The real scoop on CELTA

Discussion about courses, qualifications etc

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yolenisis
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by yolenisis » 07 Sep 2014, 18:01

tbknown, where did you do your CELTA?

yolenisis
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by yolenisis » 07 Sep 2014, 21:38

Briona wrote:
I would happily recommend both the course and my particular provider.
Briona, would you kindly do so then, and please recommend to us your particular provider.

yolenisis
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by yolenisis » 07 Sep 2014, 21:48

Amerita wrote: I regret having wasted my time and money on the celta. But, if this post deters even just a few people from making the same mistake that I, and many others, have made then I will feel it hasn't been a complete waste. I know I'll never recoup it, but at least I now know from first hand experience that the celta really is a money making scam. From day one it was obvious that the trainee teachers were just the next lot of faces on the Celta conveyor belt, and next month it will be a bunch of new faces.
Dear Amerita,
Please tell us where you had this awful CELTA experience, so that we can all avoid it.
Thank you!

Briona
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by Briona » 08 Sep 2014, 11:15

@ Yolenisis: I did mine with Cambridge School (http://www.cambridgeschool.com/) in Granollers, near Barcelona. I chose it because at the time it was the only five-week course in Spain and I felt that I would benefit from that extra week. For the most part, I enjoyed the course, and I really feel that it gave me a good start in the TEFL industry.

It's worth noting that a course is only as good as its tutors. I thought mine were excellent and, having checked the school's website, it would seem that three of them are still there.
Experience teaching in Vietnam, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, and Qatar

yolenisis
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by yolenisis » 08 Sep 2014, 23:54

Thank you Briona!

footballmad
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by footballmad » 28 Sep 2014, 17:39

Feel sympathy with anyone who has failed the CELTA, but if you can, do it again. It's well worth the effort. Not only does it give a broad base of the basics of TEFL, but it comes with a certificate entitled "Cambridge University" and is respected in the business. I don't agree with negative comments about the course content, because it's a first degree level course and you have to be good to get it. Some sail through, and some - like me - go through hell to get it. If anyone wants to whinge about CELTA, then have a look at the Delta. Now that's a cause for discussion. Having passed one Delta module and failed one, my blood is well and truly up ! The CELTA assessors have a reasonably easy task to assess a candidate's grasp of some of the basics in the classroom, but the Delta is a different kettle of fish. You can be failed on just about anything, and if you get an assessor with attitude, that's what will happen. The Delta, for all it's high standards and detailed curriculum, is riddled with weaknesses, irrelevances, narrowness, inappropriacy etc. The old saying is true though, stay out of the kitchen if it's too hot. I'm certainly not going to stay out.....and the best kitchen around is owned by Cambridge University.

holly
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by holly » 06 Dec 2014, 04:01

nice sharing...

Awalls86
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by Awalls86 » 08 Feb 2015, 10:51

This thread is somewhat disheartening.
My own experience (Solihull College, UK - Pass B) was that the CELTA was both enjoyable and useful. The course was somewhat easy in terms of content, but for the volume (I did it part-time whilst working full-time in a law firm so input for 7 hours on Saturdays, planning on Sundays and teaching sessions on weekday evenings).
When I arrived at my first post afterwards, I can honestly say that having the CELTA gave me some idea what to do in my initial lessons. I had a structure to follow for planning, formed some teaching strategies e.g. monitoring, correction, and picked up a number of games and activities that I could instantly use.
Equally however, my CELTA instructors were keen to point out that the main idea they taught (PPP) was only one of a number of ways of teaching, and we were not bound to it in our teaching practice either, we could try anything if we wanted.
I got on very well with the lead tutor, which I think was helped by me impressing her early on. There was an information session where we were all asked to present a 5 minute lesson on how to do something. I was one of the only two people who didn't choose to explain a grammatical point - instead I taught air drums, whilst the other taught napkin folding (he worked in a restaurant). We were the only two from that session (15 or so people) to be accepted on the course.
Looking back several years later, I have learnt a lot more since. I would say that 6 months after the CELTA any teacher should have started questioning the wisdom that they gained. But was the CELTA worthwhile? Did it give me what I needed at the time? Does it still guide my teaching practice now at all? I would say yes to all 3. Sure I don't follow the CELTA exactly anymore, but some of the ideas do hold true, even if they seem like common sense and I might have worked them out on my own. If you didn't get even one nugget of useful advice on the CELTA that is because a.) you are right and your particular CELTA was poorly run, b.) you weren't listening/awake/in attendance or c.) you incorrectly applied it.
I'm not saying the CELTA is perfect, nothing is - except my girlfriend, should she ever read this! However, the CELTA and Trinity Certificate are the only qualifications that most DOSes, recruiters or hiring managers know. If you want the biggest range of employers to go and work for, then one of these is essential.

