ELTchat Summary

Is a 4 week CELTA/Trinity Cert course enough time to prepare someone for a FT teaching position?

This is the summary of #eltchat held on 10th August 2011 at 12pm BST by Adam Beale @bealer81 (twitter)

This was only my second #eltchat and it also happened to be about the topic I suggested for this particular session. So who better to do the summary and unashamedly use it to promote my new blog.

I suggested this particular topic as it was a question I had been asking myself for some time since finishing my first year in teaching and felt that it would be an interesting subject to debate in #eltchat.

It all kicked off with the rather blunt statement from @TyKendall       

12:02    RT @TyKendall: #ELTChat Lets cut this short. NO , 4 WEEKS IS ABYSMALLY INSUFFICIENT

Thankfully nobody took him literally by leaving the discussion at that and several people chipped in tweeting that they hadn’t completed a CELTA or didn’t actually know what it involved;

Shaunwilden      12:02     I am odd position of being a (lapsed) celta tutor and not having ever done the 4 week course myself 🙂 #ELTChat

cherrymp            12:03     @Shaunwilden even i haven’t done a celta bt had heard a lot abt it #ELTChat

barbsaka              12:03     This will be a learning experience for me–not all that familiar with either certification 🙂 #eltchat

The chat moved back to the length of the course or lack of it and its value;

bealer81              12:04     Too much info crammed into too short a time. #eltchat

TyKendall            12:04     @bealer81   #ELTChat exactly, you simply can’t absord the necessary knowledge in 4 weeks

TyKendall            12:06     @theteacherjames   #ELTChat not necessarily, i cant comment on the quality of teachers it produces, but it is simply too short!

cherrymp            12:33     v recently i came across 2 celta cert Ts who still remembers their ‘rigrous’ course n felt too much is crammed in to too little #eltchat

TyKendall            12:07     #ELTChat as a teacher you’re meant TO REFLECT on teaching, how well can you reflect over a 4 week period?

Imadruid              12:20     People pay a fortune for course that is outdated and based on poor pedagogical theories. This then leads to low wages & status.  #Eltchat

But it wasn’t all negative as people started to stick up for the CELTA:

Shaunwilden      12:06     As a tutor I always maintain that the 4 weeks give you the start but then you go into ‘apprenticeship’ #eltchat

nutrich  12:06     A 4 week course should enable a new teacher to be able to take control of their future development as well as teach basic skills  #eltchat

theteacherjames             12:08     I worked freelance for 2 years, then did a 4 week CELTA be4 my 1st FT job. More than adequately prepared me to begin my PD journey. #ELTChat

elchrys  12:09     CELTA doesn’t ‘produce teachers’ overnight. It’s an excellent training program for inexperienced teachers. #eltchat

nutrich  12:17     RT @theteacherjames: I should state that my CELTA was fantastic. I know that not everyone is so lucky.  #ELTChat Mine too. Great exeprience.

Shaunwilden      12:08     Isnt doing a 4 wk course better than doing nothing at all-looking back I wish I’d  rather than going to teach cos I cld speak Eng #eltchat

So there were people for and against the CELTA. From here the discussion splinters into various different threads, (1) with discussions about alternative qualifications available, (2) possible next steps after CELTA and (3) the need for teachers and their employers to continue their professional development. Below is a brief summary that captures these parts of the discussion;


pysproblem81   12:21     #ELTchat I got full-time #fe job with *just* CELTA but had to do DT(E)LLS equiv within 2yrs http://t.co/1lWWzNn

Imadruid              12:22     Either we’re teachers or not. Pgce should be entry requirement (if anything).

harrisonmike     12:22     #eltchat re apprenticeships – this is how I got started during French/Spanish degree http://www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistants.htm

Shaunwilden      12:23     @mcneilmahon though you can do PGCE in EFL these days #eltchat

harrisonmike     12:24     @mcneilmahon @Imadruid There are PGCE’s in post compulsory education AKA adults. That’s what I did, with ESOL focus #eltchat

ELTExperiences 12:54     There are CELTA extensions but are they worth it? #ELTchat


mcneilmahon    12:12     RT @pysproblem81: #ELTchat is there need for qual between Dip & Cert? Maybe follow up modules (open university style?) > You mean IHWO CAM ?

nutrich  12:24     Perhaps there should be a qualification for some sort of post-CELTA apprenticeship – a scheme run with schools cooperation #eltchat

mcneilmahon    12:28     RT @nutrich: Maybe CELTA should be 4 weeks f2f then a year of distance online?  #ELTChat > Nice idea – ensuring apprenticeship continues

pysproblem81   12:34     @mcneilmahon some training def needed… How does CELTA compare with Arg profesorado? #ELTchat

mcneilmahon    12:35     @pysproblem81  #ELTchat Completely different fish. Profesorado much more theory, CELTA gives survival skills in class, profesorado doesn’t..

