What Preparation Do You Need Before You Start CELTA?
Do you even need any preparation for CELTA? While you might be able to pass a CELTA without any prep, I believe a little research and preparation has never hurt anyone. If you can pass a CELTA with more than just a PASS, like a PASS A or PASS B, why not?
Let’s check out some tips on how to best prepare for your CELTA course.
Still undecided on a CELTA? Maybe this will convince you: 3 Fantastic Reasons to Sign Up for a CELTA course NOW!
Refresh Your Grammar Knowledge
One of the aspects that catches CELTA candidates by surprise is that the course doesn’t teach or go over grammar. Instead, it teaches how to teach grammar. That means you should already have a solid foundation in English grammar to really take advantage of what is presented in the course.
Whether you last studied grammar in high school or recently taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL), take time to brush up your grammar skills. This will release some pressure during the CELTA course, and you will be able to focus on how you will teach grammar instead of struggling with tricky grammar yourself.
Do A Pre-CELTA Course
You can prepare for your CELTA course by completing this ELTCampus TEFL Preparation Course, which is a British Council ELTons nominated preparation course for candidates of CELTA, CERT Tesol, etc. There are eight modules: learner-centeredness, classroom management, learner needs and differences, language clarification, language practice, receptive skills, productive skills, and lesson planning.
The course covers concepts and ideas that CELTA will look at in further detail. This introduction to teaching EFL will increase your stress resistance when you take in a lot of new knowledge in a short span of time. Even more importantly, by completing a course like this one, your performance during the 4-week CELTA period will be improved.
Pre-CELTA Course Preparation Task
You have to complete a pre-CELTA preparation task that focuses on language once you have been accepted into the CELTA course. The tasks are designed to get you thinking about language and what’s involved in teaching a language, for example:
- What motivates people to learn English?
- What makes a good EFL teacher?
- Grammar and pronunciation
- Ways to explain concepts and distinguishing meanings
It’s rather long, so don’t try to do it all in one sitting. It’s not a test, and it actually comes with an answer key. It’s a really good idea to complete these, as they will put you in the right frame of mind for what you will encounter in the course itself.
Do Some Reading
You will have a much better idea what to expect and you will become familiar with some of the topics that will be brought up by doing some reading. If you purchase a couple of books, you can always refer to them after you’ve finished the CELTA. There’s no doubt that you will be referencing them for assignments while you are taking the course.
Here are some popular choices:
- Practical English Usage by Michael Swan
- Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching by Jim Scrivener
- Grammar for English Language Teachers by Martin Parrott
- Teaching Tenses by Rosemary Aitken
- Essential Phonetics – for English Language Teachers by Tony Penston
- Sound Foundations by Adrian Underhill
- Learner English by Michael Swan
- Classroom Management Techniques by Jim Scrivener
Also, read some articles with helpful tips on things like how to pass your CELTA course, how to get a PASS B (or even a PASS A if you are ambitious), and CELTA do’s and don’ts. Here are a few articles to get you started:
- 7 Tips to Manage CELTA & Other Commitments
- 10 Tips for Success On Your CELTA Teaching Training Course
- Can You Fail Your CELTA Course?
Relax & Stay Healthy
The CELTA course is a particularly intense four-week period in which you practically work non-stop and hardly do anything else than eat, breathe and sleep CELTA. Thus, it is important to relax as much as possible and find some measure of inner peace before you start your CELTA course. Furthermore, you also want to be as healthy as you can be – I can’t imagine doing the CELTA being or feeling sick.
Step into the CELTA as you would anything new: have an open mind. If you already are a teacher or have strong preconceived opinions about teaching, then try your best to forget everything you know! It is important to use prior knowledge and experience to your advantage, but keep in mind that there are many different ways to approach teaching.
The course itself is hard work. If you’ve been out of school for a while, then take a trip down memory lane and recall what it was like to sit in lectures and turn in assignments. Especially if you are planning on doing the full-time option, you will be feeling the pressure throughout the course duration. The key is to be positive, invest in yourself, and take it as a learning experience that will only help you in the future.
You maybe also want to check this out: Ten tips for success on a CELTA teacher training course
Pause Your Social Life
The CELTA course is quite hectic, and thus, it would be a good idea to let people know that you are not available during your CELTA course. Do what you need to do to only be able to focus on CELTA during those four weeks – you will be thankful for not having (too many) other commitments in between the input sessions, lesson planning, and working on your other tasks.
Enter the course fully focused and with your other responsibilities sorted out.
During the course itself, it’s also essential that you stay on top of due dates and keeping handouts, notes, and whatever else organised so you can find them easily. Buy yourself a good notebook!
As you know by now, the CELTA is intense.
From doing a review of your grammar and basic research to a pre-CELTA course, try to prepare as much as you can.
Always know that you are taking the course to better yourself and to learn something new. Even though it’s tough, don’t get too stressed out and worried before you start. Enjoy your time before the CELTA, and get all that you can out of it during the course!
About the Authors
This is a combination of tips originally written by Yvette Smith and Denine Walters.
Yvette Smith is an EFL teacher and freelance writer. She lives in Vietnam.
Denine Walters currently works in the events industry and freelances as an EFL teacher, writer, and proofread/editor. Previously, she taught online English lessons to students from all around the world, and before that, she lived and taught English to young learners in Taiwan. In what free time she has, she likes to travel, watch Netflix, read, and do scrapbooking and grammar quizzes.