For the person with the English MA - this shows you are academically smart (congratulations) but tells me nothing about your ability to teach the language. CELTA tells me you can teach. Also, for teaching other subjects abroad (at a college/university level) employers may ask for CELTA to show you are aware of the language needs of international students.

OHMSS
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by OHMSS » 20 Mar 2015, 01:56

From what I have seen and personally experienced, the CELTA is not what they advertise it to be. At least for the vast majority of those who take the course. Let me illustrate by sharing my own experience. I believe my experience is very similar to the majority who have attended the course.

My background before taking the CELTA was in radio/TV and software development. Since I had just gone through a major life changing event, I thought going to an exotic place sounded like a nice change of pace. So when the idea of teaching English came up as an option, I thought yeah that sounds easy. Especially being talented in the communications field, it sounded like a good fit. After some study, my decision was to take the CELTA course in Barcelona.

The course itself was a 1 month, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day course. Time wise it was very intensive. As far as learning grammar, the basics of language learning, teaching techniques, you will learn very little of that. It is basically on the job teacher training. So unless you already have a background or a degree in language teaching, along with a solid grasp on grammar, it is very very difficult to gain any real benefit.

On the 3rd day of class we started teaching a group English. It was like "Huh?? I've only been here for 2 days and you want us to start teaching?" Their response "Yeah, yeah you guys are up to it. Good luck." At the end of each teaching session, your classmates would then give feedback. Feedback that I may add was not very useful. All the feedback I received was, your class was entertaining. You think? That's what I do for a living. The blind leading the blind....

To make this as short as possible, there were 2 courses going on at the same time with a total of 16 teacher trainees. Out of the 15, 1 (quit) didn't pass. The only way to fail the course would be to quit. You could be a total dimwit at it, and you would pass. So we all graduated. Only one guy out of the group got an A Pass. There is no real criteria on obtaining a high grade. It's all at the instructors discretion.

In the end the only thing I gained was a few hours of teaching experience. But sadly, I wasn't any better at teaching English than I was at the beginning. My background and knowledge in that arena was not suited to be able to take full advantage of the experience. Which is the case of the majority of students who sign on. They think "Ohh, I am going to learn how to teach English." Sorry to say, no it doesn't work that way.

One more thing. The CELTA certification is well, "kind of" a certification. It will help you open some doors as far as teaching goes. But if you have no prior experience or education in that sphere, it's a low paying job you really don't want. It's not like an RN in nursing or A+ in technology.

I know language schools are just trying to make a profit. However most people don't understand or know what the CELTA really is and what they are getting into. So if you are in a major need of a job and you are thinking about CELTA....please don't.

wander
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by wander » 30 Mar 2015, 09:03

I'm and American, and have passed the CELTA course. I've been teaching for about 3 and a half years.

I agree with what the original poster stated. Having taken the course and passed, I question quite a few of its methodologies. Some methods are useful. Some are questionable. Some are useless. I do view it as a gimmick / brand. But it's what you have to go through if you want to teach English in a foreign country. It's the hoop that you are required to jump through.

I teach in Vietnam. Many students (from high-school to college level) come to me to improve their speaking and listening skills. Many of them have gone to institutions where they used the CELTA techniques. These students tell me that experience was a waste of their time and money. The improvements are little, compared with the time spent. They didn't see the much value in the "games". Yes, they're fun, but they waste a lot of time and teaches little. I use games, but sparingly. In addition, the games should force the students to practice what they know, over and over again. This works well to solidify their skills or as part of a review process.

