Here is clarification of why these are important questions to consider before you apply for the CELTA course:
1 | Am I over 18 years old?
Cambridge English regulations stipulate a minimum age of 18 years old for candidates at the point they start a CELTA course. The centre has no discretion in this area.
2 | Do I have a level of education sufficient to allow me to start a university-level course of study?
CELTA is categorised at level 5 in the Qualifications and Credits Framework in England. This means it is at the level of complexity of Bachelor’s degree and there some universities which include CELTA as part of a degree. The recommended minimum level of education for participation on the course is therefore equivalent to that needed for university entry. However, this requirements can be waived if you can show that you bring other qualities which would enable you to deal with the academic demands of the course.
3 | Do I speak and write English to a very high level?
If you want to teach English, you obviously need to be a highly competent user of the language yourself. Also, the teaching practice on the course in Berlin may involve work with students who themselves are at C1 level on the Common European Framework. For these reasons, we have to set very strict language requirements. The level of English is required for admission to the course is C2 or very strong C1 (this is equivalent to grade A in the Cambridge Advanced examination, a pass grade in the Cambridge Proficiency examination, an IELTS score of at least 7, a TOEFL PBT score of at least 590, a TOEFL CBT score of at least 240, a TOEFL iBT score of at least 100). You do not need to have taken one of these specific examinations; your level will be assessed through written tasks and an interview.
4 | Have I learned any foreign languages as an adult?
We believe that the experience of trying to learn a second language as an adult is an indispensable experience for those who want to teach English as a second language. If you do not have any experience of foreign language learning, then we recommend that you attend a language course before applying for the CELTA course. This will help you to empathise with your students and to view the language classroom from different perspectives.
5 | Am I able to work to strict deadlines and manage my own time effectively?
The CELTA course, whether you take it full- or part-time, is extremely intensive and you need to be able to manage your time efficiently in order to cope with this. You must be able to prepare in advance for teaching practice guidance so that your tutor can give you maximum support. You also need to be well-prepared to teach so that you make a professional impression on your students. There are clear deadlines throughout the course which need to be met and so this course is not for you if you are a poor time manager.
6 | Am I open to learning new ways of looking at language and how I use it?
Particularly if you are a native speaker of English, becoming a teacher of the language involves developing a conscious knowledge of what you intuitively know about the grammar. Also, being an effective language teacher involves developing an awareness of the complexity of the language you use and the ability to adjust this to suit the level of the students you are teaching.
7 | Am I able and willing to criticise my own performance?
Learning a new skill entails being honest with yourself about your performance and development. While this can often involve noticing and highlighting things that you do well, it equally often means exploring those aspects of your performance which were less successful, and which need improvement to reach a professional standard. It takes strength of character and a great deal of honesty with yourself to be able to do this, but it is essential if you want to become an effective teacher.
8 | Am I able and willing to accept criticism of my performance from others?
As we said above, learning a new skill entails being honest with yourself about your performance and development. This can be especially hard when outside observers give you their perspectives on your work, which may be uncomfortable for you to hear. It is important to see this criticism for what it really is: constructive attempts to help you gain a realistic impression of your practice and to help you to develop your skills.
9 | Am I able to work in a mature manner within a team as well as exercising initiative and self-responsibility?
During the CELTA course you will work as part of a teaching team with colleagues. You will need to co-ordinate with each other about your lessons and you will need to ensure that you do not inconvenience your colleagues (for example, by not being organised).
10 | Do I know why I want to become a teacher?
Teaching is more than just a job that pays the bills: it intense and rewarding work which involves you in the lives and futures of the learners that you work with. While the CELTA course can be seen as a passport to the world, as it qualifies you to teach in a wide variety of contexts internationally, it should not be forgotten that teaching is not only about this. From this perspective, it is worth asking yourself what it is about teaching that attracts you in addition to the freedom to travel and earn a living which the CELTA offers.
Follow this link to find out how to apply for a CELTA course.