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Does everyone need CELTA (or equivalent)?

 
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ed3727



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 7:43 am    Post subject: Does everyone need CELTA (or equivalent)? Reply with quote

Employer: Tell me about your teaching experience.

God: I taught all languages at Babel.

Employer: Good experience. Can I see a copy of your CELTA certificate.

God: I donít have one.

Employer: Sorry.

It seems that the world of teaching English as a second language is seen in black and white. You either have a CELTA (or equivalent) or you donít. But is this reasonable? Case in point: me. I have two university degrees (MS Biology and BFA Art), have taught as a graduate student for 2 years at a major university, was a substitute teacher in CA and worked as a stand-up comic, writer, and tour guide. I have taught ESL for 7 years in Budapest and Odessa. Both of the schools that I worked for have had initial training. I have had many more hours of supervised teaching than that afforded in a CELTA class. I have received written feedback from my supervising teachers. Yet, in order to be considered for most jobs I have to spend over $2,000 to get a certificate.

I am not unique. One of my colleagues in Odessa has taught for the Peace Corp for two years and out current school for another two. He also faces spending a month to get a CELTA.

In many American universities you can challenge courses. If you think you know the material you can take an exam and, if you pass, can get credit for the course. Why canít there be something similar offered to experienced teachers. At the least why canít there be a short review course followed by observed teaching for a CELTA?
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Nead



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 34
Location: Dublin Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:02 am    Post subject: Answer to the CELTA Reply with quote

The reason you can't 'test out' of a CELTA to get a CELTA is because it is a specific standard of teaching methodology and pedagogy developed by Cambridge. In order to teach to CELTA standards you have to know it, and to know it requires intensive instruction and practice within an institutional setting that uses CELTA.
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bobrec



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:03 am    Post subject: TEACH Reply with quote

People who want to teach in schools in the West have to go through a two year program to get a teaching credential. Most ESL courses don't seem to understand that; along with the common belief by most people that anyone can teach people to speak a foreign language. Well, then, how come most foreigners speak a foreign language so badly. It is because they never had good instruction by qualified teachers. I personally don't know what CELTA does, but for all the CELTA certificate holders teaching in Asia, I want someone to tell me why Asians speak English badly. Some of it has to do with Asians not practicing, I know. If a teacher does not know how to address the problems of the learners, the teacher will never teach correctly. So, all of you that want to teach, quit looking for a quick fix. Get real teacher training and teach foreign students all over the world.

Bob in Beijing
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TeacherTeacherUSA



Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject: Spend the Money, Get the CELTA Reply with quote

I think CELTA is necessary to teach overseas. If you don't have it, you're really not going to get the pay you feel you deserve with your credentials (professor, two degrees, comedian etc.) in another country without one. If it makes you feel any better, teaching in the US is the same way. How is it that one can have a Bachelors degree and teach English successfully in another country for years, but yet return to the US and can't obtain even the most entry-level ESL teaching job in a public high school because they don't have a teaching certification, Masters degree and all of the other teaching creds? Ridiculous right? Sorry that's the way of the teaching world.

I have a CELTA and I can tell you the teaching style is a lot different than what I received in college or high school i.e. sitting at a desk for hours taking notes. During CELTA we called this the ole "Chalk and Talk approach." If that is your teaching style, then learning an alternative to that alone is why you should take the course. There are employers that will hire you without a CELTA, but I've been told by various people if that does happen don't complain about your treatment.
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killthebuddha



Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: Give it up Reply with quote

Ed3727,

Better give up the notion that there's any method to the madness of the CELTA requirement, or that you're going to get any cogent sympathy or explanation from the sheeple who subscribe to it. As for testing out of it, how would you do that? There's nothing content-specific about the program, and if they let you do that (download their syllabus and spend a few hours online), then they'd have to let everybody do it, etc., etc. That's just not a good business model.

Neither will I sympathize with you, as I actually have an English degree. If the CELTA and its ilk were born out of any real necessity, it was at least to provide the smokescreen that, with enough professional training (4 weeks), even a P.E. major can teach English overseas. I mean, where do you get off? Are you a smarty-pants? And how did you go from art to science? Did you test in, or is your master's an online degree?

No, when every avenue of possibility is a dead end, I always fall back on the golden rule: follow the money. There are advertising dollars from these certification programs at every site like this one. My guess is the schools are getting kick backs, at best. At worst, they're just too lazy to administer any kind of proficiency exam/interview to ensure the English content mastery of their successful candidates. I don't suppose any of this matters, except to our pocketbook. I'm sure that, if I didn't have sufficient knowledge of English to be adaptable and effective in the classroom, a month's worth of classroom management gimmicks would work just fine.

