CELTA at ILSC: Meet the Trainers (Part 3)

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.

Breana Sproul is an assistant CELTA tutor at ILSC and teaches and evaluates trainees during the intensive 4-week course as well as the online and part-time CELTA programs.

Get to know… Breana Sproul

This is Breana

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

A friend of mine wanted to take a TESL course so I joined her; best decision I ever made!

I started teaching young learners in Taiwan, where I stayed for two years.  I then moved to Prague, gaining experience in teaching adults at mostly intermediate levels.  I did some private tutoring in London for a few years before moving to Amman, where I had the opportunity to teach both young learners and adults at levels ranging from elementary to intermediate.  After Jordan, I went on to teach in Istanbul, where I got a vast amount of experience teaching all ages and levels.  It was also there that I began to branch out into teacher training, first as the Senior Teacher at my school and then for OUP.

That CELTA Life

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

I was very fortunate to work for a school in Istanbul that had a CELTA department so after completing my DELTA, I trained up to be a tutor. They paid for me to do the DELTA and then trained me up to be a CELTA tutor.

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

I am an assistant course tutor, which means I give input sessions, observe teaching practice and provide feedback to CELTA trainees.

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

I would have to say that trainees tend to struggle most with language analysis.

Personal Colour

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

Grammar mistakes are just teaching/learning moments!

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

While I do love a good Rutabaga, I would have to say ‘shenanigans’

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

There’s many mistakes I make in grammar…

Q: What is your favourite thing about teaching CELTA?

Guiding my trainees to reach their highest potential!

Next Up

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


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.

May 22, 2019

CELTA: A format that fits

CELTA Course Format ILSC
Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

The only thing better than a highly-regarded language training certificate with industry-wide recognition is the flexibility to get it your way. That’s why ILSC’s CELTA program is offered in a variety of formats, allowing you to get certified quickly, flexible, or even (mostly) in the comfort of your home.

One CELTA certificate, Three Formats

People seeking CELTA certification do so for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a career change and other times it’s a passport to the world, but with a variety of reasons there comes a variety of circumstances. Whatever the circumstances, there’s likely a CELTA program to get you up and running in the TESOL world.

ILSC offers the CELTA teaching certificate in three formats:

  1. Full-time intensive on-campus (in Montreal)
  2. Part-time on-campus (in Toronto)
  3. Online (flexible schedule) (from home, with an onsite practicum in Montreal, San Francisco, or New Delhi)

Each is a little different and tailored to your needs. Here are the details:

CELTA full-time

The full-time intensive format of the CELTA course available in Montreal provides everything you need to start teaching English in only four weeks. The 140-hour course is practical and complete – time is split between input sessions with trainers, classroom observations, and teaching practicum.

Because of the intensive nature of the full-time format, the Full-time program is a good fit if you’re able to take time off work and give dedicated focus to the program. In addition to in-class work, you will also have assignments to complete over weekends and will want to devote time to planning lessons during evenings.

While the full-time intensive CELTA course may be daunting, the short time commitment means you can get into the job market quickly once you graduate. You will also receive information about the best practices for finding work locally and abroad in your final week.

Part-Time CELTA

If you want to study in Toronto, and have other obligations, and it’s not urgent to complete the course right away, you’ll appreciate the more relaxed pace of the 11-week part-time CELTA course. The part-time course offers you the same one to six trainer-trainee ratios, teaching practicum, and employment assistance as the intensive program but with added flexibility.

The part-time CELTA course holds classes in the evening twice a week and Saturdays during the day, allowing you the freedom to work while you earn your certification.

CELTA Online

If you want maximum freedom and flexibility getting your English teaching certification, the online CELTA course is the one for you! The online CELTA course runs over 22-weeks, with ongoing deadlines for assignments and collaborative activities that allow you to connect with other trainees. The course format allows trainees to work when it’s most convenient for you and provides a guiding structure to track progress.

