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*
To give you an idea of how you might be spending your time on the full time CELTA course, here is an outline of a typical day at IH Bangkok:
09:00-10:30 & 10:45-12:00 Input
This is the part of the day when the trainers will be developing your knowledge and understanding of teaching methodology and of the language itself. These sessions will take many forms but in nearly all of them you will be expected to take a very active role, discussing answers and solving problems with each other, reflecting together on what you have been shown and trying things out for yourselves. Many sessions have a ‘workshop’-type framework with the trainer acting as facilitator and resource while others consist of demonstrations of activities, teaching techniques and lesson approaches, followed by analysis of how each can enable the learner. One or two sessions may take the form of ‘lectures’ to which you will be invited to contribute, but these are the exception rather than the norm.
13:00-13:45 Assisted Lesson Planning
You will divide into your teaching practice groups and the trainer who is currently observing you will discuss with you the lesson you are next teaching or answer any last minute questions you have. In the early stages of the course, you will be given plenty of help and advice by your trainer but as the course progresses, the trainers will be looking to see if you plan more independently with less and less support.
14:00-16:30 Teaching Practice (TP)
This is the most important and exciting part of the course where you can put the knowledge and skills you are acquiring into practice, respond to feedback you have been given and learn both from your successes and your failures. You will be given the opportunity to teach a range of different types of lesson and at two significantly different levels, so that you have exposure to the different types of need that learners have at different stages in their learning. If you are not teaching yourself on a given day, you will be watching your peers teach and the trainer will often assign you some specific observation task to do.
Usually, your trainer will ask you to convene and share notes of what you noticed about your own lesson and/or the lessons you have been observing. Later, the trainer will join you and lead oral feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of yesterday’s lessons, trying to draw out what went well and why it was successful and to establish what didn’t go well and how things could have been done differently in order to be more effective, At the end of the session, if you have been teaching, you will receive the trainer’s written comments on and evaluation of your lesson and you will have the opportunity to discuss anything that is not clear.
Approx. 17:30 – ? Homework
Depending on the day, you will find yourself with up to 4 hours of work to do at home. With lessons to plan at the rate of two or three a week and four written assignments to complete over the course, you’ll always have a lot to occupy your evenings!
*Please note that although the same balance of input, assisted lesson planning, TP and feedback is observed everywhere, times vary from centre to centre due to centre working hours and the availability of students for TP. Courses in Chiang Mai run from 11.00 am to 7.30 pm with input in the late morning and immediately after lunch, assisted lesson planning at 3:30 pm and TP in the early evening from 5:30 — 7:30 pm with feedback delayed until the following day’s assisted lesson planning session.