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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

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
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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