Is a 4 week CELTA/Trinity Cert course enough time to prepare someone for a FT teaching position? -#ELTchat Summary

A PLN for ELT Professionals

Is a 4 week CELTA/Trinity Cert course enough time to prepare someone for a FT teaching position? -#ELTchat Summary

This is the summary of #eltchat held on 10th August 2011 at 12pm BST by Adam Beale @bealer81 (twitter).


This was only my second #eltchat and it also happened to be about the topic I suggested for this particular session. So who better to do the summary and unashamedly use it to promote my new blog.

I suggested this particular topic as it was a question I had been asking myself for some time since finishing my first year in teaching and felt that it would be an interesting subject to debate in #eltchat.


It all kicked off with the rather blunt statement from @TyKendall        

12:02    RT @TyKendall: #ELTChat Lets cut this short. NO , 4 WEEKS IS ABYSMALLY INSUFFICIENT


Thankfully nobody took him literally by leaving the discussion at that and several people chipped in tweeting that they hadn’t completed a CELTA or didn’t actually know what it involved;

Shaunwilden   12:02   I am in the odd position of being a (lapsed) celta tutor and not having ever done the 4 week course myself 🙂 #ELTChat

cherrymp        12:03   @Shaunwilden even i haven’t done a celta bt had heard a lot abt it #ELTChat

barbsaka         12:03   This will be a learning experience for me–not all that familiar with either certification 🙂 #eltchat


The chat moved back to the length of the course or lack of it and its value;


bealer81          12:04   Too much info crammed into too short a time. #eltchat

TyKendall        12:04   @bealer81   #ELTChat exactly, you simply can’t absord the necessary knowledge in 4 weeks

TyKendall        12:06   @theteacherjames   #ELTChat not necessarily, i cant comment on the quality of teachers it produces, but it is simply too short!

cherrymp        12:33   v recently i came across 2 celta cert Ts who still remembers their ‘rigorous’ course n felt too much is crammed in to too little #eltchat

TyKendall        12:07   #ELTChat as a teacher you’re meant TO REFLECT on teaching, how well can you reflect over a 4 week period?

Imadruid          12:20   People pay a fortune for course that is outdated and based on poor pedagogical theories. This then leads to low wages & status.  #Eltchat


But it wasn’t all negative as people started to stick up for the CELTA:


Shaunwilden   12:06   As a tutor I always maintain that the 4 weeks give you the start but then you go into ‘apprenticeship’ #eltchat

nutrich 12:06   A 4 week course should enable a new teacher to be able to take control of their future development as well as teach basic skills  #eltchat

theteacherjames         12:08   I worked freelance for 2 years, then did a 4 week CELTA be4 my 1st FT job. More than adequately prepared me to begin my PD journey. #ELTChat

elchrys            12:09   CELTA doesn’t ‘produce teachers’ overnight. It’s an excellent training program for inexperienced teachers. #eltchat

nutrich 12:17   RT @theteacherjames: I should state that my CELTA was fantastic. I know that not everyone is so lucky.  #ELTChat Mine too. Great exeprience.

Shaunwilden   12:08   Isnt doing a 4 wk course better than doing nothing at all-looking back I wish I’d  rather than going to teach cos I cld speak Eng #eltchat


So there were people for and against the CELTA. From here the discussion splinters into various different threads, (1) with discussions about alternative qualifications available, (2) possible next steps after CELTA and (3) the need for teachers and their employers to continue their professional development. Below is a brief summary that captures these parts of the discussion;




pysproblem81 12:21   #ELTchat I got full-time #fe job with *just* CELTA but had to do DT(E)LLS equiv within 2yrs

Imadruid          12:22   Either we’re teachers or not. Pgce should be entry requirement (if anything).

harrisonmike   12:22   #eltchat re apprenticeships – this is how I got started during French/Spanish degree

Shaunwilden   12:23   @mcneilmahon though you can do PGCE in EFL these days #eltchat

harrisonmike   12:24   @mcneilmahon @Imadruid There are PGCE’s in post compulsory education AKA adults. That’s what I did, with ESOL focus #eltchat

ELTExperiences         12:54   There are CELTA extensions but are they worth it? #ELTchat




mcneilmahon  12:12   RT @pysproblem81: #ELTchat is there need for qual between Dip & Cert? Maybe follow up modules (open university style?) > You mean IHWO CAM ?

