrote:On the positive side:

I know from experience that I am incapable of working in an office, planning my career, sticking at the same job for 5 years or staying in the UK for the rest of my life, but through TEFL I have eventually found jobs through which I can live abroad, support me and my wife, save a little every month, and (most of the time) find satisfaction in my work


Many thanks for your reply Alex (especially the last one!) It seems that if or when I return, I will probably have to rely on my other skills (I am currently in media/design) for a main income job.

Thanks again.
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby systematic » 30 Mar 2009, 03:25

Hi Matthew,

As you don't mention it, we are probably assuming that you already have a university degree. If you don't, you are in for a bumpy ride, the prospects of getting good employment will be practically nill, and there will almost certainly be no opportunities for advancement - as Harvey-Gormullah has found out much to his distress, dismay, disillusionment, and depression.
Do bear in mind that TEFL is not restricted to teaching in schools - there are plenty of opportunities for teaching ESP to adults on in-company training programmes, particularly in the hospitality industry.

Here is my POV on a couple of your questions:
Matthew wrote:1.) Regarding the reasons I give above, am I considering the right things or are there others I should be looking at regarding choice of course?

At £500 you may wish to consider whether the extra expense for a PTTLS is worth it for a TESOL job. Although recognised by the British government, and will be required for teaching in state schools and on government sponsored courses it is almost totally unknown outside the UK where it would be irrelevant. Practically all the skills you need for teaching English will be acquired on your CELTA course.
The PTTLS replaced a [url]City & Guilds[/url] course, which sites it academically as a sort of upper level vocational school qualification, although some levels may equate to a degree. The PTTLS is available at 5 levels. Level 5 is claimed to an equivalent to the PGCE, although how that works without a degree is unclear.
Do note that it will be extremely difficult to convince a foreign school or immigration authority into accepting any qualification that may well have a recognised degree equivalence.

For more information on the PTTLS you could try to obtain a copy of Achieving Your PTTLS Qualification: A Practical Guide to Successful Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector by Mary Francis and Jim Gould

Matthew wrote:2.) Has anyone taken their CELTA at New College Nottingham and/or does anyone have any knowledge of the quality of the course there?

As others have stated, a genuine CELTA is a CELTA, wherever you take its course, or your certificate on job hunting with you. With well known courses offered by multiple providers, the only checking recruiters will do is on the authenticity of the certificate.
I once interviewed a candidate for a job who proudly claimed to be a CELTA graduate. he had been duped by a Canadian scam. The acronym on the certificate was indeed 'CELTA' but closer examination revealed that it stood for something else. The course is advertised as 'guranteed delivered to international CELTA standards.'

Matthew wrote:4.) Although I have travelled a lot, I have lived in Nottingham all my life (I am in my mid 30’s). Is this considered a ‘negative’ in any way to prospective employers as opposed to someone who has shown more extensive ‘mobility’ in their life?
The short answer is No. Employers are generally far more interested in what you have done rather than where you did it. However, when seeking employment in the UK, previous foreign experience may be conidered an advantage.

And here are some expansions and additions of other elements that Alex has introduced:

Japan:
Alex is most qualified to provide further information on working in the developed countries of Asia.
Thailand:
I quote Thailand because it's where I live and work, and it's fairly representative of the situation in the region. A degree is required by law here. TEFL certification is additionally required by many schools, but certainly not all. Salaries range from 25,000 - 35,000 baht full-time or around 300 - 450 per teaching hour. Teachers without degrees (illegal) might be offered 17,500 - 25,000, or from 200 - 250 per hour part-time in back-street cram schools that often don't care who they employ.
At the better schools, private, international, or charity (such as those governed by the St Gabriel's Foundation), the salary scales start at around 60,000 baht. A great many schools, even those with as many as 2 - 3,000 student will only have resources to pay one or two native speaker teachers. Only the schools and institutes with a substantial foreign staff will employ a DoS, and then still some schools don't have one. The salary for a Western DoS can be anything from 40,00 - 120,000.
A job in a private mainstream school, will certainly provide the spin-off for well paid private one-to-one tuition, but only for teachers who are well liked by the students and who appear to perform well. The students choose the teacher whom they wish to approach for private lessons. In government schools, the parents can rarely afford private tuition.

I have had a long career in education, much of which was permanently concerned with TESOL. I started my life in a very different (and better paid) industry, but never regretted going back to college as an adult and opting for an academic profession. For the last ten years in Thailand I have earned as much, if not more, than I would have done in equivalent positions in the UK or Europe, and enjoyed a cost of living of around a quarter. At conferences around the world, I have been offered better paid jobs by people I have met, but I am quite happy to stay in Thailand where I have built my own house and constructing a small seminar facility.

