So you’re thinking about doing the Cambridge CELTA course. You’ve done your homework: you know your TEFL from your CELTAs, and you know the hours, dates and costs.
You’ve also heard about the intensity of the course, and perhaps you’re wondering if there is any way of taking some of the pressure off.
Well the good news is – there are several things you can do to prepare yourself for the CELTA
In order to point you in the right direction, here are 5 Top Tips straight from the experienced tutors at International House CLIC Sevilla & Málaga.
1. Time management
Even before the course begins, there are steps you can take to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for what’s to come.
In your interview, you will be given recommended reading and a pre-course task.
Just as teachers can often tell when their students haven’t spent enough time on their homework, your CELTA tutors can too! Once the course starts, you won’t have time for last minute cramming, so do as much as you can in advance.
If you opt to study abroad, you might relocate to a beautiful destination like Seville or Malaga, and although you might be dying to explore them, this isn’t going to be a relaxing holiday.
Trainees often find themselves working during weekends finishing lesson plans or assignments and tend to leave most of their sightseeing for after the course. Alternatively, plan to arrive a few days early so you can spend time familiarising yourself with your new surroundings.
Remember, this is a short, intensive course. It will be over before you know it, and if you’re prepared to sacrifice some free time, you’ll definitely reap the benefits.
2. Terminology – learn the lingo!
Many professions and areas of study are full of terminology, jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms. The world of ELT (that’s: English Language Teaching) is no exception.
On the Cambridge CELTA course, we aim to familiarise you with this terminology and the key concepts behind them.
However, nothing feels better than being able to nod sagely when your tutor asks “has anyone heard of a CCQ?”. So why not swot up on some terms before the course? There are plenty of good books like Scott Thornbury’s A-Z of ELT or websites with great definitions like British Council.
3. Get comfortable with technology
There are many qualities that make a good teacher, and one of these is the ability to utilise resources and technical aids.
In the past, this might have been as simple as writing on a blackboard, but a modern teacher is often expected to be competent with everything from word processing to online learning platforms.
As with the terminology, your CELTA tutor will introduce various technologies and resources to you as the course progresses, but it can also be useful to get comfortable with some of these beforehand.
This could be as simple as browsing folders and files your tutor has shared with you before the course to check that you can access the relevant materials without any problems. .
From experience, we would also recommend your technology is relatively up-to-date. You will be required to type up your assignments and lesson plans, and you don’t want to be doing it on an old computer which overheats every five minutes. The last thing you want to be doing on day one of the course is running off to buy a new laptop!!
4. Listen to your tutors
For many trainees, studying for the Cambridge CELTA can be an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, your tutors have been running these courses for many years, and know what it takes to pass the course.
Whether you’re coming to the CELTA with previous teaching experience, or not, the advice your tutors will give you is designed to take your teaching to the next level – always keep in mind that we’re here to help you.
After you teach a lesson, your tutor will give you feedback with some suggestions for your subsequent lessons. Making an effort to address these suggestions is the key to really succeeding on the course.
5. The goal is not perfection, but improvement
Our final Top Tip is not to be too hard on yourself. The chances of everything going smoothly during every lesson you teach on the CELTA are pretty slim.
If you are aiming to teach “The Perfect Lesson”, you are only opening the door to disappointment. After all, a star quality in a good teacher is their ability to reflect on what went well in their lesson, and what didn’t.
Although your tutors and fellow trainees will also be on hand to help you reflect on your lessons and figure out what you’re doing right (and wrong!), you should remember this is ultimately about your journey.
The course is designed to take your existing skills, add to them, and hone them. At the end of the it, you will be amazed at how much you’ve learnt in such a short space of time!
If you are interested in doing the CELTA and haven’t yet signed up, CLIC have a range of courses available for you: from face-to-face courses in Málaga and Sevilla, online courses, or a blend of the two. Click here for more information on our full range of courses and course fees.