When I teach out of my house, I don't use about half of the CELTA techniques that were taught to me. Why? Because either they don't work or they're unnecessary. When I teach at a school, I have to use more CELTA techniques. Why? Because that's what they want. It's their school, so I have to teach their way.

Like the original poster stated, CELTA is a brand, sort of like "Apple". It's not the best product out there, but it has a lot of believers. The CELTA course is not a waste of time for teachers, in my opinion. It's useful, if you're honest with yourself and know what to keep and what to throw away. Don't be afraid to break the rules that were taught to you and experiment. The results (your students) will tell you if you're on the right path.

Samhaugh
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by Samhaugh » 11 May 2015, 06:24

What an interesting read this is! I took CELTA around 4 years ago and I certainly didn't learn any CELTA methodology or games for teaching English.

Our course covered a wide variety of teaching methods and their pros and cons.
Also, we never learnt games. We learnt techniques to apply to activities to improve the students' abilities.

I did have one of the most prestigious CELTA tutors in the world, so maybe it really is a grey area between courses.

Sam

Gary EFL
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by Gary EFL » 27 May 2015, 08:11

The original poster made many valid points, and I feel the same way about the CELTA. However, beyond feelings, I think we must try to critique the CELTA more seriously, and I have attempted to do that on my blog,

Gary EFL Taiwan: The CELTA in critical context You can read it at

http://garyefltaiwan.blogspot.com/2015/ ... ntext.html

No idea how to embed URLS here, sorry...

The opening paragraph reads:

It is not my purpose here to assess the usefulness of the Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (CELTA), except perhaps indirectly, or to analyse this increasingly popular qualification from a business opportunity/cost point of view; and neither do I want to recount my personal experience on the course in any great detail, suffice to say I took the CELTA in June 2014 at a language school in the UK. Rather I wish, as the title of this post suggests, to try and put the CELTA in a critical context; my self-appointed task is to de-familiarise, or ostranenie, the CELTA, to critique it from the point of view of an outsider looking in.

[...]

allard02
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by allard02 » 27 Oct 2015, 03:07

I posted an accurate depiction of what the course is and isn't for those that might be thinking about spending the money. There is no edge that CELTA graduates possess, other than the prestige of the name. It is an overly-hyped money maker.

RubyRa
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by RubyRa » 11 Nov 2015, 09:20

Where shall I start?
I agree with so much that has been stated above and could write a novel based on what the trainees have been through ourselves so far.

I'm a British citizen and a native speaker working as a primary teacher in Saudi Arabia. I have 7 years experience teaching in the kingdom here but wanted the salary that I deserve. Teaching adults seemed a great way to do this. Unfortunately one of the absolute pre-requisites of teaching adults in Saudi Arabia is a Celta.

It's pretty much a political money making rag out here.

There are many kinesthetic activities that I have found useful, but that's about it.
I already know how to create lesson stages and write lesson aims and objectives/ learning outcomes, yet my tutor who sat down and 'coached' me on what to do and what not to do, just critiqued the hell out of the lesson, that she helped to form!

We all know, universally, that the more you do something, the better you get at it right? Well on the Celta course, you only have 1 opportunity to teach a grammar, vocabulary etc... to one batch of intermediates and another batch of beginners. The Celta course is set up, not to give you that opportunity to consistently improve. They just throw reams of theory and stuff at you and leave you to your own devises and critique away. Our first assignment was an abysmal failure. The teacher didn't explain properly, and even though I asked to be given an example, she refused point blank, "No I'm sorry, I can't do that". 9 out of 10 failed the first assignment. Truly, what does it say about the teacher/or the course when 99% fail!

Some of the tutors has very strong Indian accents, and I wondered what they were doing there!
AAARRRGHHH!!!!

sarwanov
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by sarwanov » 18 Nov 2015, 15:52

I really like that post and I found it useful.
Graduated from Soran University with First Class Degree with Honours in Computer Science.

Allophony
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by Allophony » 06 Jan 2016, 15:14

I will seriously take on board all your pertinent criticisms.