Quit banging your head against this wall, or insisting that the CELTA certification requirement makes sense. They (CELTA and the universities) have already implied that it does BY MAKING IT A REQUIREMENT. What don't you understand? Do you really have a master's and teaching experience? I don't think so, or you wouldn't be so dimwitted. Ahh...but you don't have a degree in English, which explains why maybe you don't understand so good. Sorry.

Listen, just follow me...I'm taking my stuff down to the nearset CELTA center, pronto! Maybe with a CELTA certificate I'll even get some respect from the gym teachers who went and got theirselves a MATESOL. (But i doubt it.)


Last edited by killthebuddha on Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:33 am; edited 2 times in total
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ed3727



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:47 pm    Post subject: civil discussion Reply with quote

I mean, where do you get off? Are you a smarty-pants? And how did you go from art to science? Did you test in, or is your master's an online degree?

What don't you understand? Do you really have a master's and teaching experience? I don't think so, or you wouldn't be so dimwitted. Ahh...but you don't have a degree in English, which explains why maybe you don't understand so good. Sorry.


Do comments like the above really contribute to an objective discussion?

As far as testing out of the program there are many ways to do it. One example might be to have the candidates go to a TEFL course site and pay to have a DELTA teacher observe their teaching ability.
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tlahuiscal



Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:24 am    Post subject: A distillation of 6 years of experience teaching TEFL Reply with quote

I've always said, and continue to maintain, that it's not whether you have a CELTA, TEFL, TESOL, etc., it's WHO YOU'RE BEING EVERY DAY that determines your success or failure teaching EFL overseas.

I retired from a 20-year career as an "aggie" at a big Arizona university, took a 4-week TEFL from a diploma mill in Madrid, completed my first year of "cannon-fodder" teaching at 15 bucks an hour (in 2005 euros) and used the same tactics I used to build my career at the university. I always arrived on time, never missed a class, wore a suit even if I was the only person who did, ingratiated myself with my school's staff, volunteered for every extra-duty assignment, and busted my hump for my students. I was crap as an English teacher my first year, but I won my students' allegiance by being a genuine, fallible human being who appeared to love my subject and was visibly willing to do whatever it took to make them learn.

This unusual dedication got me noticed and in Dec. 2005 I was named Teacher of the Year. Upon a vacancy appearing, I was asked to stay on at my school a second year as Director of Studies. I audited MA ESL courses during the summers for very little money and mastered my subject. Soon I became relief teacher for the TEFL course, vice president of the travel club, staff photographer, editor of the newsletter, Employee of the Year, ad nauseum. When I left after 3 years for Chile I was making $30 an hour (2008 euros).

I'm in my 3rd year here in Chile and have followed the same pattern with the same results. I do all the new teacher orientations, coordinate the student writing and blogging projects, edit & translate manuals and curricula, and my classes! I have my pick, have specialized in advanced grammar and writing, and count among my students Fortune 500 CEOs and motion picture actresses. I still wear my suits every day, have my hair in a ponytail, live in a posh high-rise condo and get treated like a rock star. All this for an old gringo with only a TEFL.

My advice to those who want to punch a clock, teach for a few hours and collect a paycheck, then move on to a new assignment every year, is GOOD LUCK... Whether you have a CELTA or not, you are a dime a dozen, and no one will ever remember your name. If it's just a living for you while you see the world, you will never amount to anything in this industry, there's simply too much competition.

The way to get ahead, no matter what your qualifications may be, is to show them something they didn't expect and haven't seen before. If you've got something to give and you give it, it will get noticed, I assure you, and if you don't, they'll see right through you.
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killthebuddha



Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear ed3727,

My reply to your post was a sardonic attempt to illustrate the absurdities surrounding the CELTA requirement. I tried to incorporate some of the stupid arguments people make when blindly insisting that you must just as blindly acquiesce to what they themselves have undertaken. That's all. It was a parody, nothing more, but nothing less. I blame Monty Python. If you'll notice, I also had fun at my own expense, daring even to say such things as, "...you don't have a degree in English, which explains why maybe you don't understand so good," and, "...gym teachers who got theirselves a MATESOL."

Sorry for the confusion. Rest assured, I am in complete sympathy with your plight as it is also mine. Or is it? Reading tlahuiscal's reply, let's remember that, whether we'll feel coerced "pro forma" to get the damned thing or not, there's still a lot more to consider. The best teacher I ever knew was a guy who hadn't learned to read (beyond an 8th grade level) until his 2d year of college. (He was at college on a wrestling scholarship.) I learned from him the value of those intangibles that tlahuiscal referenced.

Sincerely,

[/i]
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killthebuddha



Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

p.s. I'd like to say that your introductory remarks re: God and Babel speak volumes, so much so that I doubt any further discussion would shed any light (puns intended).

I'd also like to add that, when visiting the various TEFL certifying sites, one is immediately struck by the common admission among them that their programs are designed for people who have never taught before. Why then the automatic requirement? To better understand what you're / we're up against, keep an eye out for the postings of "hiring managers" at various forums. In addition to some deplorable English, you'll see that the easiest way to cull the herd of numerous applicants is to default to the certification. There's also the fact that CELTA is the largest franchise in the ESL industry. They have an ironclad business model that's certain to eventually secure for them the markets of every region of the world, like Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Microsoft.


Last edited by killthebuddha on Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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tlahuiscal



Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:40 pm    Post subject: Further insights... Reply with quote

Thanks for the clarification, ktb... Upon further consideration (plus asking around), I offer acouple more insights:

My director, who's been in the business 25 years, absolutely doesn't consider the nature of the credential, she thinks they're all just a gateway. What she's really focused on in her hiring interviews is a specific personality type, one that she believes is key to facilitating Chilean second language learners. Beyond that intuitive decision, it's a crap shoot, other than requiring a minimum of two years experience. She often fails for example to weed out individuals with substance abuse issues and mild psychological disorders. Let's face it, those of us who choose the expat life tend to be weird birds to begin with, or we would probably have chosen more traditional careers back home.

The second insight should be familiar to all teachers, that is no matter how great your education was or what a good student you were, 95% of what you actually need to know you learn on the job. Knowing a subject doesn't equal being able to explain it to someone of another culture, that takes a lot of trial and failure. Few teachers at our school are actually grammar whizzes or can write a decent essay for publication, that too takes time and effort.

The best advice I can offer is, if you have college loans to pay off or are primarily interested in making money quickly, start in the Far East and work your way to Europe and the Middle East. The CELTA may give you a leg up.
But if you're looking for quality of life, pick a country that people pay big bucks to go to on vacation... that's where the fun is.
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Boazdexter



Joined: 21 Aug 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:32 am    Post subject: general Reply with quote

HIII

I M NEW IN THIS FORUM AND I JUST NEED A HELP I N IT
I WISH THAT THIIS SITE WILL RESPONSE ME WEL,,,
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tlahuiscal



Joined: 08 Mar 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:07 pm    Post subject: To Boazdexter Reply with quote

What is your question?
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Katie Trulio



Joined: 03 Jul 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with your last comment (two above) if you want to just get somewhere and get going you can start with an online certificate. I did www.teflexpress.co.uk and it was good enough to get me jobs with decent pay etc. I think it depends on what you're trying to do!
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 181
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:16 am    Post subject: If I passed the CELTA, why do I feel so miserable? Reply with quote

I got my CELTA after barely passing the teaching requirements. 6 hours of observed teaching (or was it 8?). I was scheduled for a total of 8 times in front of the class w/ my trainer and fellow teacher wannabe's watching me. I already have an MA in TESL and BA in English....The thought comes back to me constantly: "why do you want to put yourself thru this?"

I realize that I need to "use the text" more often and "make it student-centered" which I was frantically trying to do. I found several weaknesses in my teaching methods, which I tried to correct. However, my trainers found even more weaknesses and were very glad to point them out as I tried to "elicit" answers from the students. I asked pointed questions of the students, hoping someone would answer.....(sound of crickets chirping) so I tried a "hangman" type game so that students could "guess" the answer.
My trainer criticized me for making this too "teacher centered" What was I supposed to do? Send smoke signals?!?!?

then my trainers wanted me to re-write every assignment that I turned in,. I even wrote the last assignment using the DVD in the textbook. They told me that I was supposed to write about my teacher observations strictly from CELTA DVDs. This was after the fact!!! I got upset and made a scene and I was about to write a complaint letter to the school director. Then the director asked me to come into his office and told me that I passed the class and that I would get my CELTA and please leave the premises ASAP.

I have never felt as drained of emotion as when I left that office. I got a CELTA but I feel nonplussed. On the other hand, I can get on with putting this behind me. Neutral
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 181
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I retired from a 20-year career as an "aggie" at a big Arizona university, took a 4-week TEFL from a diploma mill in Madrid, completed my first year of "cannon-fodder" teaching at 15 bucks an hour (in 2005 euros) and used the same tactics I used to build my career at the university.

Can someone tell me what an "aggie" is?!?!?
Confused
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