Online Resources for New Teachers

CELTA Resources ILSC
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Whether you’re preparing for CELTA teaching practice or teaching your first class, students need lessons—and someone has to prepare them! These resources will help new teachers teach engaging lessons and can give experienced teachers some new ideas.

General Activities

These websites are a great place to start whether the goal is to plan out a whole course or to just add one last activity to a lesson. Each website offers a broad range of resources across a variety of levels.

Listening & Reading

Authentic listening and reading lessons can be a lot of work if teachers have to create all the material to accompany the input. These websites pair authentic receptive materials with both printable and online activities.

Grammar

Sometimes students need to spend extra time on a difficult grammar point—teachers too!

Methodology

These career-level resources will help teachers stay up to date with the latest trends and practices from the wider TESL world.

General Advice

Always teach to the students’ level. This means taking a close look at resources to be certain that an activity or worksheet isn’t using language unfamiliar to the students. An exercised tagged “Intermediate” isn’t necessarily appropriate for a low-intermediate class, so be sure to double check.

Once the resources are reviewed, teachers can always choose to pre-teach specific language to prepare students for an activity. Get to know the students and the level of challenge they’re willing to take on!


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program and a flexible online format.

March 20, 2019

Take the CELTA: Program Requirements

CELTA requirements ILSC
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The Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is the equivalent to an undergraduate-level certificate. This means entry into the program comes with some academic prerequisites.

Minimum academic standards for enrolment are important. That being said, individual training centers may choose to evaluate the equivalence of work experience in individual cases where the candidate is missing prerequisites.

Official Cambridge Requirements

Cambridge English has three official requirements for CELTA candidates to meet. They are to:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education
  • Be fluent enough in English to teach at a range of levels

The first is simple enough. Candidates must be the age of majority to teach adults around the world.

The second requirement is to have a level of education necessary for admission into college or university. This means having a General Education Degree or its equivalents such as a high school diploma (USA, Canada) or DEC (Quebec). Training centers may use their discretion to count relevant work experience for the education requirement.

The third requirement is having an appropriate level of English fluency. The minimum level required for the course is CEFR Level C1–C2 (IELTS 7.0+, 180+ on the Cambridge English Scale). An official proficiency score is not required but all candidates must have an advanced level of English in order to teach students between low beginner and intermediate levels.

Course-specific requirements

Most people interested in teaching English as a Second Language meet CELTA’s general requirements. However, certain course formats have requirements candidates should be aware of.

The popular 4-week intensive CELTA course requires candidates to devote nearly all of their available time to it. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to not work or take on any non-essential responsibilities for the duration of the course. The nature of the course is such that candidates who can’t give it their full attention are much less likely to succeed.

Luckily there are alternatives for candidates who don’t need their certificate as quickly as possible. The CELTA is also offered in a part-time format and a flexible online format

The online CELTA program has some common but essential technical requirements. They are listed in full detail on ILSC’s CELTA portal but include a computer with a high-speed internet connection, word-processing software, and a connected headphone/microphone.

Some Recommendations

One repeated piece of advice from CELTA is trainers is to not ignore the pre-course task. Candidates are provided with the Answer Key but are encouraged to work through the task on their own. The pre-course task is designed to get candidates up to speed with CELTA’s academic approach and to ensure they can start learning from day one.

There isn’t a textbook for the CELTA program but there are a few books recommended by ILSC that can help candidates start strong. Supplemental reading isn’t required but it can be very helpful.

If you’re not certain whether you’re qualified for CELTA or not, get in touch and find out.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program and a flexible online format.

March 6, 2019

Changing Careers with CELTA

Career Change with CELTA
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Mick Jagger famously sang: “I can’t get no satisfaction,” and although the feeling of continuous striving is probably universal, those who are unsatisfied in their work can relate in a special way. If 40 hours of every week are going to be spent doing something, it had better be something enjoyable. So, whether that lyric above makes you want to scream, “I can’t get any satisfaction” or just makes you want to sing along, it could be time for a change.

Get some satisfaction

Change is always a bit of a risk, but making a change isn’t necessarily the result of making a mistake. It’s possible to graduate, land a good job, work at it for years, and wake up one morning with career wanderlust asking, what else is out there? It’s also possible to work an unfulfilling job for years out of necessity and to be no stranger to a nagging sense of what if that won’t quit. Thankfully, possibility never expires.

Why not travel the world? Why not learn a new language and culture? Why not start something new? CELTA could be the risk worth taking; it could be the answer.

