Hamline TEFL or CELTA

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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby Alex Case » 17 Oct 2010, 07:59

I'm not saying that you are likely to get sacked. Any pressure you feel to do well will, it is true, have to come from yourself. Sure, take the plunge. Taking the plunge is doing the CELTA!

It sounds much more like your friends are Assistant Language Teachers, sometimes known as "human tape recorders", rather than teachers who are put in charge of a class on their own.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby Jo » 17 Oct 2010, 13:23

Judging from everything you've written and the way you've written it, I'd be VERY surprised if you failed the CELTA. So I wouldn't let that into the calculation. Yes, there IS a possibility of failing the CELTA, but it's only of the order that Alex described. And that is partly attributable to the fact that they don't accept Tom, Dick and Harry to do the course in the first place, as you seem to have gathered from your interview. Since world-wide recognition of your certificate was I seem to recall one of your main criteria, I would go for the CELTA. And btw, as I've written elsewhere, I would never let the promise of a job influence my decision about training. Good luck, anyway, with whatever you decide.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby MNProspect » 17 Oct 2010, 16:43

A big thank you to both Josef and Alex for offering the responses on this thread. I greatly appreciate it, gentlemen.

I do not know which program I will choose but your advice has given me a lot to think about.

Cheers
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby systematic » 29 Oct 2010, 08:43

I took to teaching like a duck to water and it was one of the least stressful episodes of my entire career. It started to become a challenge when the focus of my work moved up from the blackboard jungle to the circus director's office. Trying to tame or having to fire some of the worthless hangers on who got into the profession before the schools started clamping down and demanding some form of qualifications. Being met with threats of violence, school furniture smashed up in anger, attempts to set fire to the free accommodation, popping cocktails of every known designer drug and home-grown weed during the dinner hour, and teachers lying in foetal positions, stoned as lords on the floor of classroom s full of 8-year olds by 2:30 pm; having to throw out the paedos while trying to save the school's reputation, and chairing government meetings on language syllabus reform. Been there, done that, got enough T-shirts to fill Michael Jackson's wardrobe.
One of the problems is that many of the cheaper TEFL courses are still letting those kinds of individuals loose on children. Uni degrees are ten-a-penny these days and are worthless as a character reference.

Been in TEFL for 30 years. I'm thinking of writing a book about it - in installments on TEFL.net of course...
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby MNProspect » 29 Oct 2010, 14:31

I appreciate that perspective, sir.

A few other things that are helping me make my decision...

1) Hamline's courses count as academic credit. At the graduate level. They can be applied toward future Hamline degrees or they can be transferred to another institution. And it's significant. Eight semester credits.

2) I must say I take offense to the phrase "Uni degrees are ten-a-penny these days and are worthless as a character reference." Huh. So for those who complete B.A.s from reputable private colleges or major public research universities, they just haven't done enough to prove that either A) they have ambition/ability, or B) have the necessary work ethic and discipline required to finish degrees from these reputable schools?

Ah, yeah. I guess nobody on here has heard of Hamline University. Fine. I'm not an alumna. I'm not selling their program. But they are in the same athletic conference and same general academic "playing field" as my alma mater. Hamline has an outstanding reputation in this region. As I said, it has its own graduate school and a law school (two things my alma mater does not have).

I find it very interesting that people across different forums want to talk about TEFL certification and everybody agrees that there is no way to accredit these programs and no way to standardize the quality of education offered among them--including among CELTA programs. Yet, I continue to run into people who tell me to just do the CELTA because it's the most "recognizable" cert in the world. Yeah, I suppose that's true. And I suppose every employer here in the States would prefer that they get a graduate from the Ivy League, MIT, Cal-Tech, Stanford, or Berkley.

The school that I am getting my master's from is not one of those schools, but it's about as close as anyone is going to get. It's a reputable, major research public institution. One of the largest in the country. So you're telling me that if I manage to finish a grad degree from this place with a 3.7 GPA, that I don't have the "character" necessary to teach? Maybe I am putting words into your mouth.

Anyhow, back to Hamline. I am strongly leaning towards Hamline at this point because they are charging me $3300 for a program that has a structure very similar to the CELTA. And oh by the way, I am getting graded for these courses. There is the possibility of failing. I will be receiving academic credit, UNLIKE THE CELTA (!), so when I come back or choose to come back in a few years, I can roll those credits and some of my other grad credits into a K-12 licensure master's and teach here in the States. There cannot possibly be a better training/teacher exposure program than ESL. And if ESL is great, if I am good at it, then I will stay over there (Korea, Vietnam, wherever). And then I can apply my academic credits from Hamline toward an MA in TEFL. CAN'T DO THAT WITH A CELTA, FOLKS!

