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The Cambridge CELTA is an entry level TEFL certificate provided by Cambridge ESOL. It is aimed at teachers with little or no previous experience, or those teachers that have had experience but with limited training. Although it is among the most expensive TEFL certificates, the CELTA is the most widely recognised globally (followed closely by the Trinity CertTESOL).
When applying for a job, you may find that employers ask for a CELTA or equivalent. To truly be equivalent to a CELTA, a certificate would need to include:
- A minimum of 120 contact hours;
- A minimum of 6 hours of assessed teaching practice;
- A minimum of 6 hours of observation of experienced teachers;
- Experienced, diploma-qualified tutors;
- State accreditation confirming that it is equivalent to level 5 on the UK’s National Qualification Framework (NQF);
- External moderation.
Enrolling on a CELTA Course
CELTA can be taken in most countries around the world, and is also available to take online. To find out where you can take CELTA, visit the Cambridge CELTA website.
In order to take CELTA, you need to apply to the course provider. They will likely check your suitability for the course which may include a pre-course task and interview. For non-native speakers, your level of English may also be tested to ensure you have a suitable level to complete the course.
CELTA Course Contents
On a CELTA, there are five topics that you cover:
- 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 teaching contexts;
- Developing teaching skills and professionalism.
To be awarded CELTA, you must meet the requirements for all written and practical assignments. This means that you must pass both the planning and teaching component as well as the four classroom-related written assignments.
An external assessor checks sample of teaching portfolios and agrees final grades for candidates.
The final grades possible are:
- Pass B
- Pass A
The majority of candidates achieve a pass. Some candidates do fail, but this is often because they do not give the CELTA sufficient attention or believe that it will be very easy. Fewer candidates get the higher grades of Pass B and Pass A which go to candidates who demonstrate higher levels of ability.
There is no shame in getting “just” a pass for CELTA. If you haven’t taught before, a month long course is unlikely to make you a brilliant teacher, but a pass means you’re on the right track. If you have taught before, you may still find it difficult to get a pass A or B as you may have some “bad habits” that you need to shake.
In any event, a pass A or B will rarely give you anything except bragging rights. Don’t be obsessed with getting one of these grades – focus on what you are learning from the course and doing the best lesson you can each time. If you do that, your efforts will be rewarded – maybe in the grade you receive but certainly in the learning you get out of the course.