CELTA Frequently Asked Questions
Below you'll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about applying for our CELTA course.
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1. General Information
The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) has been administering examinations in English as a Foreign Language since 1913. In September 1988, it took over the administration of the Certificates and Diplomas for Teaching English as a Foreign Language formerly administered by the RSA Examinations Board. In 2003 University of Cambridge Assessment English began overseeing teaching qualifications. The model of the course was originally designed by John Haycraft in the 1960's and in 1977, in consultation with International House, the model was adapted, developed and piloted with other organizations. Revisions to the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (CTEFLA) were introduced via phased piloting throughout 1995 and 1996. From the 30th October 1996 the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (CTEFLA) was renamed the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). EC International College of Teacher Training has been running CELTA courses since 1996.
2.What does CELTA stand for?
Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults.
3. Is CELTA a TESL or a TEFL certificate?
It's both. CELTA covers methodology and techniques used in both TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). CELTA is often called an ELT (English Language Teaching) certificate because it is applicable to all types of English language teaching.
4. Do you offer "the TESL certificate"?
There is no such thing as "the TESL certificate" just as there is no such thing as "the B.A.". There are several kinds of TESL/TEFL/TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificates offered by many institutions. CELTA is one of those certificates. CELTA is an ELT (English Language Teaching) certificate, which encompasses TESL and TEFL. It is the most widely recognized and respected international certificate offered in Canada.
5. Who recognizes the CELTA certificate?
CELTA is administered through the University of Cambridge Assessment English Examinations and is recognized internationally by both private and public institutes. Within Canada, we are recognized by TESL Canada and most provincial TESL organizations.
6. Can I work in Canada and other countries with CELTA?
Yes. CELTA is one of the most highly regarded qualifications for working in a private language school in Canada, including Ontario. Many college and university ESL/EFL programmes are run much like private language schools and will hire teachers with a CELTA certificate. CELTA is the most requested pre-service teaching qualification by both public and private employers overseas. When checking websites advertising English teaching jobs, you will often see CELTA listed as the preferred qualification.
7. Why is CELTA so highly regarded?
CELTA is a standardized course overseen by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, which is part of Cambridge University in Cambridge, England. Cambridge Assessment English ensures that all CELTA courses meet their standards regarding curriculum and methods of assessment. Cambridge-appointed assessors visit every CELTA course in the world to ensure standardization. As CELTA is offered in centres all over the world, employers have become familiar with what the course entails. They tend to know what they are getting when they hire a person with a CELTA certificate. Employers have confidence that anyone with a CELTA certificate has received effective, practical, real-world training that has prepared them to go directly into a teaching position.
8. Can I do the course if English is not my first language?
Yes, your English needs to be of a near-native level. This means that you need to have a command of English that allows you to complete all written assignments and teaching practice requirements to the University of Cambridge standards.
9. Do I need teaching experience to take the CELTA?
No. Prior teaching experience is not a necessary prerequisite to being accepted onto a CELTA course.
10. Can I do the course by correspondence?
No. The CELTA course at EC Toronto is not offered via correspondence. Our CELTA course is very practical by nature and so does not lend itself to distance learning. We strive to improve practical teaching techniques and strategies, and so the course directly involves actual hands-on teaching practice with a clear feedback mechanism to guide you and facilitate improvement.
11. What quality assurance mechanisms are there?
Great importance is attached to quality control and this is assured in a number of ways:
All centers are subject to annual approval by the University of Cambridge Assessment English Examinations.
Every course that a center offers is visited by a Cambridge-appointed external assessor.
Every center is assigned a Joint Chief Assessor who monitors standards at the center.
Standardization meetings for centers, assessors and Joint Chief Assessors are held annually.
Procedures exist for you to raise any issue of concern with Cambridge ESOL via the center.
12. What is the pass/fail rate?
Approximately 7,000 – 10,000 candidates take the CELTA every year. The overall failure rate worldwide is approximately 6%. For such a large number of candidates, very few fail. This is true for 2 reasons:
The detailed application and selection process is in place so that only candidates with the potential to pass are accepted onto the course.
A system of tutor and peer support is built into the programme. If you are having difficulty on the course, you can receive assistance from your tutors or peers.
