“What can I expect from an in-person Celta course?”
We spoke to a young Scottish teacher who has just done a Celta in Prague.
Was the course as you expected?
I had expected the course to be extremely intensive and give an overview of how to teach English. I was unsure of how they would fit everything into the month, but they really packed a lot in. I expected to be taught much more grammar than they did, which was unfortunate as I think in many Scottish schools, we are never taught the breakdown of grammar in any depth – there was a definite sense of having to keep learning independently and keeping up with the grammar was challenging. I expected the teaching to be of high quality which it was.
What were the most important things you learned?
The most important things that I learned on the course involved the importance of time management in the classroom, patience, flexibility, and a sense of humour. I think being flexible was really important, as you can’t always predict what the students will know or not know. Planning a lesson around what you think and the actually reality of what happens can be very different! I learned that it is good to really know the grammar inside out before you teach to!!
What you would have liked to have learned more about? (both of the things you learned something about, and those that were never even touched upon)
I think I would have like to learn much more about classroom management – they don’t talk about this at all! Sometimes, we had some difficult students who liked to talk a lot during the lesson or were really shy and didn’t talk at all. I certainly could have used some help in how to manage a class well. I would have like to learn much more about teaching different levels of English. We talked a little about how to teach beginners and advanced but very briefly – I think this would have been very helpful. Also to learn about different types of teaching English, such as Business English. We had maybe one hour looking at all the different kinds and it was very scant. This to me seems very important though!
What was NOT particularly useful?
I don’t think anything was not useful, but I didn’t like swapping tutors half way though the course. It was sometimes difficult as they both wanted different things from you – what one thought was good, sometimes the other thought was negative. There is so much to learn, this could often make it harder. There was a lot to put into one month, and I think sometimes areas were skimmed over that needed more depth but I recognise how limiting the time was.
What did you think of the trainers?
We had excellent trainers – they were very helpful, encouraging and honest which I found really helpful. One of them in particular was very encouraging when we needed it, but was also honest enough with us when we were incorrect or needed improving on certain areas. I think the only improvement could be communication between them in terms of them being consistent about what is, and is not, a positive teaching practice.
What age group were the other participants? How did you get on with them?
They ranged between 25 – 64! I lived with four others on the course and this was really helpful in terms of getting to know one another and also was great that we could help each other out with our homework and planning lessons. I think because we all were going through such an intensive, shared experience we all got on really well as a group. there was a good gender balance. It was great that we were from different cultures – Scotland, Wales, USA, Australia and Poland. This was good and we learned a lot about different cultures as a result.