So go on and keep telling everybody that the CELTA is the course for everybody and it's the only way to prepare, to get properly trained, to be certified. That's unfortunate, but I guess CELTA truly has achieved accreditation "by default." It's the only worthy program that is franchised around the globe and rubber stamped by Cambridge. Nice. Yeah, I'm certain that every CELTA franchisee is holding to those rigid standards. And I cannot wait to spring $4,000 (all expenses included) to fly somewhere and find out.

Or I could just take the TEFL cert course from Hamline right here in town where they offer legitimate, genuine academic credits through their school of education which actually is accredited by an independent national body that oversees education standards for this country.

Wow. This decision is getting easier every day.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby systematic » 29 Oct 2010, 15:59

It's not our fault that CELTA is as much a household word in TESOL as Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford are to universities. It is though, and that's why so many scam course providers violate the Fair Trade Description Act with hype such as 'Our courses are CELTA level internationally accredited'

A university degree is without any doubt whatsoever a highly respected benchmark of academic achievement. The ten-a-penny means that since countries such as the UK and Thailand have allowed all kinds of tertiary establishments to call themselves 'university' and issue degrees, and the fact now that the number of school leavers that go on to tertiary education has increased dramatically over the last 20 - 30 years, the number of degree holders has increased accordingly. I can assure you that the creeps I have had to fire were all holders of at least a BA, and some of them from universities that are household names.

One of the safest and most reliable kinds of TESOL certificate courses after the renowned CELTA ,and Trinity Cert., are the courses provided by university departments, rather than establishments operating from someone's private house near the beach on Ko Samui, or online from a cloud server without a street address. But beware again, there are stand-alone TESOL institutes operating from rented shop space on large university campuses, and their hype blatantly leads one to believe that they are part of the university. No names, no pack-drill, but we have solid first-hand proof here.

However, no one here has said anything against Hamline. Although it's virtually unknown outside the USA, it is a highly regarded private institution, registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby MNProspect » 30 Oct 2010, 02:01

Again, thanks for chiming in here, "systematic," and offering your insight. It is at least somewhat unique from what the other experienced ESL people have offered on this thread.

I'm not blaming anybody for CELTA's brand awareness. I understand the circumstances. I get what you're saying about organizations calling themselves "universities" and all that. We have those here in the States -- some consider "The University of Phoenix" or "Capella University" (headquartered in Minnesota I add) as somewhat or outright scam schools. Be assured, I want nothing to do with such organizations. And aside from the US Military, I don't know of any company here in the States that recognizes these online "universities" in the same league as brick-and-mortar unis. And that is putting it mildly.

Here are some more of my concerns regarding the CELTA and how they are partially alleviated by Hamline:

1) I have read online of reports that students in CELTA programs get treated differently because they look differently. Or because they have certain dispositions. In other words, just because somebody is beautiful or is especially outgoing, they get preferential treatment.

2) I've read quite varying reports of exactly how "standardized" CELTA schools truly are. After all, isn't the point of Cambridge getting involved so that these "schools" maintain appropriate standards and benchmarks to equip their graduates with a certain level of aptitude? In other words, if Cambridge never invented the CELTA, would these schools maintain these "standards?" It was put to me by one person this say (paraphrasing): "some schools need guidelines for their programs and need the external validation for their programs to be of quality and to be recognized as legitimate." The implication is that SOME schools that offer TEFL certifications do not need Cambridge's seal of approval.

3) What is the track record of the particular school that is offering the CELTA? What do I really know about this school? Take IH Budapest as an example, since it is the one where I hold a place as a potential CELTA student. I don't know anything about IH Budapest. Is there some accreditation body within Hungary that goes into this school and examines its teaching methods, interviews its faculty members, and judges it for credibility? Is there a reputable body in the EU that does this? What do we know about this organization? This is merely an example. The same applies to every CELTA-approved "school."

Now then...

To Hamline.

In order to be accredited by the body that does so for Hamline, they have to undergo scrutiny from MN state regulators and maintain guidelines outlined by The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Look them up. Not just anybody can walk into a K-12 school in the States and teach. Teachers must be licensed by the state's board of education. Hamline's School of Education produces graduates every year that teach in Minnesota and other states. This is the SAME SCHOOL that is teaching this TEFL cert course!