Thank you telling us all this.

And don't care about the arrogant cretins that just want to say "oh you must have failed". It suggests they have no rebuttal.:)

coldwell
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by coldwell » 28 Jun 2016, 13:20

Interesting read! I'm from Canada and now in Switzerland for about 2 years (wife got a job here).
I will probably be fluent enough in German to get a job here about the time we go back to Canada!

I've decided to take the CELTA as it is the only way to get a job teaching English here and there are no other jobs for people who aren't fluent in German and English and sometimes French as well (unless you are extremely high up the food chain).

I may be able to get jobs washing dishes but who wants that? And even then it's a tough job market here.

Hopefully I get something out of the course but at least it gets my foot in the door and I can start earning some money at a school or on skype :)

As for CELTA being a money-obsessed organization who doesn't care much about you or what you learn that pretty much describes all post-secondary education. These days you can't get a job without a degree of some sort...even if the degree is not applicable to your job. It lets your employer know that you have learned certain skills that can help in your job. At least that's what Universities tell you and the world. They are all in it for the money. It's how the world works. Some graduates learn needed skills at school and others do not - but still passed. Either way you need a degree 9/10 times.

Not surprising CELTA works the same way...may be helpful and may not but you need it 9/10 times on your resume to even be considered. Was my University degree a waste of time and money? Who can know for sure but I've not regretted doing it.

Good luck to everyone.

Phil_2016
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Re: The real scoop on CELTA

Unread post by Phil_2016 » 21 Aug 2016, 05:52

tbknown wrote:The joke that is CELTA.

The course doesn't give you the skills needed to develop a lesson plan and teach English without a textbook. The course teaches how to use a textbook and understand how to organize lesson plans for different parts of the textbook (Productive Skills: speaking, writing, and Receptive Skills: reading, listening)

CELTA is a gimmick driven teaching method using cheesy classroom exercises and games to 'engage' the students. Small children might respond well to this parlor trick teaching style, but the 14+ year old student's eyes glaze over as they watch CELTA trainees perform for the tutors that grade the trainee by an arbitrary lesson plan format in the corner of the room. The guinea pig students that CELTA uses to practice teaching on are never asked or polled by questionnaire and assessment for the sake of integrating their experience into the grading process of the CELTA enrollees. The CELTA course has no interest and no regard for how much these 'guinea pig' students have garnered from the teaching method. CELTA and its tutors assume they know best no matter what the students being taught English by the CELTA method experience.

CELTA promotes a European notion of English having many different pronunciations and this results in poor quality control of graduates that represent the CELTA brand, as a lot of inconsistency in word meaning and pronunciation makes its way into the world classroom. There are non-native speaking CELTA graduates that graduate not being able to pronounce crucial phonemes in the English language. Some of the assessors also, who have a cushy job only coming two days out of the course and flying to all kinds of novel places in the world to "quality check" that the tutors grading the course are using the arbitrary lesson plan system to CELTA standards, can't even pronounce English words in an intelligible way. CELTA assumes that this is eclectic, inclusive and an accurate representation of English in the world. And yet it amounts to inconsistent teaching, without standards, that the students being taught English suffer as a result of.

CELTA is a brand, plain and simple, backed by the 'Cambridge prestige'. It is the epitome of non-innovative British arrogance and any other TEFL course will provide you with equal teaching knowledge at less cost and less monotony of arbitrary and redundant exclusively-lesson-plan driven criteria.
Can understand the guy being p*ssed. The course costs a grand's worth or so and about 3-4 months I think it is of no doubt hearing the constant banging on about the in's & out's of the English Language. Then to fail & have little to nothing to show for your time, effort and most importantly money must me a real kick in the teeth. I'm personally am grateful for OP sharing his experiences with us as it means those of us considering a course in teaching English as a foreign language need to think real hard before committing that amount of resources to a CELTA course. My own personal preference at the moment is to do a TEFL course and perhaps do the odd few days voluntary experience before seeking casual work abroad, but it is only casual work I seek, full permanent stuff is not my bag as this isn't my profession.

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