Are you planning on doing the intensive 4-week CELTA course this summer? Or have you already signed up? In any case, we’re sure your excited about getting started! In this blog post we will look at everything you need to do to get ready for the CELTA course and how to make the most of the course once it starts. We’ll include some hints tips on preparation for CELTA and some important things to bear in mind while you are doing the course. We want you to enjoy the course and get the maximum possible out of the experience and we hope this blog post will help you achieve just that. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to make sure you are well prepared for the CELTA course.
- Firstly, it’s important to brush up on your grammar. On the course you will be required to clarify a range of grammatical structures, both in your lessons and in the written assignments. If your grammar is a bit rusty, it would be time well spent doing a bit of reading in a grammar book. Even if you think your knowledge of grammar is quite good, it won’t hurt to revise some of the grammatical items that might come up on the course. One of the best ways to do this is to look in the back of an English coursebook of the levels that you will be teaching on the course. There, you will see all the grammatical structures that your students are likely to encounter together with clear explanations. If you do this, you will hopefully find that your grammar lessons go much more smoothly when it comes to planning and teaching them.
- It is also very important to make sure you have access to a computer, preferably a laptop that you can bring to the course every day. More and more of the CELTA course is done and submitted online, which includes all of your lesson plans and assignments. You need a computer to create clear lesson plans, well-presented handouts and all assignments must be typed. For all these things, a computer is vital because a tablet just won’t cut it. Most CELTA-centres will allow you to connect your laptop to the printer to print all of your materials. As most coursebooks now come in digital format, this will save you lots of time in the morning queueing for the photocopier.
- Before the course starts, you should completely clear your schedule for the four weeks. As you were probably told during the interview, the CELTA is a very intensive course and doesn’t allow much free time for other activities during that time. It is best to avoid planning anything outside of the CELTA for the duration of the course, as this will allow you to comfortably complete all of your lesson plans and assignments and also make the most of the training that you are going to receive.
- Once you have been accepted onto the CELTA it’s important to do the pre-course reading. This includes the doing the pre-course tasks. Most CELTA courses will recommend a book on teaching to read such as Jim Scrivener’s Learning Teaching. A bit of background reading and the pre-course tasks will help you to be prepared for the start of the course and give you a bit more confidence when you start teaching on the second day.
- When you start the course, be ready to make friends. Your fellow trainees are the most important people on the course, and you will get to know them really well over the four weeks. It’s important that you work together as a team. You can learn a lot by observing each other when teaching and it’s also essential that you support each other when things get difficult or challenging. If you work well together with your fellow trainees, the course will be much more manageable and enjoyable. You may even make friends for life!
- As the course goes on, it is really important to stay positive. There may be times when you have assignments and lesson plans to submit meaning that you start to feel very tired, and it might feel like it’s all too much. You won’t be the first trainee who has felt like this, and you certainly won’t be the last. Remember, you won’t have been selected to do the CELTA if the trainers didn’t think you were capable of completing it. So, stay positive and don’t be afraid to ask your trainers and fellow trainees for help if you need it.
- From day one it is essential that you get organised. This means having folders where you can keep all the material you receive from your tutors and your lesson material. It’s also important to make sure that you stay up to date with your record keeping. This means recording the details of the lessons you have taught and observed. If you do a little bit of organisation and record keeping every day, it is much more manageable than trying to do it all at the end of the week and remembering what happened five days previously.
- Before you start the CELTA course, it’s a good idea to talk to past CELTA trainees. They can tell you what to expect from the course and give you some hints and tips based on first-hand experience. This kind of advice is invaluable and will allow you to go into the course with your eyes open with a good idea of what to expect. If you don’t know any, then you can search online for blogs or YouTube videos from those who have competed the course around the world.
- Finally, it’s a good idea to have a look at some English language coursebooks before you start the course. As we mentioned earlier, this will allow you to brush up on your grammar. It will also give you a good idea of the types of things you will be teaching; be it reading, listening, speaking, writing or grammar. Looking at a coursebook in advance of the course will help you to feel more ready when it comes to preparing and teaching your first lessons on the course.
We hope you find these tips useful for getting ready for the CELTA course. Wherever in the world you are doing the course we wish you the best of luck. We hope it will be as enjoyable for you as it was for us when we did it. One thing’s for sure, the month you spend on the CELTA course is guaranteed to be unforgettable!