What I am trying to say is that anybody who wants to know anything about the legitimacy of Hamline need only take a look at the organizations that accredit Hamline and see what they demand of Hamline. Having worked in higher education at one of the largest public research institutions in the world (the same place I'm getting my master's from), I can assure you that every department that gets examined must go through a rigorous process proving they pass certain guidelines from independent, external auditors. Hamline goes through the same process. And Hamline has as good of a reputation as any school in Minnesota, except for probably Carleton College, Macalester College, and possibly St. Olaf (all these schools are in the same athletic conference as my B.A. alma mater).

What am I trying to say?

If you want to know something about Hamline, it's pretty darn easy to check if they are legit.

This TEFL cert course is taught by people with a minimum of a master's in education and with professors who hold PhDs.

Do all CELTA courses have faculty members with master's degrees and PhDs? Master's maybe/probably, but I HIGHLY doubt that any PhD is spending his or her time teaching a CELTA course in some tiny language school.

So what is this about? Is it about the brand the CELTA has achieved? My application is going to be "placed on the corner of the desk" while CELTA grads are approved "without question?" If so, that's sad. I suppose it's too much work for a recruiter or DoS to take the time to Google Hamline and inquire "where is Hamline and is this place legit?" If they bothered to do that, I suspect they would take me ahead of somebody doing the CELTA!

The course is 120 hours. Going over the schedule I see that we are supposed to meet 9:00-3:00 M-F for four weeks. I would be teaching as part of the program with feedback from my instructors and peers. I would be required to do lesson planning beyond the 120 hours.

Forgive me, but it is awfully hard for me to dismiss a program (Hamline's TEFL Certificate) as part of an institution that's been around for a long time, has high standards for who they let in, prepares students to be licensed and to teach here in the US (how many foreign language schools require state-mandated licensure?), prepares students to practice law and other disciplines at the graduate level, and above all, offers me a comfort level that I am going to be treated with dignity and respect, have the resources I need to be successful, and quite simply, know their program is legit.

Or I can get on a plane and cross my fingers that whatever CELTA school I go to has modern resources, has faculty that are at least as good as those at Hamline, treats me fairly, and ultimately, actually prepares me to teach.

I am grateful for the responses here as they are helping me form a lot of thoughts about this process.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby Alex Case » 30 Oct 2010, 02:16

It seems to me like you had already made your mind up and just wanted someone to tell you that you were doing the right thing.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby MNProspect » 30 Oct 2010, 02:29

I had not made up my mind until today. Systematic's posts today prompted me to make a final decision--one that I had been putting off. I requested a refund for the CELTA today. As of yet, it has not been granted. But yes, I decided to go with Hamline today.

This latest post is in the spirit of argument.

I am going to take the path less traveled and hope that makes all the difference.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby honeybee » 30 Oct 2010, 21:08

Re cucullin's post - (1st reply)
I just cannot believe that someone who has done 120 hours of TEFL and was in week 3 of CELTA a few weeks ago could write something like : "If I hadn't OF (!?!?!?!) done" This spells illiteracy - perhaps that's why cucullin found it 'bloody hard'. I hope they correct cucullin's mistakes before he starts teaching students...
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby systematic » 31 Oct 2010, 07:26

CELTA is not an accrediting body for institutes that offer TEFL training courses. CELTA is a course maintained by a division of Cambridge University. The CELTA courses are dispensed by third party organisations that are permanently supervised by CELTA, and which are held to extremely exacting conditions to ensure that every CELTA course worldwide is of the same standard and quality - and yes, there are some PhDs who do the training, but it is not a prerequisite, and even on most of the university courses, the actual teaching is done by assistant lecturers, lecturers, and maybe occasionally, a PhD. If you wish to know more about CELTA, please visit the CELTA website - it may help to clear up any misunderstanding.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby MatthewN » 12 Dec 2010, 17:52

Responding to a few things on this thread (good read, by the way - new member and happy to get stuck in). Hamline is NOT 'unknown' in America. It's a well-known school for its MA TEFL and this certification course. It's a well-respected location for these things.

I've done both the CELTA and the SIT TESOL. I would echo others taking exception to the notion that the CELTA is 'hell on earth'. For stable, educated, committed trainees the CELTA is a good, healthy, eminently passable challenge. The OP sounds perfectly capable of passing it without much sweating. Frankly, I did mine in Bangkok as a BKK newbie and I'll admit to being up until 4am many nights - partying in Bangkok! Yes, there was much work to do, but not THAT much.

I did the SIT TESOL after two years of post-CELTA teaching. It turned out to be a great idea. As a "refresher course" to the CELTA, it was perfect; content-wise, it's very comparable. Stress-wise...well, let's say the SIT is like the CELTA's pot-head (highly functional pothead banker in SanFran, perhaps) cousin. Same family, same DNA, different vibe.

