CELTA course FAQs
About this section
In this section you will find some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about doing the CELTA course, which you will find divided into the following three pages:
Before the course
Do you need to have teaching experience to enrol? No, though if you do, it obviously helps you to cope with being in the ELT classroom.
However, it's interesting to note that some past trainees who did have previous classroom experience (usually in other fields) have said that they sometimes felt it was more difficult for them because they had to "de-program" and "re-learn" quite a lot. The course assumes that the majority of trainees have no experience, so nothing to worry about!
Do you really need to do a TEFL course in order to gain employment? Most reputable schools, not only in Spain, but also in the rest of Europe and in most other parts of the world, will expect their new teachers to be trained to teach English. The Cambridge CELTA is probably the most respected and well-known training course, and the one which the majority of people refer to when they ask "Have you got the TEFL?" or "Are you trained to teach English?"
The second consideration here is your own confidence. Starting to teach English is made a great deal easier if you have some idea of what you are doing, why you are doing it and how to go about teaching. The course gives you this confidence and means you can walk into a classroom feeling like a prepared teacher.
Does your school assist in finding housing for couples taking the course together? We do try! Although most of the rooms we deal with are single accommodation, Gloria -- who runs our accommodation service -- has usually been able to find some doubles too. Just e-mail us for an accommodation request form.
What is the application / interview procedure? In outline, the application procedure is as follows:
- Complete the application forms and pre-interview task (see next question) and email them back.
- You'll receive a message setting up a time for you to call us for an interview. Interviews are usually between 3pm and 6pm Barcelona time (GMT+1), on certain evenings of the week. You are told during the interview if you have been accepted.
- Wait for an acceptance letter with details for payment. Gloria will send you this electronically within 24 hours.
- Payment: six weeks before the course begins, or immediately if the interview is less than six weeks before the course. Most people pay by credit card, and you can do this by calling the Teacher Training Admin office (or coming in to see us if you're in Barcelona).
- You will then receive the pre-course task (see below) to do before your course starts.
What does the interview consist of? This usually lasts up to 30 minutes and we ask you some questions about you and the pre-interview task you have done. We also tell you about what you are letting yourself in for, ie. the course, and you can ask any questions you may have too.
The pre-interview task is not a test - obviously you don't know all the answers without having to think hard about them and even having to look them up in reference books (which is what teachers do all the time).
It's more a test of your attitude and instinctive approach to teaching, your inner resources and, where language is concerned, how you would react if a student asked you this type of question. This gives us a good idea of your skills and qualities and, therefore, of how you will respond to only four weeks of training - whether it will be enough to bring you up to pass standard and allow us to award you the Certificate.
What are the deadlines for registration for the course? The real deadline is when the course is full. There is a maximum of 18 places on any one course. However, we often run concurrent courses so 18 is not necessarily our maximum in any one course period, nor are there necessarily always 18 participants on any one course.
To be sure of a place, we recommend fees are paid six weeks before the start date or as soon as you have been interviewed.
What level of knowledge of English grammar is expected prior to enrolment? Rather than "level", we prefer to look at it as "instinct". Our pre-interview task helps us to see whether you can instinctively analyse grammar, ie. whether you have a "feeling" for language so you can help students with their problems.
Your learning of the grammar really takes place when you teach it, because you have to research it when planning a language lesson. But we also include some input sessions on the course to help you develop this area.
Once you've been accepted...
What is the pre-course task? How much time and preparation is involved? The pre-course task involves about 12-15 hours of work. Although it isn't assessed or marked, it's very useful as initial preparation for the course, especially the sections on Language Awareness and Phonology. We'll send it to you as soon as you've confirmed your place with payment.
How much money I should have with me for my first month in Spain? You'll need to bring money with you to pay for accommodation, around €400 plus €75 Accommodation Bureau charge if you decide to use our accommodation service.
If not, more, as a rented room is at least €350 a month these days (and you have to find your accommodation yourself!).
Some other indications of the cost of living:
- Food: A meal in the IH bar is around €6-8; in a bar outside, around €12 plus. Evening eating out can be "tapas" (small portions), around €12 or possibly less, or a meal, from say €12-20 or more. Cooking in your accommodation is obviously much, much cheaper and fruit and vegetables especially are very reasonable.
- Drinks: A beer or Coke etc is around €2 or more, depending where you drink it. Spirits are more expensive - drinks in a club can be over €10-15 each if you're not careful!
- Transport: The metro and bus system (if you need to use it) is cheap - €9.25 for a ten-trip pass.
- Other expenses: Allow around €20 a day average, or around €400-500 for the month doing the course, which is what past trainees say they spend during the course.
Further information on the cost of living in Barcelona.
Should I get a TEFL/TESL certificate, or go for a masters degree? It depends a bit on where you want to teach. It is a pretty standard requirement in the USA but other countries, particularly European, look for a course which has a strong practical element with at least 6 hours observed and assessed teaching practice.
There are other countries of course which will employ you simply by virtue of you being a native-speaker graduate. However, the latter is not a serious option if you want to do justice to your learners and yourself.
Further information on different sorts of TEFL/TESOL courses.
Can you provide websites for additional schools in Barcelona and Spain? Other IH language schools in Spain can be accessed from our main page, from IH Spain, and International House schools in the rest of the world from the IH World website.
You will find some other useful TEFL sites in our resources section.