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June 2019

Understanding CELTA: Assessment Criteria

CELTA Course Assessment ILSC
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Are you considering the CELTA program or recently been accepted into one of ILSC’s diverse CELTA courses? If you are, then the world of English language teaching will soon be open to you. That’s great news! But before the adventure can really start, the CELTA course itself needs to be conquered.

Here’s what new and prospective CELTA candidates need to know about the expectations and assessment criteria for the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Cambridge.

What Candidates Learn: Topic Descriptions

During the course, candidates will learn and implement teaching skills across five topics. The topics are assessed through teaching practice and weekly written assignments.

  1. Learners and teachers, and the teaching and learning context
    • Cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds of learners.
    • Motivations for learning English as an adult.
    • Learning and teaching preferences.
    • Contexts for learning and teaching English.
    • Varieties of English
    • Multilingualism and the role of first languages.
  2. Language analysis and awareness
    • Basic concepts and terminology used in ELT.
    • Grammatical frameworks.
    • Lexis.
    • Phonology & Features of connected speech.
    • The significance of similarities and differences between languages.
    • Overview of reference material for language awareness.
    • Strategies and approaches for developing learners’ language knowledge.
  3. Language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing
    • Basic concepts, purposes of, decoding of, and potential barriers to Reading and Listening.
    • Basic concepts, features, functions, paralinguistic features, and phonemic systems of Speaking.
    • Basic concepts, sub-skills, teaching stages, adult literacy issues, spelling and punctuation patterns in Writing.
    • Teaching strategies and approaches to receptive and productive skills.
  4. Planning and resources for different teaching contexts
    • Principles of planning for effective teaching.
    • Lesson planning and effective teaching.
    • Self-evaluation of lesson planning.
    • Selection, adaptation and evaluation of materials and resources.
    • Knowledge of commercial resources, non-published materials and classroom resources.
  5. Developing teaching skills and professionalism
    • Effective organization of the classroom.
    • Classroom presence and control.
    • Teacher and learner language.
    • Using teaching materials and resources.
    • Practical skills for teaching different levels.
    • Monitoring and evaluating learning.
    • Evaluation of the teaching/learning process.
    • Professional development: Responsibilities and Support Systems.

Two Types of Assessment

In order to successfully complete the CELTA program, candidates are required to meet three assessment requirements: Complete six hours of teaching practice, observe six hours of teaching by experienced teachers and submit a portfolio of all coursework (including written assignments and lesson plans).

The assessment is divided into two types and is continuous and integrated, meaning it’s carried out throughout the course and both components contribute to the final grade. The assessment components are divided broadly between Practice and Theory:

Planning and Teaching

  • Plan and teach classes of students at the appropriate level and classroom size for a total of six hours.

Written Assignments

  • The needs of adult learners and learning contexts
  • Analyzing a feature of the English language for the purpose of teaching.
  • Teaching specific language skills.
  • A personal reflection on classroom teaching.

Certificate Grades

Success in a CELTA program is determined on a Pass/Fail basis but certificates are awarded on a graded scale. The grades of Pass, Pass B and Pass A represent a candidate’s performance as satisfactory, good or excellent.

If written work is not completed, completed dishonestly, or if a candidate’s performance does not match all the Pass criteria, they may not receive a certificate. 

While it is possible to fail, course tutors work closely with candidates to ensure they satisfactorily achieve the requirements of the CELTA course. After all, the course tutors want to see candidates succeed and the world of ESL teaching is accessible to anyone willing to take a chance and work hard. 

The Cambridge CELTA invites you to challenge yourself and explore the world — what are you waiting 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 and a flexible online format.

June 19, 2019

Life After CELTA: Where Are They Now? 

CELTA Graduate Stories ILSC
Photo by Capturing the human heart. on Unsplash

CELTA opens doors across the world, but what exactly does that look like? Where do newly-minted teachers really end up? Our regular series “Where are they now?” offers a window into the real lives of CELTA graduates.

We hope this peek into the post-CELTA life gives prospective candidates a better idea of what’s in store for the future.


Thiago completed the CELTA course at ILSC-Montreal in 2016 and is currently teaching in Brazil.

Greetings from Brazil. I am very happy to report that taking the CELTA at ILSC-Montreal was a watershed event in my life, as being CELTA qualified led to my being hired at Cultura Inglesa SP, one of the best schools in Latin America, according to BRAZ-TESOL.

In São Paulo alone, they have more than 85,000 students and many more throughout Brazil. The selection process was very intensive and the one-month training was very similar to CELTA in many aspects, including TPs, LP, MFP, receptive skills, PPP, TTT etc.

They told me that I was only selected because I had taken the CELTA course, which they really value at the school. They also confirmed what you had already told me: that one of my strengths is a great rapport with students. Lol.

In a nutshell, I am extremely happy and grateful for all the feedback and training I had from you, and also, because I will be working in a company that really invests in the qualifications of their staff, with plenty of room for professional and career development opportunities. Once again thank you very much.


Melanie completed the CELTA course at ILSC-Montreal in 2013 and is currently teaching in Cambodia.

Since obtaining my CELTA in September 2013 I have been working for the Australian Centre of Education in Phnom Penh. After years of working in Korea prior to getting my qualifications, I decided I needed a whole new change – and Cambodia certainly gave it to me! I have found my niche in teaching university-aged students and am lucky to work at the only school that pays well there (thanks to having the prerequisite CELTA?).

I have had to opportunity to visit Angkor Wat, the beaches of Sihanoukville and can easily travel to a variety of destinations in Asia like the Philippines, Thailand and Japan. I can now wrangle prices in Khmer, whirl around the city in a tuk-tuk and slip away on a bus at a moment’s notice to all corners of the country all while learning not only about their horrific persecution under Pol Pot but also the proud traditions and culture in this fascinating corner of the earth!

Where will they go next?

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Where are they now?” and until then, consider where CELTA can take you.

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.

June 5, 2019