nutrich 12:24   Perhaps there should be a qualification for some sort of post-CELTA apprenticeship – a scheme run with schools cooperation #eltchat

mcneilmahon  12:28   RT @nutrich: Maybe CELTA should be 4 weeks f2f then a year of distance online?  #ELTChat > Nice idea – ensuring apprenticeship continues

pysproblem81 12:34   @mcneilmahon some training def needed… How does CELTA compare with Arg profesorado? #ELTchat

mcneilmahon  12:35   @pysproblem81  #ELTchat Completely different fish. Profesorado much more theory, CELTA gives survival skills in class, profesorado doesn’t..

pysproblem81 12:39   @Shaunwilden @mcneilmahon I like College model of req further quals within 2yrs – CELTA recognised as start, but req #ELTchat

harrisonmike   12:39   @Shaunwilden @escocesa_madrid Does the name need to change? How many CELTA trained Ts end up with YL classes in their 1st job #eltchat

Shaunwilden   12:40   @harrisonmike No celta ia still very adult – there is celtyl  – delta kept the name as a brand #ELTChat

esolcourses     12:44   @harrisonmike  @chucksandy  for unqualified teachers, yes – agree. Maybe an intermediate qual to bridge CELTA + DELTA, too? #ELTChat




nutrich 12:07   It’s up to the schools employing recent CELTA graduates to help support their development #eltchat

gknightbkk      12:09   @Shaunwilden Yes the employer needs to be series about ongoing development post Cert #eltchat

esolcourses     12:10   @Shaunwilden in theory, I agree the CELTA provides a good foundation – not all employers provide support afterwards, though #eltchat

Shaunwilden   12:10   @gknightbkk Yes completely and we should help new teachers find schools that provide that #eltchat

nutrich 12:10   An important point to be made to all new Ts should be that learning how to teach   will never stop #eltchat

Kalpanapster   12:30   @cherrymp @theteacherjames. Experience does count. It’s really upto the teacher to keep pushing oneself hard. CELTA taught us that.#ELTChat

cherrymp        12:34   @esolcourses @Kalpanapster @Marisa_C yeah well said – continuing learning in supported environments – nurturing #ELTChat

gknightbkk      12:50   Many are suggesting CELTA is necessary but not sufficient. It’s a pre-service vocational course. It’s the in-service PD that counts #eltchat

Bee_Kids         12:51   #eltchat …The better teachers are those who cont. working to improve -those who genuinely enjoy the learning process.

Throughout the whole discussion there seemed to be a general sense of agreement that a CELTA type course is a basic but useful foundation for teachers to have but that the real work and experience is gained from being in a real working environment and this needs to be supported with ongoing professional development from both the teacher themselves and the employer. Of course this is just my interpretation.


Marisa_C          12:29    @cherrymp any good course will produce Ts who KNOW this was just the beginning not the end of the PD #ELTChat


I have tried to put the discussion into some sort of cohesive order but it’s not always that easy. If I missed anything important I apologize. Feel free to look at the whole transcript and make your own conclusions to what was said. Below are links that maybe useful for additional reading to this discussion;


Transcript of the chat –

My blog with a post about my CELTA experience –

CELTA details –

Trinity CertTESOL –

ELTNews has been trying to get information about CELTA efficacy –

Link to a book about the potential shortcomings of pre service teacher training courses such as CELTA –*

A link to a poll on facebook showing what CELTA holders think of CELTA –

ELTchat address –


#eltchat takes place every Wednesday, via twitter, at 12pm and 9pm BST.


Note from the Moderators

* A free copy of the article related to the topic of the efficacity of CELTA courses can be found here . A very good read.

3 Responses

  1. Very good summary, Adam, many thianks.

    I was able to find a copy of Sarah Kanowski’s research report mentioned in your summary as part of the publications of the proceedings of a conference where she must have first presented it as a paper.

    A very interesting read.

  2. Leahn says:

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for the summary! I can’t believe I missed that one! I think the CERT is a great start for teachers. It’s what follows that is equally important.



  3. I completed the CELTA before beginning teaching English and it helped me understand the basics of ESL teaching. In retrospect however I would definitely have preferred an apprenticship programme of 3 months. In my opinion the course is unaffordable for many and I would like to see TESOL come up with a training programme that pays a basic wage, to supplement students whilst they´re learning the skills they need to develop a career in ESL. I think there is a market for this and wonder why nothing has been done to fill the gap between affordablity and value. It seems to me the CELTA certificate is being marketed as if it were a commodity, churning out the students and the dollars.

Comments are closed.