A quality qualification

CELTA is the University of Cambridge’s highly respected Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults and is the most recognized certificate of teaching English as a second language worldwide. With CELTA, paths unwalked open up and the opportunity to experience life in a new way, in a new place surrounded by new people can be found in nearly every direction.

CELTA is offered in a variety of formats and covers five essential language teaching and learning topics. Theory-based input sessions with experienced teacher trainers are combined with practical teaching practice—with real students—to ensure you know what you’re doing and how to do it. There’s no preparation for teaching quite like teaching under the watchful eye of practiced instructors.

Opportunities near and far

Getting a teaching certification like CELTA certainly opens up the world of teaching English as a second language (TESL) but that doesn’t mean the past gets left behind. Changing careers doesn’t have to mean leaving home because the ESL market for English-speaking countries always has a demand for native-speaker teachers to teach recent immigrants and international students. Even skills and experience from previous careers can be put to work in a post-CELTA life and position new teachers for specialized roles like management and administration within schools and training centres.

Of course, there’s no change quite like extended international travel and, compared to going back to school for a different degree, getting a CELTA certificate is actually less of a risk. The course is relatively cheap and gets you trained and ready to work in as little as four weeks, so the whole process can be quick, efficient, and exciting!

Experience the world like never before

If any change is a risk then it might be worth it to go all in. It could be a dream a location; a country and culture that begs to be experienced. The first available position could also be perfect—no overthinking, no time to doubt—just accept the job and figure it out on the fly. Everyone has a different tolerance for adventure, but making a change with CELTA is the first step to discovering it.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program and a flexible online format.

February 20, 2019

Anatomy of a good TESOL program

ILSC esl training
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So you want to teach English as a second language? A lot of people speak English, but native-speaker status alone does not an English teacher make! Before teaching, teachers should be taught themselves, but is a certificate necessary? What about university programs?

What to look for…

When choosing a TESL training certificate, keep an eye out for these key characteristics. If a course is missing even one, it might be a good idea to keep looking.

Recognition

The certificate you get at the end of training should be nationally and internationally recognized. In the case of CELTA, the certificate is issued by the University of Cambridge in the UK and recognized by both Languages Canada and TESL Canada, among others.

A certificate is worth less if it limits the country or area its bearer is allowed to teach.

Admission

Watch out for courses where the only admission requirement is paying the invoice in full.

Certificates who screen candidates with an interview and have academic prerequisites are more likely to offer quality training than those with no admission requirements. More practically, admission requirements create a learning environment where you can learn from other participants, rather than be held back.

Native Speakers

Do the other course participants speak English as their first language or native-level fluency?

Good training courses won’t necessarily be full of first-language speakers of English but any non-native speakers should be high level. If this isn’t the case, the course might be designed to train foreign speakers in the foundations of English to teach basic classes in their home country.

Accountability

What’s to stop a small training school from printing reputable logos and offering subpar instruction? It’s rare but not unheard of. Luckily there is one way to know for certain: the external assessment.

Courses which require their instructors and participants to be periodically examined by an external assessor offer a qualification that can be trusted. An impartial 3rd party, like the Cambridge English assessor, is often from an accrediting or associated university and ensure that both trainers, instruction materials, and participants meet the standards of the certifying organization.

Class Size

There is a good reason ESL teachers can and do charge more for private lessons. When one teacher has to offer instruction to 100 students, she cannot do much more than lecture and hope someone is listening.

A healthy trainee to trainer ratio for teacher training is 6:1, which is also the CELTA standard. This ratio guarantees that each trainee receives the attention they need to master the concepts. Courses with less generous ratios may not have their students’ success as their primary goal.

Theory & Practice

When teaching is the subject there are two ways to learn: in the classroom or in the classroom. The best courses will offer a balance of classroom theory and let trainees get in front of their own students.

Courses with a practicum component make sure that their trainees go out onto the job market with real classroom experience. This is an important factor for trainees coming straight out of college/university and anyone making a career change. Experience is valuable, so a course that provides hours of hands-on teaching time is the better investment.

Learners & Students

Practicums are important, but not all practicums are the same.

If a course offers a practicum component, it’s a good idea to find out who the students will be. The CELTA program recruits real students for trainees to hone their skills on. Teaching real ESL students with different first-languages will prepare trainees for real-world situations and difficulties; this is not the case if the “students” are fellow English-speaking trainees.

Do I need to get certified?

