TP takes up about half of the course time and is seen, by the majority of candidates, as the most valuable component of the course. Teaching is conducted in small groups of 5-6 trainees, each with a supervising tutor. Each trainee teaches for a total of at least six hours with graded classes of students. Teaching practice includes guided preparation, individual reflection as well as a group oral feedback session.
There are two 90 minutes seminars every day, run by one of the course tutors. They are typically highly interactive and cover many important aspects of teaching, for example: classroom management, how to teach grammar, how to help students with pronunciation.
This is done mainly outside the course contact time, i.e. in the evenings and at the weekends. Individual consultation time with a tutor is built into the programme.
Each trainee is scheduled to see a total of 6 hours of experienced teachers with their regular classes. This time is meant to give candidates a flavour of what a real EFL classroom looks like and see a variety of teaching styles.
The grading system is transparent and follows the Cambridge ESOL criteria. The assessed components are: lesson planning skills, classroom skills, self-awareness and professional attitude. Upon successful completion candidates receive a Cambridge ESOL certificate and detailed report from the centre. Candidates’ progress is discussed with them during two one-to-one tutorial meetings which take place during the course.
This is how the Cambridge CELTA assures quality control:
“All centres are subject to approval by UCLES, and have to maintain standards in order to retain this approval. If a centre is failing to meet the required standards, approval to run course will be withdrawn by UCLES. Similarly, it is not uncommon for institutions to have their application to run CELTA courses turned down by UCLES. Every CELTA course is moderated by an external assessor. Every centre is allocated a Joint Chief Assessor who monitors standards at the centre. Each CELTA trainer has to be approved by UCLES (which includes meeting UCLES requirements re teaching experience and qualifications) and has to undergo a lengthy induction process. All the above contribute to the excellent reputation that the Cambridge CELTA enjoys.“