13. What are the admission requirements?
University of Cambridge Assessment English and CELTA operate on the principle of open and equal opportunity for all, irrespective of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, creed, colour, race, ethnic origin, age or disability. To be accepted for the CELTA course, applicants must fulfill the following criteria:
Applicants must be at least 20 years old, have gained university entrance qualifications
Applicants who are not at least 20 years old or who have not gained university entrance qualifications may be admitted at the discretion of the Course Co-ordinator.
14. I've heard that CELTA is really hard. Why is this?
CELTA is not hard in the sense that the material is difficult to understand. The course is often considered difficult because it is very intensive and there are many deadlines to meet in the space of a month. It is a full-time commitment for 4 weeks. Evenings and weekends are devoted to completing assignments and preparing lessons for teaching practice. Time management skills are very important to success on this course. Furthermore, assessment is continuous. Each day there is a 2-hour teaching practice with real students drawn from the community. During that time, you have to put into practice what you have learned. The teaching practice is assessed by one of the course tutors and you are given written and oral feedback from your tutors and peers.
15. Can I take the course part-time?
At EC we do offer the course part-time. The course generally runs over 12 weeks - Tuesday, Thursday evenings and six Saturdays. Please see the course dates page for the next part-time start date.
16. Does the centre offer help in finding jobs for its successful candidates?
We provide you with the website addresses of major recruiters of ELT teachers worldwide. We encourage you to contact them so the recruiters can then forward lists of current world-wide teaching vacancies. We often receive job ads from employers, specifically seeking our CELTA graduates. These ads are posted on our job board in the CELTA resource room. EC Toronto has hired many CELTA graduates. EC also has schools in Montreal and Vancouver that hire CELTA graduates. However, EC does not guarantee employment as it is your responsibility to pursue those job opportunities you are interested in.
17. Can I get funding?
These courses are not usually eligible for a mandatory award. Financial help may be available through Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) if you are currently unemployed and registered with HRDC. CELTA is a University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations course. Cambridge ESOL Examinations is part of the University of Cambridge in England and has no affiliation with Ontario universities or colleges. Therefore, CELTA candidates are not eligible for OSAP.
18. Are there any additional costs?
There are no mandatory additional costs, however we strongly suggest that you buy the three recommended books. You may purchase these books or use the copies in the CELTA resource room. Most candidates prefer to purchase some of the books so that they have them at their disposal during the course. All the books are very valuable resources that many teachers buy for their personal libraries and continue to use after they complete the CELTA.
Learning Teaching, Jim Scrivener (Heinemann)
A Concise Grammar for English Language Teachers, Tony Penston (TP Publications)
Practical English Usage, Michael Swan (Oxford University Press)
19. Do I need a computer?
It is not essential to have a computer, however many people prefer using a computer to handwriting assignments and lesson plans. You will do a lot of writing on the course so if you want to use a computer and you have your own laptop, then by all means bring it with you and use our wireless network. We currently have five computers, which are connected to a printer in the CELTA resource room. These facilities are available for all candidates to use during course hours. We use Microsoft software and all computers provide Internet access.
20. Do I need to bring any stationary supplies for the course?
Yes, we do not supply pens or paper, so you need to bring the standard stationary you would need for any course e.g. pens, pencils, paper, etc. You also need to bring a standard 3-ring binder and dividers.
21. What facilities does EC offer?
The CELTA centre is located within the EC Toronto language school. The school offers bright, modern facilities. Within the CELTA centre there is a resource room containing a wide collection of textbooks and teacher resource books from all the major ELT publishers. We also have visual aids, audio materials, props, audio-visual equipment and five computers. There are refrigerators for storing lunches and there are lounges with microwaves where you can eat or study.
22. Who teaches the CELTA course?
The CELTA tutors are highly experienced teachers who have also received CELTA Trainer accreditation through the University of Cambridge. They have completed both the CELTA and DELTA qualifications and have many years of both teaching and training experience.
23. Is there a final exam?
No. Assessment is on a continuous basis. Please find assessment details in the CELTA Syllabus and Assessment Guidelines.
24. Where can I get further information about CELTA or other Cambridge Assessment English courses?
We recommend you visit the University of Cambridge Assessment English Examinations website at www.cambridgeesol.org for further information.
25. Does EC provide accommodation?
EC does not provide accommodation for CELTA students. However, we can provide you information on accommodation options in Toronto. Details are provided upon request at interview.