English for Africa was the first center to run a course using this format in the MENA region. It was authorized in July of 2021, as a means of giving centers a framework for courses that are part online, and part face-to-face.
The aim of this format is to give teachers the necessary skills to plan for and teach both online and face-to-face lessons at CELTA level by the end of the course.
Cambridge Assessment English has established rather flexible guidelines for how the course is to be run, and English for Africa has taken advantage of this to design a course that we feel is most suitable to our candidates. The split between online and face-to-face learning environments on our courses is an even 50-50.
For example, input sessions (where candidates learn about the theory and practice of teaching English as a foreign language) are delivered both online and face-to-face, at an even ratio of 50 percent each.
In the same way, of the six hours of mandatory teaching practice, three are taught online via Zoom, and 3 are taught face-to-face.
Both Cambridge Assessment English and English for Africa recognize that this format is an ambitious one, since candidates are learning to teach in both online and face-to-face "modes" (hence the term "mixed mode). Consequently, we provide extra support for our candidates on these courses. This includes:
A free Zoom for teaching workshop;
A free online grammar refresher pre-course workshop;
22 days of training rather than 20 (2 extra days of training for the same cost);
Demonstration lessons taught by trainers in both modes, prior to candidates teaching in that mode;
Candidates teach an unassessed full-length lesson in both modes before being assessed in that mode;
Joint reflection sessions bring together candidates from both teaching practice groups (each group teaches in a different mode during half of the course) to enable candidates teaching in one mode to exchange with candidates who are teaching/have taught in the other mode;
Access to our online course library before the start of the course;
Access to video recordings of lessons taught by experienced teachers before the start of the course.
The use of Slack as a workspace before and during the course, to facilitate communication and sharing of documents and resources.
English for Africa has run this type of course twice (once as a full-time course in 2021, and another time as a part-time course, in 2022), and both times candidates have come away saying that they now feel comfortable teaching both online and face-to-face. In other words, both courses have been a resounding success.
Of course, a common concern to some candidates is whether the certificate they receive at the end of the course will be different from those received at the end of a face-to-face course.
Cambridge's policy is that the mode of the course does not appear on the CELTA certificate you receive from Cambridge English Assessment. In other words, the certificate is identical to the ones delivered for fully face-to-face courses.