CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. This is a great qualification for teachers looking to land a well-paying English teaching job in the future. Many schools actually list this as a necessary accreditation for specific jobs, not even considering candidates without a CELTA. For this reason, many teachers, especially ones who teach adults, take a CELTA course. These courses are available online, making getting a CELTA accreditation much more accessible than earlier. The course originated in England in 1988, an offshoot of more general Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) training courses.
Many training courses lean heavily in favor of more weighty, theoretical training or in favor of practical application with less regard for the academic theories behind the practice. CELTA courses, on the other hand, offer a good balance of theory and practice. Over 120 hours of instruction, a wide range of material is presented to students. The course is divided into 5 following “topics”:
- Topic 1 – Learners, teachers, and the context of teaching and learning
- Topic 2 – Language awareness and analysis
- Topic 3 – Language skills: listening reading, speaking and writing
- Topic 4 – Resources and planning for different teaching contexts
- Topic 5 – Developing teaching professionalism and skills.
In terms of theory, elements of psychology and the science of language acquisition of retention provide some background explanations for why certain teaching strategies work best and the environmental contexts in which one might be preferred to another.
In terms of practice, students learn how to properly structure a lesson within the given time frame as well as where to find teaching resources.
The online CELTA course features interactive message boards for learners to share ideas and experiences, constant access to teaching resources, and task lists with deadlines. The online course is definitely better for students who have time restrictions such as employment, who have children, or other commitments or conditions that make attending class physically at fixed times impossible. There is, however, a six-hour teaching practice at a licensed education center where the CELTA candidate teaches classes under the observation of a professional. This is the only portion of the class that cannot be completed online.
To gain a competitive advantage, getting a CELTA accreditation is one of the best ways to make a teacher attractive to employers. This qualification makes job seekers’ resumes stand out above the rest, and may be the deciding factor for whether the school grants an interview.