In my estimation Alex's suggestion that you might not cut it teaching if you can't handle the CELTA was less a serious assertion of fact than a response to the vague sense of..what..a kind of defensiveness and inflexibility in some of your posts. I'd say 'TEFLing around the world' is
(moreso than not at least) a rather sophisticated form of rambling (in the Bob Dylanish sense of that word) that is perhaps best done by those for whom certain details are real but distant stars.

Your tone, though, suggests not ONLY attention to certain details (it stings! it stings to type it!) but a crafty and mindful intelligence that is exactly the quality that helps allow for all this slipping and sliding we do.

Perhaps think of it this way: Do Hamline now (you may have already finished it as I post this..?!?) and consider the CELTA as a two-year refresher course, like I did the SIT TESOL. Some folks look at my like I'm crazy when I tell 'em I've got TWO 'TEFL course' certificates.

But I ain't crazy ya see...I'm an ESOL teacher...;)

Good luck!
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby Professor » 29 Dec 2010, 19:51

Too bad you don't live in Mexico City. International House offers the CELTA for 1,795.00 dollars. I have been teaching ESL/EFL since January 2005, the first three years were at a community college in Texas and the last two and a half years have been here in Mexico City. So, I have six years teaching experience, an online diploma in teaching English as a foreign language and a B.S.S. (Bachelor of Social Sciences).
I'm starting my MA in Education in January and even though I have years of teaching experience, I plan on doing the CELTA after I finish my MA. From the research I have done over the years, having a CELTA looks very good especially if you plan on staying in EFL for a while or making a career out of it.
Do the CELTA. It's known worldwide;it's respected worldwide. Of course I would also tell someone to get some experience first, then an online certificate, then the CELTA.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby Alex Case » 29 Dec 2010, 22:13

Of course I would also tell someone to get some experience first, then an online certificate, then the CELTA.


Of course?? CELTA is specifically designed for those with no teaching experience and the pass rate is in the high 90s for such people. Why teach crappily in a crappy job for a couple of years when you can do the CELTA straight off and two or three years later do the Delta and start applying for the very best jobs??
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby Professor » 29 Dec 2010, 23:15

Alex Case wrote:Of course?? CELTA is specifically designed for those with no teaching experience and the pass rate is in the high 90s for such people. Why teach crappily in a crappy job for a couple of years when you can do the CELTA straight off and two or three years later do the Delta and start applying for the very best jobs??


Your opinion. Just because someone doesn't have the CELTA doesn't mean they will teach bad. NOTHING beats REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE in a classroom. A little experience under the guidance of an experienced teacher is a good thing and it won't hurt the students.

Leaving a newbie 100% alone with a class isn't a good idea, but under the guidance and watchful eye of one experienced...why not? THEN do an online certification and THEN the CELTA. This will give one a step ahead when entering the CELTA course due to the fact that they are somewhat familiar with EFL terminology and knowing some basic teaching methodologies and confidence.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby Alex Case » 29 Dec 2010, 23:57

The point is that with no qualifications and experience you will most likely be stuck in a school where there is no teacher development and you will just be left to get on with it until there are student complaints. If you have done the CELTA (or equivalent), you will be able to apply for a school like International House where you will have proper chances to continue developing.

Here are your two options given another way:

- Do nothing before you start teaching. Work for EF or Wall Street, with basically no teacher development and probably a manager who wouldn't know how to develop you if they tried. Take an online certificate at some point. Still be stuck in the same situation. Get a CELTA. Finally be able to get the same job that you could have started in years ago, and at the same pay as people who have the CELTA and no teaching experience.

- Do the CELTA straight off. Work for a half-decent school like IH, which looks good on your CV and has loads of CPD. Do the DELTA after three years or so, and pass it easily because of said teacher development. Get a job in the British Council. Do a subsidized MA. Get a job in a university or as a teacher trainer.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby systematic » 30 Dec 2010, 03:42

I do not accept fake or degree mill degrees. I'm very quick to spot them, and to save embarrassment, the application is declined on some other grounds. To sport a fake degree is a sign of dishonesty, a character trait I do not support among my corps of teachers. Its acquisition may even have more sinister implications.
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby Alex Case » 30 Dec 2010, 07:54

All good points, Systematic, but I couldn't work out which person's comments or questions you were answering
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Re: Hamline TEFL or CELTA

Unread postby systematic » 30 Dec 2010, 21:45

Oops! It looks as if I have answered something in the wrong thread.
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