One of the CELTA program’s strengths is how it gets you in front of real, multi-lingual students for teaching practice, and the online course includes this component. All assignments and units are completed online but you will are also be required to attend on-campus teaching practice in Montreal or San Francisco to complete your certification.


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.

May 8, 2019

CELTA at ILSC: Meet the Trainers (Part 2)

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.

James Meanwell is a CELTA tutor at ILSC and teaches and evaluates trainees during the intensive 4-week course as well as the online and part-time CELTA programs.

Get to know… James Meanwell

James Meanwell of ILSC-Montréal’s CELTA team.

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

Accidentally, kind of. I had a friend teaching in Korea who recommended it and I’ve been doing it since!

I started off teaching in South Korea for two and a half years teaching young learners. Since coming back to Canada I’ve been teaching adults in general English, exam preparation, and doing a lot of CELTA training.

That CELTA Life

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

LOL at rockstar! Right place, right time for me. There was an opening at my previous workplace in Toronto and they paid for me to do the DELTA and then trained me up to be a CELTA tutor.

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

On course, the days are quite similar: input sessions, lesson planning, marking assignments, and observing teaching practice. Working with such great people makes it easy to come in.

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

Language analysis and clarification FOR SURE. When I first started teaching my technical knowledge of the language was verb = action word, noun = person, place, or thing. Ironically, most of the progress for many will come AFTER the course when grads get hired and have to teach a range of grammatical points at different levels.

Personal Colour

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

I’m learning to let go! Language evolves and I enjoy the idiosyncrasies of individual language use. Intelligibility is the ultimate goal.

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

How could you choose just one? Conceptually, probably ‘neuroplasticity’.

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

Does mumbling count?

Q: What is your favourite thing about teaching CELTA?

Selfishly, probably the small moments of levity on each course. I love stories of triumph and seeing people take risks in order to push their boundaries. The laughs—I can still remember moments with groups from years ago having too much fun.

Next Up

Get to know the rest of the CELTA team at ILSC-Montreal in interviews with Christopher Cooke 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 and a flexible online format.

April 24, 2019

Keep going with CELTA

CELTA Career Job ILSC
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It’s never too late to put experience to work. Whether you’re just coming out of a fruitful career or years into an equally fruitful retirement, there are always new experiences on the horizon. After years of work, though, who doesn’t want to do something new and valuable? With CELTA, you can continue to do meaningful work and experience the world in a whole new way.

A quality certification

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.

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 program is offered in a variety of formats to fit your schedule. Get started quickly with the 4-week intensive course or take the more flexible approach of the new online CELTA course.

Whichever variety of CELTA, new teachers leave with the confidence to teach students from diverse backgrounds in a variety of settings. Not everyone ends up teaching daily to classrooms full of students; many get involved in community organizations or simply offer private instruction.

Make a difference, or just do something different

Everyone’s motivation is different, and if you want to help refugees and new immigrants feel at home, CELTA offers the tools to complete that mission. If you want to travel and experience and learn from a different culture, that’s also available to you.

With a widely recognized qualification like CELTA, it’s as easy to travel the world as it is to welcome it to your neighbourhood. In many cases, it’s not even necessary to become a full-time teacher at a school or training centre.

Put years of experience to work

Retirement doesn’t have to mean leaving behind a lifetime of knowledge, in fact, a former career can bring a lot of value to teaching ESL. There is an increasing demand for teachers who can tailor lessons to students who require instruction in English for Specific Purposes (ESP). This means new teachers with experience in domains like business, tourism, medicine, science and technology can put their experience to work for students.

Whether you’re planning to teach abroad or at home, students looking for careers in these industries may require this kind of ESP instruction and teachers with relevant experience are more attractive than those without it.

Next steps?

All that’s left is to decide where and when to take life’s next adventure!


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.

April 10, 2019

Online Resources for New Teachers

CELTA Resources ILSC
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

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
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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