The other day I got this very insightful comment (question?) on LinkedIn:

“Dear Fatime, 

I doubt it that a CELTA qualified teacher is unable to teach IELTS. CELTA is the most thorough course and trains you how to teach English communicatively with observed classroom practice, written assignments, etc. I don’t understand why a CELTA teacher who has already been ‘trained’ to teach English needs ‘training’ to teach IELTS. Surely, if they’ve passed CELTA, they can take on teaching exam preparation on their own? Or is it inexperienced non-CELTA people you train?”

I liked this “comment-question” because I get some version of it a lot. 

So, I thought my response is also worth sharing here… 😉

“Dear […], 

thank you for your question, it’s such an important one! I especially love your enthusiasm about the CELTA course, as I also believe it’s an AMAZING course. 

Just like you (?) I’m also a huge fan of it because it DOES

• equip teachers with the basic LANGUAGE AWARENESS needed to get started (especially if they’re native speakers of English), as well as 

• some useful CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT strategies, AND

• the CONFIDENCE to step into a classroom, be in front of a group, sometimes for the first time in their lives (at least in their new role as an ‘English teacher’).

Having said that, given its scope and length, the CELTA cannot (and does not even promise to) make teachers excellent at teaching

• all areas of LANGUAGE (i.e. grammar and vocab), 

• or, especially SKILL.

Instead, it gives teachers the tools to 

• know how to RESEARCH any language area before class it (i.e. how this target language ‘behaves’ in ‘action’, i.e. what its characteristics are when it comes to MFPA (=meaning, form, pronunciation, and appropriacy), and

• how to ‘run’ a ‘skill lesson’, often focusing on ‘OUTCOME’ only (=comprehension or product, as opposed to sub-skill development) while following the same path that’s available in most coursebooks, e.g. in the case of receptive skills for example

1) raising interest in topic

2) pre-teaching any ‘blocking’ vocab

3) setting a gist task

4) reading/listening for gist

5) setting a detailed task

6) Ss read for detail

7) follow-up language work or personalized speaking/writing

In my free masterclass and teacher training courses I talk about why this is often not enough for IELTS students, because just ‘testing and scolding’ them ‘post-hoc’ (e.g. after administering a past paper) is no guarantee that they’ll do better at executing on a particular sub-skill next time when they try.

Hope this helps.” 

What do YOU think? Is the CELTA ‘enough’?

— —

Hi. I’m Fatime. I’m an IELTS Teacher Trainer, helping CELTA-qualified English language teachers become better at teaching SKILLS, as opposed to just testing them. 

Check out my courses here:

How to Teach IELTS Listening:

How to Teach IELTS Reading:

How to Teach IELTS Writing:

How to Teach IELTS Speaking: