Lexis CELTA in Brisbane, Australia
CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. I started my CELTA course at Lexis Brisbane three weeks ago. In this post I'll share tips on the interview process, workload, resources and my motivations for doing the course!
The Interview Process
So, you've decided to do a CELTA course. This means that you'll be paying between $2,000 - $4,000 for a course that will hopefully end in a certificate which will open doors to teaching jobs, especially in Europe and the Middle East. STOP. Before you hand over your money, you'll need to pass a pre-interview test and interview.
This is essentially a grammar test to see what prior knowledge you have. The reason behind this test is that CELTA courses are challenging, grueling rather, and Cambridge would like to continue with their high graduation rates. This task not only weeds out those who aren't ready for the course, but also serves as a conversation piece during the interview.
- You may use a grammar reference book to help you on the task, but you'll need to tell the interviewer that you used it.
- Don't rely too much on the internet. There's a lot of information out there, and a lot of it is incorrect.
- You're not expected to get 100% on the pre-interview task. Try your best and be honest, but also know that you might need to brush up on the tenses before you attempt it.
- The pre-interview is 4 pages long, so make sure you attempt it when you have a good chunk of time on your hands. I, however, did it at about 11:00PM...
You've had your pre-interview task reviewed and you've been asked to do an interview. Congrats! Now you'll either do a face-to-face or Skype interview to secure your spot in the course. My course is based in Gold Coast, Australia so I did a Skype interview.
The interview will touch on a few different things: your motivation for doing the CELTA, previous teaching experience (not necessary, so don't worry if you don't have any), your pre-interview task and (hopefully) more specific information on the course. The interview can take up to 90 minutes.
My interview began with a conversation about my application. I have 5 years' experience teaching English to children and I'm also a certified Spanish teacher. My interviewer said that I needed to be aware that if accepted into the course, I would have to be open to changing my teaching methods. I told him that it wouldn't be a problem, seeing as teaching children is very different than teaching adults. Likewise, I told him that a main motivation for doing the course was for my job. At the time I had already been hired by BROWNS English Language School in Brisbane and needed to sign up for the course in order to continue working there.
Now came the "difficult" part. The interviewer said that he had had a chance to look at my task and said it was actually quite good, one of the better ones (thanks Madison West High School!) He went through the task with me, asking me to explain some of my answers (mostly to check to see if I was the one who actually did the test) and explained my answers that were either partially or completely incorrect. You'll be asked to explained in detail specific grammar points. After about 20 minutes, he said that he was satisfied with my work and offered me a spot in the Part-time course.
Course Details and Pre-Course Task
At the end of the interview, the interviewer gave me more specific on the course. Additionally, he mentioned that I would receive a pre-course task in my e-mail. He mentioned that while it isn't mandatory, I should complete it. It takes about 7-10 hours and you can work on it up until the course begins. I would highly recommend to do it. It serves as a good introduction to the course, gets you thinking about teaching and reviews some of the grammar that you should know well before the course begins.
- DO the pre-course task: while it wasn't "mandatory," our responses were collected the first day of the course! A few days before the first day of the course, we were sent the answers to check our work.
The Course So Far
The part-time course runs for 10 weeks. We meet every Saturday from 9am-4:30pm as a whole group. On Mondays and Wednesdays, from 5:15-9:15, we meet in small groups with our tutor. Half of the students teach 40 minute lessons each on Mondays, and the other half teach on Wednesdays. After the classes, we meet for feedback on the lessons and have some planning time with our tutor for the following week's lesson.
CELTA is a lot of work. You're hear that again and again. Yes, it is. You are expected to prepare and teach a very throughly planned and documented lesson plan each week as well as fill out peer and teacher observations, take in a lot of input in Saturdays and work on four longer assignments. Personally, I've never taught adults before so I'm really enjoying learning how to approach grammar lessons, vocabulary and other lessons in a way that reaches them.
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