Some well-known TESL programs like Japan’s JET Programme don’t require a teaching qualification, the reason for which being JET’s classroom set-up. JET teachers assist local Japanese teachers who handle the language instruction and leave the practice, activities, and fun up to the visiting native-speaker. For the vast majority of ESL jobs, English teachers will handle all aspects of instruction; that’s what a quality certificate will prepare you for.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program or a flexible online format.

February 6, 2019

CELTA at ILSC: Meet the Trainers (Part 1)

Quality training begins with quality trainers, and the CELTA program at ILSC offers a crack team to guide trainees through the rigours — and surprising delights — of CELTA.

Christopher Cooke is the lead coordinator for CELTA at ILSC, manages the intensive 4-week course and oversees the online and part-time CELTA programs.

Get to know… Christopher Cooke

The fearless leader of ILSC’s CELTA program

Q: How/Why did you get into ESL teaching?

For very practical reasons; I thought it would enable me to work and live in Italy – which is exactly what happened.

I had never taught before taking the CELTA. After completing the program, I taught general English to adults and younger learners in Italy. I also taught one-to-one and worked part-time teaching legal English at a university in Rome.

That CELTA Life

Q: How did you break into the rockstar world of CELTA?

A few years post-CELTA I decided that I wanted to further develop as a teacher, so I took the DELTA program. I worked in a school that offered the CELTA and I aspired to become a CELTA trainer and to add variety to my working schedule. Initially, I taught both general English and the CELTA which was a great balance. As a trainer, it’s good to be reminded of the reality and the challenges of the classroom.

Q: What does an average day in the CELTA department look like for you?

I am the Director of CELTA training for North America, so my role involves marketing our four-week and part-time CELTA programs in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, as well as our online program.

Q: What’s the skill most CELTA trainees need to work on?

Every trainee is unique, but I think most CELTA grads find that language awareness, i.e. researching grammar and vocabulary, is a skill that continues to evolve as they start teaching their own students. Having a good grammar reference book and putting in the time certainly pays off.

Personal Colour

Q: What is the one grammar mistake that makes your blood boil?

“If I would of known, I wouldn’t of said anything,” closely followed by, “There are less people than last time.”

Q: What is your favourite English word? (Bonus points if it’s rutabaga)

‘Munted’ as in, “My car’s totally munted. I had to take the bus.” New Zealand-speak for ‘broken.’

Q: What is one grammar mistake you can’t stop making?

I don’t make none.

Q: What is your favourite thing about teaching CELTA?

Introducing others to a profession that I have found so rewarding and that has allowed me to travel and meet people of such varied backgrounds.

Next Up

Get to know the rest of the CELTA team at ILSC-Montreal in interviews with James Meanwell and Breana Sproul.

                                                                                                                                                     

Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

August 8, 2018

CELTA for Recent Graduates

Life after university doesn’t have a syllabus. It also doesn’t have a grading rubric to let you know when you’re nailing this thing called life, and while life post-graduation can be scary, it’s full of a wonderful resource: possibility.

A world of possibilities

Traveling the world after university is a popular trope but is often more complicated than it appears. Do you have the savings to galavant around the globe (even on the cheap) or the language skills to put your major to work for you in South Korea or Germany? The good news is you don’t need to, not with CELTA.

CELTA is the University of Cambridge’s highly respected Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults and is the most recognized teaching certificate internationally. With CELTA, the whole world opens up with opportunities from Sao Paulo to Shanghai and everywhere in between.

The CELTA Course

Whether or not you’ve already picked out a destination for your English-teaching adventure, it won’t take long before you’re ready to leave for foreign shores.

CELTA is offered in a variety of formats and covers five essential language teaching and learning topics. Theory-based input sessions with experienced teacher trainers are combined with practical teaching practice—with real students—to ensure you know what you’re doing and how to do it. There’s no preparation for teaching quite like teaching under the watchful eye of practiced instructors.

The intensive nature of the course ensures that your knowledge of how to teach English will soon catch up to your knowledge of where you want to teach.

More than a way to travel

The time you spend teaching overseas with your CELTA isn’t just a means to exploring the world; it can also be an investment in your future.

Working overseas confers a variety of ‘soft skills’ that are increasingly sought after in workplaces back home and abroad. Experience in cross-cultural communication, resourcefulness, and creativity are just some of the skills you’re likely to walk away with. The ability to navigate a variety of administrative and professional bureaucracies overseas is experience not easily ignored by future employers.

Whether your goals are long-term or short-term, putting a CELTA certificate to work teaching abroad can pay off—and pay down student loans, too.

