CELTA Frequently Asked Questions

International House Cape Town, South Africa

What is a CELTA Course?

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It’s easy to think of all those different course names as just a load of mumbo jumbo; but, in fact,the different qualifications can be used for different things. Let’s take a look at CELTA.

It’s a simple enough question, so here’s the equally simple answer! CELTA stands for Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Teaching English to speakers of other languages can be a highly rewarding career, offering you the chance to live and work abroad. You will need an internationally recognised teaching qualification, and CELTA — highly regarded throughout the world

— gives you the skills you need and will make it easier to get a teaching job almost anywhere.

CELTA is an initial qualification for people with little or no previous teaching experience and opens up a whole world of exciting teaching opportunities. Because it is awarded by Cambridge ESOL, part of the world-famous University of Cambridge, you can rely on its quality and recognition.

Over 10,000 people successfully complete a CELTA course each year.

‘I really enjoyed my experience at IH Cape Town. I am very sad to leave. I’ve met great people and

made good friends. All the stress was worth it in the end, and I would definitely recommend CELTA to

other interested in EFL teaching,

-Carmen Vlahakis, Zimbabwe

How does CELTA relate to TEFL/TESOL?

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‘TEFL’ or ‘TESOL’ are terms often used to describe qualifications for English Language Teachers.

CELTA, the most widely taken initial TESOL/TEFL qualification of its kind in the world, was previously known as CTEFLA and the ‘RSA certificate’.

Who is a CELTA course for?

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CELTA is suitable for a wide range of people. It is the ideal qualification for those who want to start English language teaching almost anywhere in the world. It is also suitable for people who want

a career break or change, and for those already teaching English but who have no formal qualification.

If you’re looking to do English Language Teaching (ELT) or Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) to adults (which amount to the same thing – all these acronyms are merely here to confuse

us!), then a CELTA course could be for you. It will equip you with all the skills you need to teach English to students around the world.

Who can do a CELTA course?

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Ideally you should:

  • have a standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education
  • be aged 20 or over
  • have a good standard of English even if English isn’t your native language – if you can speak it, you can learn the skills to teach it at a range of levels.

Centres may still accept you if you do not have formal qualifications at this level but can demonstrate that you would be likely to complete the course successfully. Some centres may, at their discretion,

accept applicants aged between 18 and 20.

What if I don’t have any teaching experience?

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The truth is that you don’t need any teaching experience to do a CELTA course – you’re fine as a novice. However, this course is very demanding and requires 100% commitment, so if you have a little teaching experience already, this is an excellent course to continue your development as a teacher. CELTA courses train people from all walks of life and lay the foundations for a secure career in ELT and many candidates take the course on this premise.

‘The CELTA course for me has been an intense yet rewarding experience. It had developed me both personally and academically. I can now say I am a teacher, I am able to communicate successfully and connect with students over the best language in the world! I’m glad I did it and most important I gained a new family that I plan to keep for a long time.’

-Tracy Nduati, Kenya

What does a CELTA course involve?

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Seeing as a CELTA course is made for newcomers to the world of TEFL, it will whip you through all the basics while giving you enough skills to build a proper career in teaching English as a foreign language

– if this is what you fancy.

A CELTA course will help you to develop the principles of effective teaching as well as harvesting practical skills that will prove invaluable when you roll up at a teaching job with nothing more than a

piece of chalk or a board marker and a class full of eager students!

You’ll also get some teaching practice under your belt, observe experienced teachers in the classroom and complete practically-focused written assignments.

Your chosen CELTA course:

  • teaches you the principles of effective teaching
  • provides a range of practical skills for teaching English to adult learners
  • gives you hands-on teaching practice

There are five main units of learning:

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  • Learners and teachers, and the teaching and learning context
  • Language analysis and awareness
  • Language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing
  • Planning and resources for different contexts
  • Developing teaching skills and professionalism.

You will be assessed throughout the course, with no final examination. An external assessor, appointed by Cambridge ESOL, moderates each  course. There are two components of assessment:

  1. Teaching practice

You will teach for a total of 6 hours, working with classes at two levels of ability. Assessment is based on your overall performance at the end of the 6 hours.

  1. Written assignments

You will complete four written assignments: one focusing on adult learning; one on the language system of English; one on language skills; and one on classroom teaching.To be awarded the

certificate you must pass both components.

How long is a CELTA course?

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It depends which course you take. If you’re in a hurry to get qualified, you can do the intensive full-time CELTA course that typically lasts for 4-5 weeks.

Where can I do a CELTA course?

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All over the place! CELTA courses are run at 280 approved centres spanning 54 countries. Over 900 courses take place each year.

How is a CELTA course graded?

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After you’ve successfully completed a CELTA course, you’ll be awarded an A, B or pass grade. How well you do will depend on how you perform in your teaching practice and in the written assignments.

Is CELTA internationally accredited?

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Yes! The Cambridge CELTA has been accredited by OFQUAL (the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) at Level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework for England. Cambridge ESOL also works with international ELT organisations to ensure the acceptance

of CELTA globally. A CELTA is one of the elite teaching qualifications as it is one of the most widely-recognised teaching certifications in the world.

‘My experience at International House Cape Town was one of the most challenging and rewarding times of my career. The course design allows for non-stop scaffolding and learning. Absolutely worth the investment, plus it’s located in a safe & beautiful part of the city! Thank you for the opportunity to grow!’

-Samantha Kobs, USA

Who recognizes The CELTA?

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CELTA is accepted throughout the world by organisations which employ English language teachers. CELTA is recognized by TEFL employers worldwide, including: language schools such as International

House, ELSI and EF; many overseas public schools, colleges and other employers; many ministries of education, and government bodies such as The British Council; as well as IATEFL and other major professional organizations. It is well regarded by organizations such as the Peace Corps and JET. CELTA graduates usually receive credit for MA TESOL programmes.

What’s a Cambridge CELTA?

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If you’ve been snooping around TEFL sites you might have come across the ‘Cambridge CELTA’. Don’t worry – it’s not a superior version of the CELTA! It’s actually because the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) award the CELTA. This affiliation with a world-famous university adds an extra shine to its international reputation.

Can I teach children with a CELTA?

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There’s no reason why you can’t apply the teaching skills you’ll learn from a CELTA course to teaching English to a range of students. However, it’s intended to prepare you for teaching adults.

What can I do after a CELTA course?

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What can’t you do after a CELTA course would be an easier question to answer – the words ‘world’ and ‘oyster’ spring to mind! As soon as you have a CELTA you have the golden ticket to a world of teaching adults in your back pocket. So whether you fancy teaching as you admire mangroves in China or on the idyllic archipelago of Indonesia, the sky’s the limit.

About the input sessions:

‘Very informative. The tutors really practice what they preached, incredible knowledge taken from each and every day.’

About the premises:

‘Great location, comfortable facilities with plenty of supportive materials and resources.’

About the course:

‘Overall, amazing course. I’ve learned so much, so much more than expected for teaching practices, language, analysis and soft skills in general. The teachers have been so helpful towards my teaching techniques, lesson planning and even life skills.’

-Beatrice Thana, American


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