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CELTA Face-to-Face, Mixed Mode, Fully Online: Which to Choose?

Choosing the right format for your CELTA course can be challenging. Are the content and the experience really the same? If so, why do the three formats exist? If not, then what is the difference between them—and how do you know which one is best for you?

Your Options :

  • Face-to-face: This is the classic option, and it is usually offered intensively during the summer months.

  • Fully online: This format was authorized immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic swept the planet, as a way to help centers stay afloat, and as a way to allow candidates to continue to develop professionally. Initially seen as a stop-gap measure, its tremendous success has guaranteed its perennity. Teaching practice takes place online, and input can be either in the form of synchronous sessions, self-study (using the official Cambridge CELTA Moodle platform), or a combination of both.

  • Mixed mode: This is the most recent innovation to CELTA course formats, and is similar in every way to the fully online course, except that teaching practice is divided between online and face-to-face. The proportion of online to face-to-face teaching practice can vary, in theory, but almost all centers have decided on a ratio of 50-50.

Some Things Stay the Same.

Although the assessment criteria and course content are indeed the same—not only in theory but, after having trained candidates in all three formats over numerous courses, we at English for Africa can affirm that this is true in practice as well.

The fact remains, however, that the experience and usefulness of the CELTA course will vary depending on which format you choose. After all, how useful is the online course when you are only teaching students in a brick-and-mortar classroom? Does a face-to-face course help you deal with issues that only come up when teaching online?

Below is a brief guide to why you should choose one-course format over another, and the benefits and disadvantages of each.

Common Core

The reason why assessment criteria haven’t been adjusted with the shift to online and mixed-mode training is that the content of the course, with only a few exceptions, transfers seamlessly between formats. Most notable is the lesson planning component—which is where most teachers benefit the most from a CELTA course. Online lesson plans and face-to-face lesson plans are staged in almost exactly the same way.

Perhaps more surprisingly, classroom management issues also map easily from one format to another. This includes vital classroom management skills such as giving instructions, grading language, getting feedback after tasks and eliciting. Many of the online tools used to do these things are equivalent to what face-to-face teachers do using the whiteboard, or, increasingly, PowerPoint presentations.

The main difference lies in practice activities—it is more challenging (though not impossible) to design kinesthetic activities in an online environment—and monitoring, which can be both easier and more challenging when teaching online.

The impact of the CELTA course on participants, from our perspective here at English for Africa, is largely the same. People come off of the course stating that their approach to the profession has been not only revitalized but revolutionized, and they systematically declare that they have finally understood what is meant by “student-centeredness.” We have seen both face-to-face and online course candidates go on to get promotions in their brick-and-mortar institutions. The value of the CELTA course is a guarantee; the course format you choose will depend on your personal circumstances and preferences.

For more information about the CELTA or our other teacher training courses, contact us: at, or +212680542220.


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