Achieve Excellence on Your CELTA

Great post by someone like you 🙂Image Enjoy and follow the advice – sometimes it works best if you hear it from some who has been through the experience and come out aces.

The Celta FAQ

CELTA has three pass marks. Pass, B pass and an A pass. For some qualifications, passing is all you need to do. Well, for CELTA that is different. Some schools won’t even hire people who only achieve a pass. Let’s look at what you can do to secure a B pass or higher.

When I started the CELTA course I was a little confused as to how the course worked and didn’t really work things out until after my second lesson. You are evaluated each time you teach and your tutor will score you on around 20 or so categories. Each category is graded with a N/A, S and S+. You need a certain amount of S+ scores to gain an overall S+ grade. Depending on how many of those you have at the end of the course determines what mark you get. The categories can range from, rapport, planning…

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Concept Checking Revisited

Great post revisiting those pesky Concept Checking Questions you all worry about 🙂

Read on!

Recipes for the EFL Classroom

This is the first (hopefully) in a series of posts going Back to Basics, re-examining techniques and ideas introduced on teacher training courses.

Concept checking questionsMany teachers are introduced to the idea of concept checking in their initial teacher training courses, try it out for a bit, and then forget about it. Sound familiar?

What is concept checking?
The British Council Teaching English website defines concept checking simply as

finding out if a learner has understood a new item.

With concrete items, this could be as simple as asking a learner to point to an object in the room. With more abstract ideas, this could be targeted questions to explore the parameters of meaning.

Why is it useful?
Concept checking can help the teacher to see beyond doubt that the student has understood. Asking the class ‘do you understand?’ is not so useful as it doesn’t demonstrate the learners’ understanding.


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I hope you find this post useful. It includes many ways to help you keep developing as a teacher after your CELTA course.

ELT Reflections

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Image courtesy of Nicholas A. Tonelli

One of the unique things about becoming a teenager in the Canadian province of Alberta is you can get your learner’s driving permit on your fourteenth birthday, and that is exactly what I did. Just as with most young people, the opportunity to move behind the wheel is a thrill and one that you can’t wait to do on you own. In order to obtain your learner’s permit, all you have to do is to pass the written part of the exam. I remember the first time behind the wheel. My dad took me to a remote parking lot in a empty city park and had me start and start in first gear (I learned to drive on a manual transmission car). I loved it, but I desperately wanted to get out on the road. That opportunity came weeks later and only around some…

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Two Weeks @ Cambridge CELTA

Two weeks have passed since my first day as a CELTA trainee at CELT Athens. Other than my personal reflections on my performance, I think it would be a good idea to share some of my views regarding the course:
(image from:

Experience vs Inexperience

Teaching experience is not an admission requirement. The Cambridge English website describes CELTA as an entry qualification for new teachers. In my opinion, no matter how experienced one might be, if s/he has not received proper teacher training, attending a Cambridge CELTA course should be his/her immediate decision.
Being an experienced teacher myself, I must admit that I had various concerns before the beginning of the course. At some point, I even thought that the course would be very easy for me and that there was not much to learn. Needless to say, I guess, that during these past two weeks I have learned more things than during my last 8 years of teaching.
Contrary to my false preconceptions, experience could be a serious drawback. One needs to forget his/her “way of teaching” once and for all; and this is not an easy thing to do. S/he must take for granted that whatever practice s/he might have followed, in order to survive the CELTA, one must follow the tutors’ recommendations. After all, if one’s practice was fine, s/he wouldn’t have applied in the first place.
For the inexperienced teachers, on the other hand, the CELTA seems easier, at first, in the sense that they learn something for the first time (no objections, no preconceptions, no comparisons). However, they do have to overcome anxiety, lack of confidence, stage fright, uncertainty, and any other first-time-teacher feelings on day two, the latest.
Eventually, experience doesn’t make a difference. What matters is one’s motive and his/her willingness to learn and improve.

FT v PT Mode

One of the things one learns as a CELTA trainee is how to do a needs analysis. I think it would be a good idea if candidates did a needs analysis on themselves first, before deciding which mode to follow. Personally speaking, I wouldn’t do it on a PT basis. It is Monday, 1.08 am, week 3 is on its way, and I am still working on an assignments and my TPs; yet, this is the thing that makes me love it that much: its intensity.
However, there are others who cannot follow a FT mode. This doesn’t mean that they will receive less quality education. If one feels that a FT programme will not allow him/her to meet the course requirements, s/he should not try it. PT has its benefits, as well. For one thing, one has more time to reflect, study, and prepare for assignments, TPs, input sessions, etc.
Truth be told: When the British say “intensive”, they do mean it; be prepared to devote one month (24/7) to this cause. You may have hard days, you may struggle, you may cry, but it’s worth your time and energy; at the end of the day, you will feel stronger.

Individual vs Team Work

For me, this is the most important aspect and the key to make your life easier: your trainers and fellow trainees. These people:
a. are the ones with whom you will spend 9 hours per day sharing everything from attending classes to crying for no reason,
b. will say – to your face – everything that went wrong with your TP, (If they don’t, do not trust them) and
c. are the only ones who know what you are going through.
Respect and understand them.

2.00 am, Week 3 has already started!


If you are thinking of pursuing a career in teaching, or if you are a teacher that hasn’t received training, do sign up for a Cambridge CELTA course. There are many training centres around the world. This is an opportunity for all of us to step back, reflect, and become better professionals.

About the author


My Photo
Angelos Bollas is a teacher and admissions consultant for a foreign language centre in Athens Greece. At the time of writing this post which we are reposting here with his kind permission from his blog Learning Lover, he was a trainee on our CELTA course. He is @angelos_bollas on Twitter

Pre-CELTA Thoughts

Sharing this great first post by Angelos Bollas – @angelos_bollas on Twitter, where he has already created an account and is becoming an active and engaged user !!!!


Twitter   angelos_bollas  Pre CELTA thoughts ...

I shall only post a few lines here and encourage you to visit his new blog, leave a comment and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Hello world!
My name is Angelos Bollas and I am about to start a CELTA course at CELT International Teacher Development Centre.
Even though I have been working for 8 years as an on and offline English Language Teacher in Greece and the UK, I realised that I was in need of formal teacher training. Not only have I faced difficulties in my job all these years, but also I have just come up with a very serious issue: when I decided to start a blog about language education, I had nothing to write about. or so I thought.
For the last two weeks, I have been preparing for my CELTA course. Other than grammar revisions and clarifications, I have started studying books and journals on methodology, classroom management, teacher development, and so many other issues the names of which I did not know even though I was “using” some of them.

Continue reading here

CELTA: You’re the ONE that I WANT!!!


ImageThe CELTA of 2013!

It may not have been the summer of 69, but I definitely had the time of my life. Actually, now that I look back in the summer of 2013, I feel really proud of myself for opting for the CELTA because it’s been a great and rewarding experience full of learning, new friends and of course lots of racing against the clock.

The picture shows my amazing CELTA group. It’s been such a pleasure being surrounded by all these amazing and talented people. We had so much fun together!!!

I do still recall the days when we worked around the clock to meet our deadlines, it was such a hectic July indeed, but for what it’s worth I would do it again! Having said that I only see fit that I start talking about the juicy and most important aspects of my CELTA course.

So, what’s

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