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CELTA FAQ

Although you can probably find the answers to some of these questions in our information package and elsewhere in the materials we provide, here is a sample of some of the many questions people like to ask about the CELTA.


Why is the CELTA so well recognized?

A. Many reasons! Mainly because:
i. it is one of the few courses which has a high level of practical, classroom training. You actually have to teach, and be observed teaching, ‘real’ learners of English as a foreign or second language; you don’t just sit around talking about teaching, or do teaching practice (TP) with ‘pseudo’ students (e.g. your fellow trainees on the course).
ii. the trainers have to be highly trained, qualified and experienced, and approved by Cambridge -- not just anyone is an acceptable CELTA teacher-trainer!
iii. to maintain standards internationally, centres that offer the courses have to go through a rigorous ‘quality control’ check by external assessors appointed by Cambridge. Approved centres have to be inspected and re-approved regularly. Few other courses require this level of quality control.
iv. though there have been some changes in content and course requirements, the CELTA, in one form or another, has been around for over 25 years.
v. there are nearly 300 approved centres world-wide so it’s well-established internationally - and increasingly so! Over 10,000 teachers take the course each year.
vi. more and more institutions worldwide require their teachers to have the CELTA (or the higher-level DELTA)
vii. and, perhaps most importantly, virtually everyone who has taken the course has said they would recommend it to their friends and colleagues. As one candidate’s post-course feedback said: “If you are thinking about taking the CELTA, don’t think about it, just do it!”

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What does CELTA stand for?

A. Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. Until a few years ago, the course was known as the Cambridge-RSA CELTA, but the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) is now involved in other types of examinations within UCLES. The course requirements and contents have been modified to some extent. UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate) is the actual awarding body, not Language Resources.

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Will it help me to teach children and younger learners?

A. The CELTA is specifically designed for teaching adults. However, most of what you'll learn can easily be applied to any learners over the age of, say, 12 or 13. Some of the techniques can also be applied to ‘Younger Learners,’ i.e. children of primary or elementary school age, with modifications. There is a Cambridge Certificate designed especially for young learners (CELTYL) but this is not currently available in Japan. Teachers interested in the CELTYL are expected to have taken the CELTA first.

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Why is CELTA any better than the many online TEFL courses available now?

A. A couple of the most important and useful aspects of the course are the Teaching Practice (TP), where you teach 6 hours of lessons over the course, and the accompanying feedback from both the trainers and your peers. TP lessons are observed and assessed by the trainers. In fact, there'll be up to 30 hours of observing teaching in the TP sessions. On CELTA courses, you have to teach ‘real’ students (i.e. not just your fellow trainees) at two different levels of English - at LR, this usually comprises a high Elementary and High-Intermediate/Advanced. You will also be required to observe experienced teachers outside the sessions (including some on video).

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Where do the trainees come from in Japan?

A. Most trainees come from the Kansai (Kinki) area, though we regularly have people coming from as far afield as Shikoku, Nagoya, Okayama - even Tokyo!

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Why do you only offer a Part-Time course?

A. There are several reasons, but the main one is the fact that most people who take the course are working during the week, so the weekend is the only time they have available. (Many teachers who normally work on Saturdays ask their employers for a change of schedule to allow them to take the course.) There is also the problem of arranging the TP groups (i.e. the learners you have to teach as part of the course). Not many learners can attend an intensive course. They have to work, or study, too!

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WHow many hours outside of class will I need to spend on homework?

A. Homework consists of readings, written assignments (4) and lesson preparation, as well as occasional worksheets. The amount of work will vary by week, and also by trainee. The more you want to get out of the course, the more you will need to put into it. We are reluctant to give an exact number of hours, but it can be significant at different stages of the course. This is a highly respected professional qualification and you must be prepared to put in the hours!

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Does everyone pass the CELTA course at Language Resources?

A. Most do - perhaps 95% - but not everyone. Our results are typical of world-wide average pass rates (official statistics available). Cambridge does not impose restrictions on the number of candidates who pass or fail any given course. It is merely a question of achieving the required course objectives. While we obviously hope everyone will pass, we cannot guarantee it - no centre would! One of the main objectives of the application procedure is to try to ascertain whether a person is actually unsuitable, for whatever reasons, for the course. Fortunately, there are not so many like that. A key factor in the course is teamwork and mutual support - the going can get tough sometimes! - and we greatly prefer to have people on the course who are willing to share their ideas and be open to those of others’. Current (lack of) ‘language awareness,’ or teaching experience / skills are not usually a factor in deciding whether to accept or reject someone onto the course. Among the most common reasons why candidates fail are:
i. unwillingness to try out new/unfamiliar teaching approaches and techniques
ii. inability/unwillingness to develop as a teacher in response to the experience the course provides
iii. failing to be punctual - either for the lessons and/or in completing assignments
iv. having too many other commitments to contend with during the course.

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Can only native speakers of English take the CELTA?

A. No. The CELTA is now open to non-native speakers of English as long as their English skills are ‘of an adequate standard to follow the course and complete the assignments’. Each course at LR has a mixture of nationalities, which, we believe, makes the learning experience even more valuable. We must have had at least 20 different nationalities represented on the course over the years, but most are from Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, and an increasing number from the EU. On each course the ‘mix’ is different.

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What if I can’t comply with the payment schedule?

A. While the majority of applicants pay for the course in a lump sum or as per the standard installment scheme described in our information package, we always do our best to accommodate teachers with special needs - and usually do! Please feel free to ask if the payment scheme presents a problem for you. We can probably come up with an acceptable arrangement.

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Do I have to have a university degree?

A. No, but the vast majority of people on our courses do. Why? Most, though not all, candidates are already working as teachers here, and a university degree is normally required by Japanese immigration authorities if you are non-Japanese. De facto, most candidates have a university degree. However, it is not a requirement by either Cambridge or LR. You do have to be at least 20 years old.

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Do I have to attend a pre-course interview?

A. Basically, yes! For many reasons, for both you and us, it’s best if you can! But interviews by telephone are acceptable for those applying from further afield.

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Should I do an M.A. TEFL, or similar course, instead of a CELTA?

A. That may depend on your circumstances and personal career objectives. Bear in mind that the vast majority of M.A. courses have little or no practicum component. Depending on the university, an M.A. course may require extensive reading, writing and talking about students, but you may not actually get near any! Successful teaching requires training in highly practical skills under the guidance of highly-trained and experienced trainers. That's what the CELTA provides. And that's why not a few people who have completed an ELT-related M.A. also take the CELTA for the practical skills they need for classroom work with real students. Many employers are aware of all this and place emphasis on teachers with proven practical teaching skills and credentials.
Depending on their long-term career objectives, we at LR recommend ELT teachers to take both the CELTA and then either the higher level Cambridge DELTA (Diploma) or an M.A.

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Do you accept applicants from overseas?

Applicants from outside Japan are kindly advised that while we may be able to offer some basic advice, we are unable to provide any practical assistance with visa applications, accommodation or work if they wish to attend this course. It may be a good idea to check the Internet for accommodation in the Kansai area. Unless you have, or expect to have, a job lined up in Japan, or sufficient funds to cover both the course fees and living expenses, we would normally recommend taking the CELTA in your home country if it is available there. Also, we do not guarantee any offer of a job on completion of the course.

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