What is CELTA?

What is CELTA?I am sometimes asked, "What is CELTA?"

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It is an initial teaching qualification for people who want to teach English as a foreign language.

CELTA is awarded by Cambridge University (ESOL division) and is an acronym for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults.

That is obviously a little long, so the name of the qualification was shortened to CELTA.

What does CELTA cover?

The CELTA qualification is the most popular EFL qualification in the world. This is due to the excellent reputation it has built up over the years, as well as the fact that it is a wide ranging course with a range of assessment  methods.

The CELTA broadly covers five topics. They are:

•    Learners and teachers, and the teaching and learning context
•    Language analysis and awareness
•    Language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing
•    Planning and resources for different teaching contexts
•    Developing teaching skills and professionalism

(from www.cambridgeesol.org)

Teaching and assessment methods

Teaching  on a CELTA course is by a mixture of practical work and classroom input sessions.

(Input sessions is the common term for when a teacher (the teacher trainer, not the student) gives information, like traditional classroom teaching.)

There is no exam to sit at the end of the course and assessment is continuous.

Each student will complete four written assignments, and will teach two different levels for a total of 6 hours. The teaching is assessed on the performance over the whole course.

There  are three grades for the CELTA qualification:
  • Pass 
  • Pass B 
  • Pass A, with Pass A being the highest grade.

Study options

There are three ways to obtain the CELTA qualification.

1.    Full time

A full time CELTA course lasts 4-5 weeks.

It is a very intensive course, and students will need to do homework and lesson planning in the evenings.

2.    Part time

Part time CELTA courses can last from several months to over a year, depending on the frequency and length of the classes.

The classes and teaching practice are usually during the evenings or at weekends, but there are some daytime part time CELTA courses available, too.

3.    Distance learning

Cambridge ESOL also offer a distance learning option, and full details of this can be found at www.cambridgeesol.org

Where to study for the CELTA qualification

If you've decided you want to study for your CELTA and take advantage of the opportunities the qualification will offer you, you'll need to decide where to study.

The good news is that CELTA courses are available worldwide. The bad news is that this makes deciding where to study very difficult!

If you want to gain experience teaching multilingual classes, then it is probably best to take a CELTA course in an English speaking country.

If you want to practice teaching monolingual classes, then you can choose from centers all over the world.

Most worldwide CELTA courses include accommodation in their fees, although you will usually need to buy your own food.

If you have a strong desire to work in a particular area, then taking the CELTA course there can help you acclimatize and give you valuable local knowledge.

Many CELTA centers also offer help finding a job after you qualify.

If you want to be able to work anywhere in the world and meet lots of fascinating people, doing a job which can be different every day, then EFL teaching is a great career choice.

So asking, "What is CELTA?" may turn out to be the best thing you've ever done.

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