What are you waiting for?

English language teaching remains an evergreen employment opportunity throughout the world, and not always where it’s most expected. China and South Korea draw many teachers, but the best jobs go to the most qualified candidates and a CELTA certificate can help get your name to the top of the pile. Of course there’s also Taiwan, Japan and the growing southeast asian markets of Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines for those looking for a different experience.

Don’t forget about teaching in the Middle-East, South America, and Europe. There’s potential the world over and plenty of options in English-speaking countries as well. More people from more places are seeking language training in the countries they want to live and work in.

Whether it takes you abroad on an international adventure or helps you provide new arrivals with their language skills, teaching English with a CELTA certificate offers global perspective, valuable skills, and experiences you’ll never forget.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

August 1, 2018

Top Tips from CELTA Trainers

For many, the CELTA program is a new and exciting experience. There’s a lot to learn though, so it’s normal to feel nervous too. Before getting up in front of your first students it’s good to benefit from the advice of those who have been there before. We’ve asked our best CELTA trainers to offer new trainees the tips and tricks needed to have a successful CELTA experience.

Input Sessions

During the CELTA, trainees are both students and teachers. Here’s how to stay on top of the input sessions.

• Review your notes from inputs regularly (evenings/weekends)
• Invest in stationery to help you organize notes (post-its/dividers/etc.)
• Ask lots of questions: whether that’s during group discussions or directly to the course tutor.

Teaching Practice

Standing in front of students can be exhilarating (or terrifying); here’s how to stay focused.

• Keep the weekly criteria in mind – don’t aim for perfection.
• Spend time on the self-evaluation – it can make or break a lesson.
• Come prepared! Look over your guidelines the night before so as to hit the ground running during lesson planning time.

Assignments / Homework

The work doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom; here’s what you need to know to succeed.

• Read and follow the rubric exactly – it’s all there!
• Confirm and clarify with peers and tutors well in advance.
• Proofread!

Time Management

Learning, teaching, homework—CELTA is a lot of work! Here’s how to stay organized.

• Plan for the intensity of the course, i.e. let friends/family know that you’re not available for a few weeks.
• Don’t put things off – plan a lesson over two nights rather than leaving it all until the last minute.
• Have a copy of the course timetable in an easily accessible place.

That’s it!

All that’s left is to take this advice to heart, get started, and to start teaching with CELTA.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

May 8, 2018

Ready, Set, Teach: Lesson Planning Tips

With a completed CELTA program behind you, you’re ready to teach—you did it! Whether the path to a CELTA certificate was intensive or pursued part-time, there are lessons to be planned and language to be taught.

Take advantage of these classroom-tested tips from ILSC’s team of CELTA trainers and go teach some English!

MFP Prep & Target Language

First things first. If a lesson is going to teach students something new, you’ll need a good grasp of the lesson’s target language.

  • Get a good grammar book.
    Being a native-level speaker isn’t magic; go over the finer points of the target language.
  • Anticipate potential problems.
    Try to think from the students’ point of view and plan appropriate concept-checking questions.
  • Research more than you think is necessary.
    The students will inevitably come up with surprising questions.

Organization

Teaching ESL can be a whirlwind, especially overseas. So it’s important to see planning as an investment; a clear, well-planned lesson is a lesson you won’t have to plan again in the future. Stay organized and make your hard work for you.

  • Make your plan accessible.
    Lay out handouts in order, keep board plans next to the board, etc.
  • Check your tech before the lesson.
    If the lesson depends on audio or video content, make sure it’s ready to deliver.
  • Save all your materials and plans.
    Label them clearly and store them in binders or digitally (Evernote, Google Keep, etc.) for recycling and reuse.

Staying Student-centred

Students’ needs are at the centre of the CELTA teaching philosophy for a reason. Students learn better when they can engage with lesson content that connects to their lives while challenging their abilities. Your particular students should be top of mind in your lesson planning.

  • Limit teacher talk-time.
    Get the students talking instead, and avoid as much reference to open class as possible.
  • Solicit ideas/topics from students during the first class.
    This provides a bank of engaging themes the students are sure to appreciate throughout the course.
  • Support pair and group work.
    This allows students to practice the target language more and careful monitoring will help you identify problems to address during error-correction.

What’s next?

These lessons won’t plan themselves, but with skills from the CELTA program and these practical tips they’re sure to be a hit with students. Get planning and have a great class!


