CELTA Frequently asked questions
Why do I need to learn how to teach English? I know English already
There’s a big difference between knowing how to do something (speak English) and being able to TEACH someone else to do the same thing. On the course, you will learn basic methodology about HOW to get your students using English better. You will learn how to develop their language SKILLS of reading, listening, speaking and writing. You will also learn techniques to help them improve their grammar and vocabulary.
Teaching is a skill like any other (for example, playing a sport or a musical instrument) – you get better by practicing and getting feedback. That’s why the teaching practice is at the heart of the CELTA course and we will help you plan lessons that engage students and help them improve their English skills.
We will focus on the “Communicative Approach” to teaching language – this involves using English for communication as much as possible in the classroom and using real world material and tasks to bring the language alive.
I’ve seen some cheaper online TEFL courses. Why shouldn’t I just do one of those?
Because of the worldwide demand for English teachers, and the attraction of going abroad to teach, many companies have tried to cash in and offer imitation TEFL courses. However, there is a reason three out of four English teaching jobs ask for the CELTA (source).
Some of these other courses are short and do not have any actual teaching practice – while these are cheap and convenient, employers know that there is little value learning about teaching in the abstract. They want to know you have actual teaching experience and can run a class successfully. That’s why you want to take a course with observed teaching practice.
Other companies have developed courses similar in format to the CELTA, with observed teaching practice, written assignments and some kind of moderation or accreditation. You should be careful with these too and make sure they are truly respected and recognized by employers.
I want to teach kids - is it only for teaching adults?
While the teaching practice you do will be with older teens and adults, the principles of teaching English as a foreign language are the same for all ages. That’s why good schools looking to hire teachers to teach children also ask for the CELTA.
We also offer a free 2 day Introduction to Teaching Young Learners course which gives you some extra techniques and activities for engaging kids. After gaining some experience teaching children, you might be interested to come back for our 2 week course IHCYLT course.
Do I have to have experience teaching to do the course?
No, the course is designed as an Introduction to teaching English. It’s a toolkit to get you into the classroom and teaching with confidence and purpose. But we also help more experienced teachers polish their skills and learn some new techniques. Usually our courses are about 50/50 experienced and new teachers.
I’ve heard it’s really intensive. What if I fail?
We want you to get as much out of the course as possible so there is a lot of content. But we don’t expect you to learn everything about teaching in 4 weeks. We just want to see you can deliver effective classes and improve your skills gradually.
While it is a course that you can fail (another reason it is so respected by employers), the fail rate is very low, about 5% worldwide. This is even lower at our centres – we have a team of full-time experienced and dedicated trainers who know how to get everyone through the course and will give everyone the personal attention they need to succeed in the classroom.