The length of the course is 120 contact hours (6 hours a day over 20 days for the full time CELTA). In order to be eligible for the award of a certificate, candidates are required to:
- Attend and participate in the course.
- Complete 6 hours of teaching practice.
- Observe 6 hours of lessons taught by experienced teachers.
- Submit 4 written assignments.
- Maintain and submit a portfolio of course work (i.e. lesson plans, self-evaluations, etc.).
The course covers the following syllabus:
- Language Analysis and Awareness.
- The Learner, the Teacher and the Learning/Teaching Context.
- Planning for Effective Teaching.
- Classroom Management Skills.
- Teaching Procedures and Techniques.
- Resources and Materials.
- Professional Development.
- Classroom Observation.
- Teaching Practice.
Teaching Practice (TP)
An integral part of the course, TP is undertaken in small groups of 5-6 trainees with volunteer students at two different levels (usually Elementary and Intermediate). There will normally be from 6 — 15 students in a TP class. A total of 6 hours’ assessed teaching practice is the requirement over the course which may be divided into a number of lessons lasting 40, 45 or 60 minutes. Feedback sessions, led by the course trainer who has been observing you, follow each TP session and are also a key component of the course. Reflection on your teaching is part of the learning process on the course and you will be expected to contribute to the feedback on yourself and others.
These are the ‘Focus on the learner’ (which encourages you to find out about your learners’ backgrounds, needs and purposes in learning), the ‘Language related task’ (a review of your growing language awareness), the ‘Language skills related task’ (in which you consider how you could use an authentic text in the classroom) and the ‘Lessons from the classroom’ (in which you reflect on your strengths and weaknesses over the course). Each assignment has a word limit of 750 — 1,000 words and you will have 7 days in which to complete it. It is one of the requirements for a pass grade that you pass 3 out of the 4 assignments, but you are allowed to re-submit any or all of them if you don’t get it quite right first time.
Observation of experienced teachers
4 hours of this will be observation of your trainers teaching your TP students. The remaining 2 hours are made up of video observations of particular lesson types, which are timetabled into the input sessions.
Maintaining your portfolio
Your “portfolio” will start as a large file/binder provided by the centre with your name on it. Here you need to keep the lesson plan of every lesson you teach in TP together with your self-evaluation of it and the trainer’s written evaluation, your completed written assignments and finally, your CELTA 5, a record-keeping booklet in which you record, amongst other things, the times of your teaching practice and observations of experienced teachers and a summary of your progress as discussed with your trainer in your mid-course tutorial.
A Typical Day*
Here is an outline of a typical day at IH Chiang Mai, for somebody studying on the full time CELTA course:
11:30 – 13:00
It is during this part of the day that the trainers will develop your knowledge and understanding of teaching methodology and of the English language itself. Although these sessions take many forms, in nearly all of them you are expected to take a very active role, discussing and solving problems with your fellow trainees, reflecting on what you have been shown and trying things out for yourselves. Many sessions have a ‘workshop’-type framework, in which the trainer acts as both a facilitator and resource. Others consist of activity demonstrations, teaching techniques and lesson approaches, all followed by a breakdown of how each one can enable the learner. You may experience one or two sessions that take the form of ‘lectures’ to which you will be invited to have a say, but these are the exception rather than the norm.
13:00 – 14:00
14:30 – 15:30
15:30 – 16:15
Usually, your trainer will ask you to get together and share observations about what you noticed in regards to your own lesson and/or the lessons you have been observing. Later, the trainer will join you and lead verbal feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of yesterday’s lessons, trying to uncover what went well and the reasons for its success and to ascertain what didn’t go well and ways in which things could have been done differently in order to be more effectual, At the end of the session, if you have been teaching, you will be given the trainer’s written comments on and assessment of your lesson and you will have the chance to discuss these.
16:15 – 17:00
Assisted Lesson Planning
You will divide into your teaching practice groups and your current trainer will discuss your next lesson or answer any last minute questions. Earlier in the course you will be given plenty of help and advice by your trainer, but as the course advances, the trainers will be looking to see if you are able to plan more independently with less and less support.
17:45 – 20:15
Teaching Practice (TP)
This is the most important and exciting part of the course where you can put into practice the knowledge and skills you are acquiring, responding to feedback you have been given and learning both from your successes and your failures. You will be given the chance to teach a range of different lesson types and at two different levels to ensure that you have experience of the different needs that learners have at different stages in their learning. If you are not teaching on a certain day, you will be observing your fellow trainees teach and the trainer will often assign you a specific observation task to do.
After dinner and before 11.30 am: Self-study: Assignments and lesson planning
Depending on the day, you will find yourself with up to 4 hours of work to do at home. With two or three lessons to plan a week and four written assignments to write over the course, there’ll always be a lot to fill your evenings!
*Schedule is representative of a typical CELTA course though times and timetables may differ depending on trainer availability and course size.