pysproblem81   12:39     @Shaunwilden @mcneilmahon I like College model of req further quals within 2yrs – CELTA recognised as start, but prof.dev req #ELTchat

harrisonmike     12:39     @Shaunwilden @escocesa_madrid Does the name need to change? How many CELTA trained Ts end up with YL classes in their 1st job #eltchat

Shaunwilden      12:40     @harrisonmike No celta ia still very adult – there is celtyl  – delta kept the name as a brand #ELTChat

esolcourses        12:44     @harrisonmike  @chucksandy  for unqualified teachers, yes – agree. Maybe an intermediate qual to bridge CELTA + DELTA, too? #ELTChat


nutrich  12:07     It’s up to the schools employing recent CELTA graduates to help support their development #eltchat

gknightbkk          12:09     @Shaunwilden Yes the employer needs to be series about ongoing development post Cert #eltchat

esolcourses        12:10     @Shaunwilden in theory, I agree the CELTA provides a good foundation – not all employers provide support afterwards, though #eltchat

Shaunwilden      12:10     @gknightbkk Yes completely and we should help new teachers find schools that provide that #eltchat

nutrich  12:10     An important point to be made to all new Ts should be that learning how to teach   will never stop #eltchat

Kalpanapster     12:30     @cherrymp @theteacherjames. Experience does count. It’s really upto the teacher to keep pushing oneself hard. CELTA taught us that.#ELTChat

cherrymp            12:34     @esolcourses @Kalpanapster @Marisa_C yeah well said – continuing learning in supported environments – nurturing #ELTChat

gknightbkk          12:50     Many are suggesting CELTA is necessary but not sufficient. It’s a pre-service vocational course. It’s the in-service PD that counts #eltchat

Bee_Kids             12:51     #eltchat …The better teachers are those who cont. working to improve -those who genuinely enjoy the learning process.

Throughout the whole discussion there seemed to be a general sense of agreement that a CELTA type course is a basic but useful foundation for teachers to have but that the real work and experience is gained from being in a real working environment and this needs to be supported with ongoing professional development from both the teacher themselves and the employer. Of course this is just my interpretation.

I have tried to put the discussion into some sort of cohesive order but it’s not always that easy. If I missed anything important I apologize. Feel free to look at the whole transcript and make your own conclusions to what was said. Below are links that maybe useful for additional reading to this discussion;

Transcript of the chat – http://bit.ly/qmVZXq

My blog with a post about my CELTA experience – https://fiveagainstone.wordpress.com/

CELTA details – http://bit.ly/oTTUST

Trinity CertTESOL – http://bit.ly/4Fzu3B

ELTNews has been trying to get information about CELTA efficacy – http://bit.ly/nNCAQf

Link to a book about the potential shortcomings of pre service teacher training courses such as CELTA – http://bit.ly/nSQodE

A link to a poll on facebook showing what CELTA holders think of CELTA – http://on.fb.me/fx3QgC

ELTchat address – http://eltchat.com/

#eltchat takes place every Wednesday, via twitter, at 12pm and 9pm BST.


2 thoughts on “ELTchat Summary

  1. The CELTA is limited in what it can offer, as any 4-week course would be, but the practical element makes it a very useful first step. It should only be seen as the start of a long journey of professional development but language schools often focus on business rather than quality in the classroom; I was not observed in my first two years of teaching, for example.

    As a CELTA tutor, it makes me sad, but it certainly doesn’t surprise me, that people feel this way:
    Imadruid 12:20 People pay a fortune for course that is outdated and based on poor pedagogical theories. This then leads to low wages & status. #Eltchat

    I, personally, feel very strongly that what I model on CELTA is good teaching practice based on pedagogical theory and my own experience in the classroom. I spend time and effort keeping up to date with developments in teaching (not just ELT) and reflect this in my training while also encouraging course participants, as well as teachers who work for me, to do the same.
    Unfortunately, this is not the case on all courses and trainers pedal the same old outmoded practice that results in poor teaching and diminishes the reputation of ELT as an industry with any kind of quality focus.
    There are committed and professional teachers, trainers & academic managers in ELT but they are often undervalued and overshadowed by grammar grinders and the Murphy-copying crowd who have no interest in developing as teachers or considering if what they do actually benefits the learners (paying customers in many contexts) in front of them.

    Well done, Adam, for encouraging reflective practice and dialogue among colleagues.

  2. Thanks for the excellent comments Emily. I think the most frustrating thing for me was that I realized how good the trainers were and that they had so much information they could offer us, yet it was all squeezed into such a short and intensive space of time. It would have been great to spend even longer with those trainers and learn even more. Not sure if that came across in the original post, but I do appreciate the work that the majority of CELTA trainers do.

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