If you are an English teacher or English department graduate, you have undoubtedly heard about the CELTA. CELTA stands for Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and is one of the most accepted and respected TEFL courses. Teachers love to talk about it because… well, it is pretty remarkable. I just finished my part-time CELTA last week. It’s one of the most important courses I’ve ever done, and I would go as far as saying I learned more during those 11 weeks than I did in the five years I spent at university. WHY I CHOSE THE ONLINE PART-TIME COURSE
I live in Meknes (where the English for Africa center is) so, the face-to-face course was a 'better' choice. But the f2f Celta only takes place during summer, and it's a four weeks intensive course, so thank you, but no thank you!
I wanted a part-time course where I could study from the comfort of my home without going anywhere. English for Africa offered an online course with a price tag I could handle ($1300).
Bottom line: the online course fit my budget, schedule, and preferences.
What doing CELTA was like
My cohort was four candidates (including me), and all were awesome! We connected right away and supported each other throughout the course. The tutors were excellent - very friendly and knowledgeable.
The course had several main components:
(1) Input sessions - think live learning sessions- starting from the first week. That's when we learned the most stuff about the CELTA methodology.
(2) Teaching Practice (TP) - we had eight assessed and one unassessed teaching practice (unassessed at the start of the second week). Classes were 45 minutes long, with 4 TPs with upper-intermediate and 4 TPS with pre-intermediate students. The number of students ranged from 6 to 16 on different days. All students were super friendly, and we had an impressive rapport with them! Before each TP, we submitted a lesson plan, handouts, and slides. After TPs (on the same day), right after teaching, we filled out self-feedback (reflections on our lesson), and then after all candidates finished their lessons, we took a break and came back to discuss what we had observed and to receive our tutor's feedback. The feedback was extremely helpful! We then got written lesson feedback on the same day. Our tutors didn't grade our technology skills, but we had to use Zoom well enough in order to teach online. Also, they didn't focus on teaching with technology as a skill, but I got better at it (although I already had strong technology skills!).
(3) Moodle modules. These were units of self-study using Cambridge's online CELTA Moodle platform. Some of the units repeated the info we learned in the input sessions, others were kinda new, and the way Cambridge set up the modules was - ahem - interesting. Think along the lines of flash-based presentations... And you can't copy the text, so you have to take notes or screenshots. Lots of videos and audio with long tasks that you must complete.
(4) Observations - we had some live and some recorded - with lots of observation tasks and discussions afterward. Those were helpful!
(5) 4 assignments - assignments would result in failing the course, but you always get a chance to resubmit an assignment if you don't pass it on the first attempt. I passed some on the first try and others on resubmission but, according to our tutors, resubmission is not an exception, it's the rule. I think assignments are where my Ph.D. experience shined - No writing task could scare me!
How intensive is the part-time CELTA course?
Even though the course was part-time, it still felt intensive. 1-2 hours on Moodle each week + planning for TPs and working on the assignments. "Exhausted" doesn't even start to describe my level of fatigue at the end of every week. The worst thing was constantly trying to meet CELTA standards because each time I had to pay attention to smaller and smaller details, which added extra hours to planning. I felt like I was never good enough.
Is CELTA actually helpful?
It was a life-changing experience for me. It helped me learn things about classroom management and lesson planning that I didn't know before. Concept-checking questions, teacher talk time reduction, guided discovery, and using Google Drive to organize our materials.
Bottom line: There were late nights, there were panicked messages sent to tutors, and there was a lot of chocolate and tea consumed. But there were also 3 other incredibly interesting people, two fantastic tutors, and a sense of camaraderie I have never experienced before. That was my experience on the Cambridge CELTA with English for Africa and now, after 11 weeks of reading, studying, teaching, and writing, I can finally and very happily say that I have passed the course, and am now qualified to teach English as a foreign language!
I can’t recommend taking the course with English for Africa enough – good luck with your applications!
For more information about the CELTA or our other teacher training courses, contact us: at firstname.lastname@example.org, or +212680542220.