A degree and a CELTA will also often get you a job in a university abroad where the work and hours are less demanding, but where the basic salaries may be less interesting. Extra work is however well paid - in Thailand I found myself doing extra lectures for part-time students for three hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings for 1,000 baht per hour, almost doubling my basic salary. There are also opportunities for offering your own courses to the university programmes, that will gain extra pay, and private tuition. University contracts pay the salaries through the whole year including the long vacations. Many schools don't.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby systematic » 30 Mar 2009, 15:00

[deleted by Systematic]
Last edited by systematic on 31 Mar 2009, 11:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby odyssey » 30 Mar 2009, 17:21

systematic wrote:
nswharvey wrote:You may have no dependants now but that could change in a few years.

dependant n. (US dependent) a person who relies on another esp. for financial support (Concise Oxford Dictionary)
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby Matthew » 30 Mar 2009, 20:01

Thank you ‘systematic’ for your in depth reply.

systematic wrote:As you don't mention it, we are probably assuming that you already have a university degree.


Yes I do, although in Fine Art, it seems a degree is a degree when getting on CELTA courses. Presumably the type of degree isn’t relevant only in circumstances where it is directly related to the type of teaching you are providing (e.g. privately in business, health etc)?

systematic wrote:At £500 you may wish to consider whether the extra expense for a PTTLS is worth it for a TESOL job.


Apologies, I was probably unclear. The PTTLS qualification is inclusive of the course price (as it seems to be in a lot of colleges offering CELTA) and runs parallel with the CELTA (with the observation, literacy etc. side of things presumably being combined with the CELTA). Presumably, the college receives funding for it and if they incorporate it into a CELTA course (which covers the vast majority of the syllabus of the PTTLS), they still get the funding for it and not have to run a completely separate course. The CELTA I am looking at (taking into account the extra week) is a bit more than other CELTA courses but cheaper than IH. Although I am aware that it would be probably useless outside of the UK, thought it might be beneficial to have one if I return to the UK. Although I noted its ‘low level’ status, I think I overestimated its advantages. I will check out the book you mentioned. Thanks.

systematic wrote:Employers are generally far more interested in what you have done rather than where you did it.


I have done three years part time (one night a week) teaching web page design and semi-regularly train (in an unofficial capacity) at my current work place. Hopefully that will be of some benefit to me somehow.

Many thanks for the background information. Very much appreciated.
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby systematic » 31 Mar 2009, 03:21

Thanks for the extra information on the little known PTTLS. AS the CELTA is offered by a division of Cambridge University, it is quite possible that the government has accorded a PTTLS equivalence to it.
By contrast however, the PGCE is widely known and recognised abroad as a professional teaching qualification and would most probably make a CELTA superfluous. A PGCE course mainly focuses on developing your teaching skills, and not on the subject you intend to teach. nevertheless, you are expected to have a good understanding of your subject. It requires one year of full-time study, but is also offered as a 2-year part-time course. It is also suitable for mature students who have decided to become teachers after a period in another occupation or a career break.In some cases, government funding is available.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby Matthew » 02 Apr 2009, 22:46

Many thanks to everyone who has given me advice and their opinion.

I think I maybe just over analysed things and will just bite the bullet and just go for the local course. Research is good (and necessary), but sometimes too much research and analysis can just muddy the water and put off any decision (I haven't even passed the flippin' thing yet!!!). I think that sentence made sense...

Again, thanks for all the information.

Much appreciated.
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Re: CELTA Course Questions

Unread postby Matthew » 02 Apr 2009, 23:41

Thanks for the advice Systematic.

systematic wrote:Thanks for the extra information on the little known PTTLS. AS the CELTA is offered by a division of Cambridge University, it is quite possible that the government has accorded a PTTLS equivalence to it.

After doing some more research, and to shed some further light on PTTLS, apparently the PTTLS comes in two 'flavours'. The one associated with the CELTA is not the generic City and Guilds one, but the Cambridge ESOL PTLLS (see http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/teac ... t_lls.html). According to the Cambridge website, the Cambridge ESOL PTLLS is "embedded in the 120-hour CELTA course."

And you will be please to know that according to Cambridge "candidates with CELTA have already completed some of DTE(E)LLS". You need a Degree to just keep up with these acronyms...

This probably wouldn't change people’s views on the PTTLS, but I though I would update my information on it.
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