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

April 25, 2018

Vancouver Meets CELTA

The University of Cambridge’s highly respected and recognized Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults has arrived at Greystone College in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. Whether a layover en route to the world or the destination itself, Vancouver is the perfect place to start a new adventure with CELTA.

Opportunity with a view

Greystone College’s Vancouver campus is equipped to give students a modern and stimulating learning experience both in and out of the classroom. The campus is located in the heart of the city, minutes from the waterfront, and never far from a stunning view.

The Vancouver campus offers not only quality teaching training with CELTA but also ample opportunity for graduates. Vancouver is a popular international destination and has more ESL schools than anywhere else in Canada, making it a great place for language learners and teachers alike.

CELTA at Greystone College

The CELTA program at Greystone College is offered in a flexible part-time format over 11 weeks. The 140-hour course is practical and complete, with trainees’ time split between input sessions with trainers, classroom observations, and teaching practicum with real students.

Similar to other program formats, the part-time course offers the same one to six trainer-trainee ratios, teaching practicum, and employment assistance found in full-time programs.

Flexibility is important for students and those making a career change, so classes are held in the evening twice a week and Saturdays during the day, allowing trainees the freedom to work as they earn their certification.

What are you waiting for?

CELTA prepares future teachers for the TESL world with valuable hands-on instruction and ensures graduates are ready to help diverse language-learners in any context. With its spectacular mountains and stunning beaches, Vancouver is the perfect place to study and explore, and after graduation, Greystone College is there to help with finding a job locally or abroad.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

April 4, 2018

Teaching with CELTA as a Non-Native Speaker

So you want to teach English as a Second Language, in your second language? That’s admirable, brave even, but is it foolish? Not at all! In fact, teaching English as a non-native speaker with the CELTA is more common than you might expect.

Language Requirements

Every CELTA applicant must complete a comprehensive language assessment as part of the CELTA application process. Candidates’ performance on the assessment is the main criteria for acceptance into the program; no one is refused for simply being a non-native speaker!

Non-native ESL teachers aren’t all that rare and can actually make up a good portion of the faculty at language schools in English-speaking countries. A likely, although anecdotal, reason for this could be that native English speakers are attracted to TESL for the opportunities to teach abroad whereas non-native English speakers usually achieve their fluency by moving to an English-speaking country.

Advantages

Finally, there is some good news. Non-native speakers possess a few advantages over native speakers.

1. Technical Grammar Knowledge

  • Bilingual and multi-lingual candidates consistently have a fuller knowledge of English grammar than most native speakers. This, of course, is because non-native speakers have had a more technical formal education in English, whereas native speakers focus more on language arts and literature throughout their education. Often, non-native speakers have an advantage in communication skills, too.

2. Empathy

  • Non-native speakers don’t have a monopoly on empathy but they can quickly identify with the struggles and frustrations of their students because they’ve been there. Although this isn’t a formal classroom management technique, knowing when to give students a break or an extra dose of encouragement can really improve a student’s experience.

3. ESL Experience – in Reverse!

  • This one may be obvious, but if you’ve learned English as a second language then you already have experience in an ESL environment. Non-native speakers who learned English in a classroom setting are likely to have fond memories of activities or approaches they enjoyed. Even negative experiences are helpful in knowing what to avoid or thinking about how to improve approaches to difficult language concepts.

Challenges

Just because it isn’t impossible to complete the CELTA as a non-native speaker doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. These will vary from person to person but are common among advanced non-native speakers of English.

1. Accent

  • Non-native speakers will have some kind of an accent when speaking English, and that’s perfectly acceptable since many native-speakers also speak with a pronounced accent. In fact, most students are learning English in order to communicate with other non-native speakers, so being exposed to a variety of non-native accents is useful for them.

2. Confidence

  • It’s very important that students trust your ability to instruct them in the language. Native speakers are able to quickly and confidently respond to many questions because their intuitive grasp of English has been honed over a lifetime. Non-native speakers may not feel as confident, but they can prepare for lessons to build that confidence (completing the CELTA will also help). It’s also encouraging to remember that native speakers make mistakes too—especially with technical grammar!

What are you waiting for?

Teaching English as a second language (TESL) isn’t reserved for those who happen to be born in an English-speaking country. If you have an advanced command of English the CELTA program can open up the world of TESL for you, whether you’re a recent graduate, looking for a career change, or want to liven up your retirement.


Does teaching English to adult learners sound like an adventure you can see yourself taking? ILSC offers the Cambridge CELTA as an intensive 4-week program, a part-time 11-week program, and a flexible online format.

October 10, 2017